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Cole Hamels on Red Sox: ‘It was a team I would have played for’

06.25.16 at 1:39 am ET
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Cole Hamels says he would have come to the Red Sox if a deal was struck. (Tim Heitman/USA Today Sports)

Cole Hamels says he would have come to the Red Sox if a deal was struck. (Tim Heitman/USA Today Sports)

ARLINGTON, Texas — A year ago, Cole Hamels’ future was the hottest topic in baseball.

The then-Phillies pitcher represented one of the trade deadline prizes, with the Red Sox linked to the lefty for more than a year. In the end, however, the Rangers reeled in Hamels, an acquisition that has paid off handsomely for Texas.

According to Red Sox sources, roadblocks impeded the pursuit of Hamels. Besides Philadelphia’s steep asking price, some in the organization believed Hamels’ ability to block a trade to Boston was complicating matters.

But talking to WEEI.com prior to Friday night’s game against the Red Sox, Hamels said the no-trade clause wouldn’t have been an issue. (He did block a deadline deal to Houston, and didn’t have to approve the trade to Texas.)

“It was a team I would have played for,” Hamels said.

According to the 32-year-old, he never got the impression that a deal sending him to the Red Sox was realistic.

“Truthfully, no, because our general manager never made any effort toward it and never really talked about it,” Hamels said when asked if he ever thought he would be headed to Boston. “That’s obviously behind closed doors because I didn’t know what was going on. But my feeling was it happened when it happened because that’s when they wanted it to happen. If there was any indication it would have happened earlier, the Red Sox were probably the only team at that time. But all indications implied they weren’t going to make that sort of effort.

“I’m sure everybody is open to the Red Sox. You see the guys they have. They have guys. I think the value that they put on me and the value that they wanted in return I think were non-talking points for the Red Sox. Both sides didn’t have to change, and why would they.”

When asked when he got the vibe that the Phillies and Red Sox weren’t going to be matching up, Hamels said, “Before spring training (2015).”

The Red Sox wisely held on to some of the foundation players then-Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro was asking for. (Which Amaro has since publicly acknowledged since.) And Philadelphia ended up with a very respectable haul from the Rangers, trading Hamels for top prospects Jorge Alfaro and Jake Thompson, along with pitcher Matt Harrison.

It played out as Hamels predicted, with the Red Sox never matching up with Amaro and the Phillies. Since being dealt, the southpaw is 15-2 with a 3.19 ERA with the Rangers.

“I never got that sense,” said the pitcher regarding the Red Sox having a realistic chance at making the acquisition. “Normally you have kind of a gut instinct. But the Phillies could do whatever they wanted, and the Red Sox could do whatever they wanted. I don’t think they were anywhere close to even attempting. I got that feeling. If you’re not close you don’t try to force it, and they weren’t going to force it.

“I think when play with an organization long enough you understand what they need and the direction they were going to go. You understand they need X, Y, and Z for a person like me. Obviously, I know what baggage I was carrying with contracts and this and that. There are just a lot of moving parts. Even though we’re baseball players we’re pretty intelligent in the baseball world and understand what it would takes. You kind of realize that it’s a lot more difficult than what it really is. You just kind of have to go off of that.”

Jackie Bradley Jr. punctuated pretty good night with pretty good prediction

06.25.16 at 1:21 am ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

ARLINGTON, Texas – Jackie Bradley Jr. already had quite a night.

In the sixth inning, he had launched his 13th home run of the season. And then in the ninth inning Bradley Jr. led off with a walk and scored via Sandy Leon’s two-out triple.

But the outfielder’s greatest accomplishment might have been predicting one of the Red Sox’ most improbable home runs of the season — Mookie Betts’ game-tying, two-out blast in the ninth.

According to Bradley Jr., that’s exactly what happened.

“That guy, man. I called it,” said Bradley Jr. of Betts after the Red Sox’ 8-7 win. “I hate to take a lot of credit, but I called it. In that situation, it was big. It was a big swing from a big-time player. He’s a play-maker.”

So, what made the center fielder so confident his teammate would come through?

“Why? You have the play-maker at the plate,” Bradley Jr. explained. “It was just something that I was feeling. If you don’t believe me you can ask Rick [Porcello]. He was to my right. He’ll vouch for me.”

And, sure enough, Porcello did confirm the prediction.

It was arguably the biggest home run, and best prognostication of the season.

“It was one of those things where everybody was feeding off one another,” Bradley Jr. said. “It got to the point that in your mind it felt like you were going to win that game.”

