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Friday’s Red Sox-Royals matchups: Steven Wright vs. Ian Kennedy

08.26.16 at 8:44 am ET
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Steven Wright will return to the Red Sox rotation on Friday night to face right-hander Ian Kennedy in the first game of the Red Sox-Royals three-game series.

Wright is 13-5 with a 3.01 ERA and a 1.193 WHIP in 22 starts. The knuckleballer had to miss three starts after injuring his shoulder sliding into second base as a pinch runner on Aug. 7. On Tuesday, Wright took another step on his rehab by throwing a 60-pitch bullpen session.

“It’s still a little achy, but when I get out on the mound it doesn’t really bother me,” Wright said Tuesday of his shoulder. “I think it’s just something from not throwing consistently like I have been. It’s one of those things you have to get through. Kind of like it is at the beginning of spring training. But I don’t think it will take me as long, just because I’ve been throwing.”

Wright’s last start on Aug. 5 was a three-hit shutout with one walk and nine strikeouts in a 9-0 win over the Dodgers. It was Wright’s first career shutout and his fourth complete game this season, which tied for the most in the majors.

“If you get the opportunity to go out there and throw nine, it is awesome. It is an honor. Being over 100 pitches, it is awesome that John [Farrell] let me go out of there,” Wright said after the start. “To throw a complete game is awesome. It is so hard to do at this level.”

The 31-year-old righty is 0-1 with a 3.55 ERA and a 0.947 WHIP in four games (one start) against the Royals. Wright last faced the Royals on May 18 in Kansas City, pitching eight innings and allowing three runs, five hits and one walk with six strikeouts in Boston’s 3-2 loss.

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Clay Buchholz officially heading to bullpen, Eduardo Rodriguez to start Sunday

08.25.16 at 4:20 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz

It was no surprise, but after the Red Sox’ 2-1 loss to the Rays, Sox manager John Farrell made it official.

Clay Buchholz is headed back to the bullpen.

The move was necessitated by the return of both Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez to the starting rotation, with Wright starting Friday night in the series opener against the Royals, and Rodriguez getting the call for Sunday’s night’s finale.

Buchholz has been outstanding since July 27, totaling a 1.96 ERA in eight appearances, three of which were starts. In the three games he started in place of Wright, Buchholz managed a 2.70 ERA.

He is coming off a 6 1/3-inning gem against the Rays Tuesday night in which the righty only allowed one run while striking out nine.

The move was made official after Rodriguez (hamstring) completed another successful bullpen session, having throwing a three-inning simulated game Tuesday at Tropicana Field.

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Closing Time: Red Sox can’t cash in on chances, end road trip by falling to Rays

08.25.16 at 4:00 pm ET
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Chris Young and the rest of the Red Sox offense ran into trouble Thursday. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Chris Young and the rest of the Red Sox offense ran into trouble Thursday. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

After seeing themselves on the losing end of a bullpen mishap mere hours earlier, the Red Sox found themselves in a precarious position yet again Thursday.

This time, the Red Sox’ 2-1 loss couldn’t be pinned on the bullpen, but rather missed opportunities.

Starter Drew Pomeranz entered the bottom of the seventh looking to keep the game locked up at 1-1. But the lefty allowed Mikie Mahtook — who was 0-for-34 leading up to the at bat — to plate Steven Souza Jr. with an RBI double, ending the southpaw’s day.

The danger Pomeranz put himself was not the first time he did so in the afternoon. Attempting to protect a one-run lead after a Mookie Betts sacrifice fly in the top half of the sixth, Pomeranz allowed a one-out double to Evan Longoria, who scored a batter later to knot things up.

Overall, the outing was a solid one for Pomeranz, who set a career high in strikeouts with 11. He allowed seven hits and two runs over six innings pitched with a walk.

The Red Sox squandered an opportunity to add more runs in the top half of the sixth when Jackie Bradley Jr. grounded into a double play with the bases juiced to end the inning. That tune is a familiar one, as the Red Sox have been second-rate with the bases loaded, ranking 25th in the league in batting average with bases loaded at .218.

The Red Sox offense was tasked with facing Tampa righty Jake Odorizzi, who came into the game having not lost a start since the All-Star break while posting a 1.64 in that seven-start time frame.

By and large, the Sox struggled to rise to the occasion, having a challenging time getting to Odorizzi while allowing him to keep his pitch count low throughout the game. The Red Sox managed only five hits off the starter.

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Read More: Drew Pomeranz, Dustin Pedroia, mookie betts,

Andrew Benintendi (knee) placed on 15-day disabled list, ‘too early to tell’ if injury is season-ending

08.25.16 at 11:21 am ET
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Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

After suffering a knee injury Wednesday night in Tampa, rookie outfielder Andrew Benintendi had a MRI Thursday morning to reveal the true extent of the damage.

