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Why one hat tip reminded me what’s wrong with Alex Rodriguez

08.11.16 at 1:29 pm ET
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It was the moment most were looking forward to at some point this week, when Alex Rodriguez entered a game at Fenway Park. Hence, the chants of “We want A-Rod!” throughout the first 15 innings of the three-game series against the Yankees.

And here it was: Rodriguez entering the game as a seventh-inning pinch-hitter.

Rodriguez predictably looks the part of a pinch-hitter just trying to do his part. He warms up like any other hitter. Consults teammate Brett Gardner before facing Matt Barnes. And then takes his .204 batting average to the right-handed hitters’ batter’s box.

Then he did it. The adjusting of the batting helmet.

Who adjusts their batting helmet that way? Our good friend Batting Stance Guy has made a career of pointing out that everybody has their idiosyncracies. Derek Jeter called timeout with his wrists. Jacoby Ellsbury nods in agreement to strike calls. David Ortiz spitting on his hands. The list goes on.

But this just seemed like something not done by a baseball player I enjoy watching play baseball.

I’ve always believed Rodriguez to be one of the most talented players we’ve ever watched a participated in Major League Baseball, performance-enhancing drugs or not. But even on the field there was always something. He was always just a little off.

Slapping Bronson Arroyo’s glove. Calling for a pop-up in Toronto when running the bases. Sliding in late for no apparent reason. It’s like he purported himself as the ultimate instinctive human being, and then was just the opposite.

We know about the lying. We know about the behind-the-scenes drama. We know about his love affair with his mirror. For me, all of that didn’t quite punctuate things until we were struck with that daintiest of helmet adjustments Wednesday night.

But that’s just me.

What bothers you most about Alex Rodriguez?

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Red Sox minor league notebook: When will Jason Groome make professional debut?

08.11.16 at 11:08 am ET
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1. Red Sox first-round pick Jason Groome has been in Fort Myers for a few weeks now working towards making his eventual professional debut.

The 17-year-old has been working on the club’s throwing program, arm strengthening routines and general workouts with Goose Gregson, the Red Sox’ Latin American pitching coordinator and also one of the pitching coaches for the Red Sox’ Gulf Coast League squad.

Most recently Groome has been throwing bullpens, which have gone very well according to those who have seen them. The biggest question now is when the tall left-hander will make his professional debut?

According to a source, the plan is for him to throw in a couple of simulated games next week and then make his debut shortly after that. So, it’s getting closer.

After signing on July 15, it had been roughly two months since he appeared in a live game and after only logging 39 2/3 innings this spring, Groome had a lot of ramping back up to do. Being so young the Red Sox wanted to be extremely cautious with him.

The plan since he signed was to get him to short-season, Single-A Lowell for at least a start or two and with about three weeks left in the Spinners’ season, if all goes according to plan, Groome may get to do so.

2. Top prospect Yoan Moncada suffered a Grade 1 ankle sprain last Friday night and it was learned he would miss roughly a week of action. That timetable is still on track, as according to a source, he will be back in the lineup before the week is over. The injury likely pushed back any potential immediate promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket. This isn’t suggesting it won’t happen before the season is over, it just likely won’t be immediate.

In 34 games with Double-A Portland, the second baseman is batting .285 with eight home runs and 22 RBIs. He’s beginning to get work at third base and in the outfield as it’s likely his future with the Red Sox is not at second base.

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Read More: Jason Groome, Red Sox Minor League Notebook, Travis Lakins, yoan moncada

Thursday Red Sox Farm Report: Cousins Deven, Chris Marrero each homer for PawSox; Cody Decker homers twice for Portland

08.11.16 at 10:01 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 (57-54): W, 5-4, vs. Durham (Rays)

— The Marrero cousins both went deep. First, Deven parked a solo shot in the second with two outs. Then, Chris took Bulls starter Alex Cobb deep an inning later for a solo blast of his own. The victory marked the PawSox’ fifth straight home series win, the first time they’ve accomplished that in 12 years.

— Rusney Castillo, Marco Hernandez and Brennan Boesch each went 2-for-4, with Castillo and Hernandez each smacking a triple.

— Brian Johnson, while not tossing his best outing, kept the PawSox in the game over 6 1/3 innings. The Red Sox’ No. 7 prospect on MLB.com allowed eight hits and three runs while striking out two and walking one. The 25-year-old lefty is now 5-4 this season with a 4.14 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP.

“After the first inning, [Johnson] was able to command his mix,” manager Kevin Boles said (via MiLB.com). “There were some late swings, some chase swings, and I thought he did a good job.”

— The bullpen was stout, with Joe Kelly coming in and getting the hold over 1 2/3 innings of work, allowing no runs, hits or walks while striking out a pair. Noe Ramirez got his fifth save of the year, allowing a home run while striking out three in his one inning pitched.