Closing Time: Mookie Betts’ homer, Rangers’ wild pitch lead Red Sox dramatic win

06.24.16 at 11:58 pm ET
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Mookie Betts' home run was the biggest hit of the game for the Red Sox Friday night (Jim Cowsert/USA Today Images)

Mookie Betts’ home run was the biggest hit of the game for the Red Sox Friday night (Jim Cowsert/USA Today Images)

ARLINGTON, Texas – Before what would end up as an 8-7 Red Sox win over the Rangers, players in the visitors clubhouse at Globe Life Park were casting their ballots for American League All-Stars.

Anybody who didn’t vote for Mookie Betts might have felt a bit sheepish in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

With two outs in the ninth inning, and the Red Sox trailing by a pair, Betts took a Matt Bush 1-1 pitch over the center field wall to tie the game.

“Yeah, that one was one of the ones I figured was going to go. If it didn’t, I would have probably cried,” Betts said.

“That guy, man. I called it,” said Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. of Betts. “I hate to take a lot of credit, but I called it. In that situation, it was big. It was a big swing from a big-time player. He’s a play-maker.”

The at-bat was made possible because of Sandy Leon’s pinch-hit, RBI double one spot before, punctuating an 11-pitch at-bat.

The Red Sox completed the comeback when Rangers catcher Bobby Wilson couldn’t handle a 1-2 fastball from Bush, allowing Dustin Pedroia to race home on the wild pitch. Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts had kept things going after Betts’ heroics, managing a walk and single, respectively.

“I wanted Bush the inning before when I was 0-for-3,” Bogaerts said. “I told [hitting coach] Chili [Davis] I wanted to face Bush. He’s got the fastball he throws pretty straight. But they left in [Tony] Barnette. I got a 2-0 count, just wanted to shoot the hole and I did it.”

“They got that brick back there, so I didn’t know,” said Pedroia when asked if he thought he could make it home on the wild pitch. “We had to go. But it’s not very far.”

The Betts homer took David Price off the hook despite one of the worst starts of his career.

For the fifth time in his career, Price didn’t make it past 2 1/3 innings of a game he started. This time the lefty allowed six runs on 12 hits before being yanked in favor of Matt Barnes.

It wasn’t totally unexpected that Price might struggle against the Rangers, considering he came into the game with a 5.15 in 11 previous starts vs. Texas. He also had a 6.54 ERA in the home of the Rangers, having pitched their six times.

But, starting with a leadoff home run by Shin-Soo Choo in the first inning, this was worse than anybody could have expected. Particularly since Price came into the game having pitched eight innings in his previous three starts, while totaling a 2.47 ERA in his last eight.

“I’m fine. You know I’m fine,” Price said. “I just didn’t execute pitches. It’s not mechanics. It’s not pitch selection. It’s executing pitches. That’s all it is. Whenever I throw the baseball well it’s execution. Whenever I don’t I didn’t execute that’s what it is.”

For a complete game recap, click here.

Closing Time note

WHAT WENT RIGHT

– Koji Uehara came on to close things out for his second save of the season, striking out the side in the ninth.

“Despite the recent struggles, in the ninth inning, complete comfort when Koji is on the mound,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell, referencing Uehara’s most recent outing, when he allowed a pair of home runs. “He to me seems most at home in that role. We’ve got another excellent closer, but Koji, when you need him on a day to close, he’s been pretty spot-on, and that was the case.”

– The Red Sox’ bullpen — consisting of Matt Barnes, Tommy Layne, Heath Hembree and Uehara — came through in a big way after Price’s exit, allowing just one run over the final 6 2/3 innings.

– Hanley Ramirez and Jackie Bradley Jr. each helped the Red Sox keep it close with home runs. Ramirez launched his seventh of the year over the center field fence in the fourth inning, while Bradley Jr.’s hit his sixth of the season in the six inning to cut the Rangers’ lead to three. Both homers were of the two-run variety.

– Making his debut in the majors this season, Bryce Brentz came away with a single while making a diving catch on Jurickson Profar in the seventh inning.

WHAT WENT WRONG

– The Red Sox couldn’t do much with Texas starter Nick Martinez, who came into the game with a 5.14 ERA, having just one start in the majors this season. The Sox only managed four runs on six hits over six innings against the righty.