Speaking to reporters prior to Thursday’s game against the Rays, manager John Farrell said the team doctors in Boston were reviewing the pictures, while saying it was “too early to tell” if the injury is season-ending and added he was “choosing to remain optimistic.”

(Update: Following the Red Sox’ 2-1 loss to the Rays, Farrell told reporters there was still nothing to report on Benintendi. The Red Sox want to examine the outfielder in person Friday before making any judgments.)

The injury is serious enough to place him on the 15-day disabled list, as Marco Hernandez was recalled to fill Benintendi’s spot on the roster.

Benintendi is just the latest Red Sox left fielder to get injured this season. Chris Young will become the everyday left fielder, with Brock Holt seeing time there as well.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

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Red Sox minor league notebook: What pitching prospect Michael Kopech still needs to work on

08.25.16 at 10:37 am ET
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Michael Kopech has been on a roll with High-A Salem. (John Wacher/Salem Red Sox)

Michael Kopech has been on a roll with High-A Salem. (John Wacher/Salem Red Sox)

1. Top pitching prospect Michael Kopech is dominating High-A Salem.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.23 ERA in 10 starts with the club and over the 51 1/3 innings pitched, he’s totaled 81 strikeouts. In his last start Wednesday night he went a career-high seven shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out 10, while walking two. Over his last five starts, in four of them he’s had 10 or more strikeouts.

While he’s dominating at this level, the Red Sox still want him to work on pitches other than his fastball, as while he can succeed in High-A with his high 90s fastball, it won’t work in Double-A, Triple-A and especially the majors.

“At that level you’re going to get by with velocity,” Red Sox minor league pitching coordinator Ralph Treuel said. “We’ve seen at the major league level you have to have that second and third pitch. Velocity is not enough and a lot of guys in the big leagues who are throwing in the mid-90s, they have to have something to complement the fastball. Otherwise, they aren’t going to get through the lineup more than one time.”

Given he missed the first two months of the season after breaking his hand during an altercation with a teammate during spring training, he hasn’t thrown as many innings as most other Red Sox starters. With this in mind, there’s a good chance he pitches in the Arizona Fall League.

It will give him an opportunity to work on his stuff, while going against perhaps better competition than he’s facing now.

“It continues to be the mix. Don’t just fire fastballs. Work on your secondary pitches. Keep working on the slider, which has really become a good pitch for him,” Treuel said. “The big thing for me is to use a changeup more often. Major league starters have changeups. He has to realize that and he does realize that and he has picked up the usage I think the last couple outings.”

Kopech has one of the best fastballs in minor league baseball, but as has been seen first-hand at the big league level with Joe Kelly, Kopech needs to develop another pitch/pitches to be successful.

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Read More: Jason Groome, michael chavis, michael kopech, rafael devers

Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz sits in series finale vs. Rays

08.25.16 at 10:24 am ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

Less than 18 hours after hitting his 30th home run of the season, David Ortiz will get the afternoon off in the series finale against the Rays.

Hanley Ramirez will be the DH in his absence, while Travis Shaw will play first base and Aaron Hill will play third base as the Red Sox go up against Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi.

Bryan Holaday will catch Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz.

Outfielder Andrew Benintendi predictably isn’t in the lineup after suffering a knee injury Wednesday night.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Mookie Betts, RF
Hanley Ramirez, DH
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Chris Young, LF
Aaron Hill, 3B
Travis Shaw, 1B
Bryan Holaday, C
Drew Pomeranz, LHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

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Thursday Red Sox Farm Report: Michael Kopech throws 7-inning shutout; Ryan LaMarre, Chris Dominguez each blast 2 home runs

08.25.16 at 10:16 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (68-62): W, 10-4, at Lehigh Valley (Phillies)

— The PawSox offense was surging Wednesday night with Ryan LaMarre and Chris Dominguez each hitting two home runs. Both ended up with three hits on the night while LaMarre had four RBI and Dominguez had three. The 27-year-old LaMarre is hitting .305 in AAA this season through 77 games.

— Also with three hits and as many RBI was Rusney Castillo, who went 3-for-5 with a double.

— Making good use of the offensive help was starter Sean O’Sullivan, who climbed to 7-6 after allowing one run on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings of work. The 28-year-old righty has a 4.42 ERA with Pawtucket this season with a 1.31 WHIP and .287 opponents batting average.

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Read More: Chris Dominguez, michael kopech, Ryan LaMarre,

Thursday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: Drew Pomeranz vs. Jake Odorizzi

08.25.16 at 8:44 am ET
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The Red Sox will wrap up their four-game series with Tampa Bay on Thursday afternoon by sending Drew Pomeranz to the hill to face right-hander Jake Odorizzi.