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Read More: brian johnson, Chris Marrero, deven marrero, Joe Kelly

Thursday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Michael Pineda

08.11.16 at 8:39 am ET
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The Red Sox-Yankees series will conclude Thursday night at Fenway with the Sox sending Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound opposite right-hander Michael Pineda.

Rodriguez is 2-5 with a 5.93 ERA and a 1.561 WHIP in 11 starts. He was moved up to start in place of Steven Wright, who was scratched because of shoulder inflammation caused from diving into a base as a pinch runner during Saturday’s game against the Dodgers.

Rodriguez’s last start was that Saturday game in Los Angeles. He threw 4 1/3 innings, giving up three runs, eight hits and one walk with five strikeouts in a 3-0 Sox loss. In his shortest outing since being called back to the big leagues on July 15, Rodriguez allowed the leadoff man to get on base in three of the five innings he pitched. The fifth inning proved to be Rodriguez’s undoing, as he gave up two runs on three hits and a walk.

“He obviously fell behind in that fifth inning, and they were able to bunch some hits together,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “On a day when three runs seems like a large margin, it holds up.”

Rodriguez is 4-1 with a 2.01 ERA and 1.213 WHIP in five career starts against the Yankees. Rodriguez last faced the Yankees on July 16 when he threw seven innings, allowing one run, four hits and two walks with one strikeout.

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Read More: eduardo rodriguez, Michael Pineda,

David Ortiz X-rays negative after fouling ball off shin; Mookie Betts day-to-day with right calf tightness

08.11.16 at 12:25 am ET
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Initial X-rays performed on David Ortiz’ right shin following Wednesday’s game were negative, according to the Red Sox.

Ortiz was helped off the field after fouling a ball off the midpoint of his right shin during a ninth-inning at-bat. John Farrell said after the game that Ortiz had been hit in that area twice in recent days.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said in the clubhouse that Ortiz was feeling better after the game.

“He looks like he’s moving around pretty good right now considering how he was,” Dombrowski said. “Before, we had to carry him off, basically, but he’s now walking, he’s standing around on his own. It hit off him solid, but he’s doing much better.”

Ortiz declined to speak with reporters, saying he’d talk on Thursday. Dombrowski sounded relieved.

“My heart sunk a little bit when I saw it, but fortunately, I just saw him back there,” Dombrowski said. “He’s doing much better. I felt much better that he’s OK. No question.”

That wasn’t Boston’s only injury scare Wednesday, as Mookie Betts left the 9-4 loss to the Yankees prior to the eighth inning due to right calf tightness. Farrell said that Betts is day-to-day, but that he was doubtful for Thursday’s game.

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Read More: David Ortiz, mookie betts,

Closing Time: Good players get hurt after Red Sox bullpen blows it for Drew Pomeranz

08.10.16 at 11:28 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts was thrown out at the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning Wednesday. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Xander Bogaerts was thrown out at the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning Wednesday. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Holding a narrow lead, Drew Pomeranz needed to rely on himself and Clay Buchholz in order to secure his first victory in a Red Sox uniform. Both came through. Then Matt Barnes happened. Then Fernando Abad. Then Junichi Tazawa. Then Robbie Ross Jr. The Red Sox lost like crazy.

Wednesday’s 9-4 loss was an ugly one, a defeat in which the losing team can at least take solace in escaping with a healthy team. In that respect, at least nobody other than David Ortiz (helped off the field after fouling a ball off his right foot in the bottom of the ninth) and Mookie Betts (departed in the eighth with right calf tightness) were hurt.

Barnes (three earned runs) and Abad (two) turned in dreadful showings as they retired just one batter apiece in relief to blow what was a strong start from Pomeranz and a key relief appearance from Buchholz. Both of Abad’s earned runs scored on a two-out double from Starlin Castro off Tazawa in the seventh inning, while Tazawa (two earned runs) and Ross both contributed to a sloppy eighth inning that saw the Yankees add three insurance runs.

“It’s a tough one,” Betts said of the Sox blowing a three-run lead en route to suffering a five-run loss. “I felt like we controlled the game for the most part today, but it happens. It happens to the best of us. We just have to go back out and play tomorrow.”

Pomeranz came away with a no-decision in a despite allowing just one earned run over 5 1/3 innings. After serving up a leadoff homer to Didi Gregorius in the bottom of the fifth for New York’s first run of the game, Pomeranz surrendered back-to-back singles to Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine to put the game’s tying run in scoring position with nobody out. The lefty escaped by striking out Aaron Hicks swinging and getting Brett Gardner to ground into an inning-ending double play.

“They’re starting to mount a little bit of a rally and I thought he did a very good job of getting a key strikeout and then a key ground ball double play to end the threat,” John Farrell said after the game. “I thought the stuff was quality. I thought he was around the plate more consistently than his last time out in Seattle.”