David Price lasts just 2 1/3 innings against Rangers

06.24.16 at 9:34 pm ET
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David Price

David Price

ARLINGTON, Texas — Whatever momentum David Price had coming into Friday night evaporated in the Lone Star State heat.

For the fifth time in his career, Price didn’t last beyond 2 1/3 innings in a start, giving up six runs on 12 hits against the Rangers at Globe Life Park. The last time he had been chased after just seven outs was April 22, 2015 against the Yankees, when the lefty allowed eight runs on 10 hits.

Shin-Soo Choo led off the game with a home run to left field, starting a three-run, five-hit first inning.

“I’m fine. You know I’m fine,” said Price after his team came from behind for a dramatic 8-7 win. “I just didn’t execute pitches. It’s not mechanics. It’s not pitch selection. It’s executing pitches. That’s all it is. Whenever I throw the baseball well it’s execution. Whenever I don’t I didn’t execute that’s what it is.”

Price had been on quite a run coming into the start against the Rangers, going eight innings in each of his last three appearances, managing a 2.25 ERA during the stretch.

In his previous eight starts, Price had posted a 2.47 ERA and 0.94 WHIP, marking he longest streak of quality starts since Jon Lester’s run in 2013.

The outing continued Price’s struggles against the Rangers. The starter came into Friday with a 5.15 ERA in 11 starts against Texas, with his ERA at Globe Life Park standing at 6.54 in six outings.

To follow all the action in the series opener, click here.

Dave Dombrowski on Andrew Benintendi: ‘We don’t think he’s ready at this point’

06.24.16 at 7:32 pm ET
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Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

ARLINGTON, Texas — Andrew Benintendi’s time hasn’t quite come. That was the message given by Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski prior to his team’s series-opening game Friday night.

The reason Benintendi’s names was surfaced at all in recent days was due to the wave of injuries hitting the Red Sox outfield, with Chris Young serving as the latest casualty after going on the 15-day disabled list with a Grade 1 hamstring strain.

“We don’t think he’s ready at this point,” Dombrowski said. “We didn’t even talk about him in relation to this move, per say, we just don’t think he’s ready and we wouldn’t want to bring him up here until he’s ready.”

Benintendi has steadily improved since his promotion to Double-A Portland, hitting .300 (12-for-60) with two home runs and nine RBI. With the Sea Dogs the Red Sox’ 2015 first-round pick has hit .246 with a .694 OPS.

Dombrowski did note that the Double-A level might be the most important when it comes to identifying a player’s readiness before hitting the major leagues.

“I have believed for years that Double-A is sort of that, for most players, that big proving ground,” he said. “That jump from A to Double-A, the talent really rises there, to go from all those A-ball guys to Double-As, so there’s a lot of talent. Generally, if you can perform well at the Double-A level, you can perform well at the big league level. I have jumped many a players in my career from Double-A to the big leagues, I have no problem with that. Triple-A is still, there are things you learn in Triple-A and we’d love to get him that step. But if you’re really good you can make it from Double-A, sure. We just don’t think he’s quite ready yet.”

One part of Benintendi’s game that Dombrowski did suggest is ready for the major leagues is as a defender and on the bases.

It’s offensively — even with a career .303 batting average and .898 OPS in the minors — that Benintendi has to fine-tune things.

“Defensively he can play in the big leagues,” he said. “Baserunning, all that. But if you’re going to be an outfielder you’re going to have to produce from an offensive perspective and that’s the biggest challenge. He can play here defensively at this point. Really the rest of his game could play here it’s just from an offensive perspective, adjustments are still needed. And they’re normal, growing, and he’s doing amazing basically being in Double-A after being signed in about a year.”

Red Sox lineup: Bryce Brentz gets start in series opener against Rangers

06.24.16 at 4:19 pm ET
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Bryce Brentz

Bryce Brentz

ARLINGTON, Texas — Bryce Brentz is going to get his chance right out of the gate.

Brentz, who was just put on the active roster to replace the injured Chris Young (DL due to hamstring), gets the start in left field in the Red Sox’ series opener againt the Rangers. It is the ninth major league appearance for the 27-year-old outfielder.

Here is the Red Sox lineup against Texas right-handed starter Nick Martinez, with David Price getting the start for the visitors:

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Bryce Brentz LF
Travis Shaw 3B
Christian Vazquez C

For all the matchups, click here.

Report: Red Sox talking with Braves about Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino

06.24.16 at 1:09 pm ET
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The pieces seem to be just the right fit for what the Red Sox need. But is it worth it?