With the Sox, Pomeranz is 2-2 with a 4.23 ERA and a 1.357 WHIP in seven starts. Overall with Boston and San Diego, Pomeranz is 10-9 with 2.95 ERA and a 1.140 WHIP in 24 starts. He picked up his second consecutive win last Saturday with a 3-2 victory over the Tigers. In the outing, the southpaw pitched five innings, allowing just a solo home run, four hits and no walks with three strikeouts. Pomeranz left the game after five innings because of a rain delay that lasted over a hour.

In two games (one start) as a member of the Athletics, Pomeranz went 1-0 against the Rays. In his lone start vs. the Rays in 2014, Pomeranz pitched five scoreless innings, giving up only three hits and two walks with three strikeouts in a 3-0 Oakland win. He last saw the Rays in relief appearance in 2015. In that showing he pitched two-thirds of an inning, allowing a double while recording one strikeout.

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Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox will have to wait to find out extent of outfielder’s knee injury

08.24.16 at 11:49 pm ET
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Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — With his backpack finally filled up and thrown over his shoulders, Andrew Benintendi started his long walk out of the visitors’ clubhouse Wednesday night. This time, however, it was a lot longer, and a lot more painful, than when he entered.

Benintendi exited the premises with a pronounced limp, putting as little weight on his left leg as possible. It was the best he could muster after spraining the knee while trying to get back to second base on a Dustin Pedroia ground ball in the seventh inning.

“Right now it’s just stiff,” he said. “I’m going to come back tomorrow and see how it feels.”

Benintendi and Red Sox manager John Farrell both reiterated that no conclusions can be drawn until they get the results of an MRI that is expected to be taken Thursday.

(For more on how Benintendi was injured, click here.)

“He’s going to go through some testing [Thursday],” said Red Sox manager John Farrell, who was joined with two trainers in helping Benintendi off the field. “We’re trying to get an MRI scheduled here for Thursday morning. He changed direction on the base-running play and unfortunately he felt the left knee grab him. To what extent the injury is, we’ll hopefully know more by game-time [Thursday].”

“It was just one of those freak things you don’t plan on it to happen, but it’s one of those things,” said the outfielder, who didn’t even realize he had also twisted his ankle until watching the replay. “So we’re just going to see what the results say and move on from there.”

The injury certainly made the Red Sox’ 11-inning, 4-3 loss to the Rays more difficult to stomach, as was evident by the mood in the clubhouse following the game.

“That hurt. That kid has been doing so good for us,” said Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. “Losing him that way, just, did you hear what he said? MRI? Hopefully it’s not bad. But the way they took him off the field it seems like it’s not looking good. Let’s wait and see what they say. Hopefully it’s a couple of days kind of thing.”

“That stinks,” said Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello. “Hopefully everything turns out all right and he can make a speedy recovery. He just got up here. He’s been doing so well. He’s made a really big impact for our team. To see him go down definitely hurts. We’ll cross our fingers and hope it’s something he can recover from quickly.”

Closing Time: Red Sox lose Andrew Benintendi, game in sloppy walk-off loss to Rays

08.24.16 at 11:00 pm ET
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Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi (left) rolls his left ankle while being erased on a double play on Wednesday vs. the Rays. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi (left) rolls his left ankle while being erased on a double play on Wednesday vs. the Rays. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

The Red Sox lost in horrible fashion on Wednesday night, but that wasn’t the worst takeaway from a 4-3 walk-off loss to the Rays.

The defeat came at a steep cost as rookie outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who has given the team an injection of life, badly rolled his left ankle while attempting to retreat to second base on a grounder to short. He needed to be helped off the field and was later diagnosed with a knee sprain.

The Red Sox blew a 3-0 lead and lost in the 11th on an error by pitcher Heath Hembree, who failed to glove Travis Shaw’s underhand flip at first. Hembree fired home in an attempt to nail runner Luke Maile at the plate, but Sandy Leon couldn’t handle the throw and Maile was ruled safe as the Rays celebrated.

Afterward, the Red Sox cared mainly about Benintendi.

“You never like to see a player come off,” manager John Farrell said. “But he has certainly grabbed the attention and the support, he’s been embraced by the rest of this club and we’ve just got to make sure we get all the appropriate information on any kind of further injury or the extent of it [Thursday] morning.”

The Red Sox had a chance to claim sole possession of first place in the American League East, because the Blue Jays lost to the Angels. The Red Sox lost for just the third time in 13 games.

The winning run scored with two outs, making Hembree’s miscue that much tougher to swallow. Kevin Kiermaier hit the roller to first that Hembree botched while covering the bag.

“That’s kind of a routine 3-1 play,” Farrell said. “Unfortunately it comes at a time where you’ve got two outs, a guy’s on the move, it ends up being the difference in this one. That’s a routine play.”

Added Hembree: “It’s difficult. We work on that all the time, and it’s a play I should make 10 out of 10 times, but I didn’t make it tonight, so just have to move on.”

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Read More: Andrew Benintendi, David Ortiz, David Ortiz oldest, Rays
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