The lefty recorded the sixth inning’s first out on a Jacoby Ellsbury pop out to short, but surrendered a single and a walk in succession before being pulled from the game. Buchholz, who is set to start on Saturday, was summoned and promptly got Starlin Castro to hit into a twin killing.

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Read More: David Ortiz, Drew Pomeranz,

Steven Wright to miss start after baserunning injury

08.10.16 at 5:09 pm ET
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Steven Wright

Steven Wright

Steven Wright will miss his next start due to inflammation in his shoulder, John Farrell said prior to Wednesday’s game. Wright suffered the injury diving into a base while serving as a pinch-runner Saturday against the Dodgers.

With Wright missing his start, Boston’s rotation the next three days will be Eduardo Rodriguez Thursday, David Price Friday and Clay Buchholz Saturday. Buchholz will make his first start in over a month, as he last served as a starter on July 2, allowing six runs (three earned) over 4 1/3 innings in a 21-2 loss to the Angels.

Though the injury will not land Wright on the disabled list for now, it does disrupt what’s been a very strong season for the knuckle-baller. Wright is 13-5 on the season with a 3.01 earned run average over 146 2/3 innings pitched. In his last start, Wright allowed three hits in pitching a complete-game shutout against the Dodgers.

Farrell also said that Blake Swihart will undergo his scheduled ankle surgery Monday in North Carolina. The surgery, which will be performed by Dr. Robert B. Anderson, will end Swihart’s season.

Read More: Clay Buchholz, steven wright,

Which Red Sox player are you? Enter to win a baseball autographed by Hanley Ramirez

08.10.16 at 3:50 pm ET
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Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez

Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez

The Red Sox are locked in a tight pennant race. If you were a major leaguer, which Red Sox star would you be?

Click here to take a quick quiz to find out.

Everyone who takes the quiz has the chance to enter to win a baseball autographed by Hanley Ramirez.

Read More: hanley ramirez, Red Sox,

John Farrell on D&H: Andrew Benintendi ‘born to hit’

08.10.16 at 3:41 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

Red Sox manager John Farrell joined the Dale & Holley show with Thornton on Wednesday to discuss Andrew Benintendi’s hot start and the win over the Yankees on Tuesday night. To hear the full interview, go to the D&H audio on demand page.

Called up to the Red Sox on Aug. 2, the 22-year-old Benintendi has impressed in his first few games in the majors. He is 8-for-16 with three RBIs in six games with the Red Sox, and he collected three hits and crossed home plate twice in a 5-3 win over New York on Tuesday. Farrell had nothing but praise for the outfielder, saying Benintendi doesn’t get rattled in the big moments.

“You can always attach the word ‘natural’ to everything that he does,” Farrell said. “Whether it’s his swing or he runs the bases, the way he interacts with his teammates in the clubhouse. Keep in mind, he’s not far removed from the University of Arkansas campus, and you find a meteoric rise to the big leagues, and yet he’s handling big league pitching pretty successfully in a handful of at-bats. I think the most talked-about part of it is how’s he going to face major league left-handed pitching. Well, [he faced] a pretty good left-handed reliever in [reliever Luis] Avilan over with the Dodgers, a base hit to right. You know what, the kid was born to hit, and he’s got a pulse rate that doesn’t seem to elevate, and that’s really pretty unique.”

In Tuesday’s victory, Benintendi blasted a ball to straight center field, hitting the yellow line on the side of the Green Monster. The hit was ruled a home run before it was reviewed and changed to a double. With Benintendi standing only 5-foot-10, his power at the plate comes as a surprise to some.

“A lot of people will remark similarly to Mookie Betts,” Farrell said. “How does he create such power from a guy who’s maybe sightly built. It’s about bat speed, it’s about timing, coordination, which he has tremendous skills in that way in Benintendi. It’s just great to see a guy that’s come in, he’s been able to just sit in the bottom of the order, not become a focal point, kind of blend in with everyone else. Clearly he’s handling himself in really good shape.”

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Read More: Andrew Benintendi, Craig Kimbrel, John Farrell, rick porcello

Red Sox lineup: Dustin Pedroia to leadoff, Mookie Betts hitting third

08.10.16 at 3:09 pm ET
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Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

The change has finally been made.

After hinting at a switch for the past few days, Red Sox manager John Farrell switched things up at the top of his batting order, moving Dustin Pedroia into the leadoff spot and Mookie Betts to No. 3. Farrell first announced the decision during his weekly appearance on the Dale & Holley Show.

Here is the Red Sox’ batting order against Yankees righty Nathan Eovaldi:

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Mookie Betts RF
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Travis Shaw 3B
Sandy Leon C
Andrew Benintendi LF

Click here for all the matchups with Drew Pomeranz on the mound for the Red Sox.

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