According to ESPN’s Jim Bowden, the Red Sox have talked to the Braves about both starting pitcher Julio Teheran and reliever Arodys Vizcaino. Bowden does, however, go on to reiterate no deal is close.

Teheran is perceived as the top of high-end starting pitching talent the Red Sox should be craving, with the 25-year-old boasting an 2.66 ERA with a 0.91 WHIP over his 15 starts this season. And adding to the allure is the righty’s contract, which pays him just $28 million through the 2019 season, with a $12 club option for 2020.

Vizcaino, also 25 years old, has established himself as one of the game’s best, young closers. In 32 games, he has just a 2.01 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings. The right-hander is also under control through 2019, which is slated for his final year of arbitration-eligibility.

Because of the age, performance, and contracts of both players, any deal for one, or both, would most likely necessitate dealing the likes of Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi and/or Rafael Devers. Top pitching prospects Anderson Espinoza and Michael Kopech would also seemingly be in high demand.

Should Red Sox give up Yoan Moncada or Andew Benintendi in deal involving Julio Teheran?

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Friday Red Sox farm report: Ryan Hanigan (1-for-3), Brock Holt (0-for-2) rehab with Pawtucket

06.24.16 at 11:09 am ET
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Here is a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (38-36): L, 6-1, vs. Syracuse (Nationals)

— Ryan Hanigan (neck) took the first step in returning to the big league club by starting his rehab assignment in Pawtucket. Hanigan started the game as the PawSox’ designated. In the bottom of the third, Hanigan doubled to left field scoring Pawtucket’s only run of the game. Hanigan finished the game 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.

“Hanigan swung the bat well,” said manager Kevin Boles. “He managed his at-bats and said he felt fine afterwards so that’s a good first game for him.”

— Brock Holt made his third rehab start for Pawtucket, as he works to come back from a concussion. Holt committed a throwing error at shortstop in the second inning and the plate went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts.

— PawSox starter Justin Haley ran into trouble in the second inning when he surrendered five runs on four hits. Aside from that inning, Haley retired 13 of 15 batters he faced. Haley was pulled from the game after 5 1/3 innings allowing six runs, four hits and three walks with six strikeouts.

“We didn’t see the command that we saw from the first outing, but we also saw some good signs from him,” said Boles.

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Read More: Brock Holt, mauricio dubon, Ryan Hanigan,

Friday’s Red Sox-Rangers matchups: David Price vs. Nick Martinez

06.24.16 at 10:46 am ET
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The Red Sox will hand the ball to David Price on Friday night to begin a three-game series with the Rangers, who will counter with right-hander Nick Martinez.

Price, who is 8-4 with a 4.24 ERA and a 1.124 WHIP, is coming off of one of his best starts of the season on Sunday against the Mariners. In a 2-1 Red Sox win, Price pitched eight innings, giving up just one run (a home run) on eight hits and no walks with seven strikeouts.

“I think he’s just settled into what’s been his normal delivery for a number of years,” manager John Farrell said (via MLB.com) after the start. “You look at what he’s done over the last eight starts, it’s progressively getting better. He’s been more efficient with his pitch, not only his pitch mix, but the number of pitches thrown. He’s been quality locations throughout. It’s great to see a guy out and work like he does.”

“Unbelievable,” David Ortiz added about Price. “He’s pitching great. He’s one of the best pitchers in the game so it doesn’t surprise me. I knew things were going to get better and it was just a matter of time.”

Earlier in the season Price had ample support from the Sox offense, but over Price’s last four starts Boston has scored just seven runs.

Against the Rangers, Price is 3-4 in 11 career starts with a 5.15 ERA and a 1.361 WHIP. Price’s last start against the Rangers was in August of last year when he was a member of the Blue Jays. In that outing, Price went six innings, giving up two runs, five hits and one walk with eight strikeouts.

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Read More: David Price, Nick Martinez,

Source: Bryce Brentz joining Red Sox in Texas

06.24.16 at 9:08 am ET
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A source tells WEEI’s Mike Mutnansky that outfielder Bryce Brentz has been summoned by the Red Sox to join the team in Arlington, Texas, where the Sox begin a three-game series against the Rangers Friday.

Once activated, Brentz would replace Chris Young, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list after experiencing a right hamstring injury Thursday.

The 27-year-old Brentz is hitting .261 with a .726 OPS and four home runs with Triple-A Pawtucket. The right-handed hitter has previously played in nine major leagues games.

Brentz is already on the 40-man roster.

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