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MLB makes adjustment to home-plate collision rule

06.24.14 at 2:52 pm ET
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Nearly a week after a controversial and incorrect ruling in Pittsburgh, Major League Baseball announced an adjustment to its recently instituted rule on home-plate collisions.

Fox baseball reporter Ken Rosenthal reported on Twitter Tuesday afternoon that MLB has made a change to Rule 7.13, instructing umpires not to apply the rule on force plays at home plate.

The adjustment comes in response to an incident last Wednesday in a game between the Pirates and the Red in which the umpires overturned an “out” call after reviewing a play in which they deemed Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin illegally blocked the plate with his foot.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre issued a statement the next day saying replay officials incorrectly applied the rule.

Torre said the play “was one of the most difficult calls that our umpires have faced this season, given that the positioning of the catcher at home plate was necessary to record the force out. After evaluating the play and the details of the review, we recognize that this play was not the type that should have resulted in a violation of Rule 7.13.

“The goal of Rule 7.13 is to prevent egregious home-plate collisions, and despite how challenging these situations can be, we have made important progress in accomplishing that goal.” Read the rest of this entry »

Red Sox minor league roundup: Mookie Betts unstoppable; Steven Wright dominating; Deven Marrero streaking

06.24.14 at 10:17 am ET
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Knuckleballer Steven Wright has been consistently excellent since joining the PawSox this year. (Kelly O'Connor, PawSox)

Knuckleballer Steven Wright has been consistently excellent since joining the PawSox this year. (Kelly O’Connor, PawSox)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 5-4 WIN AT SCRANTON WILKES-BARRE (YANKEES)

(BOX)

– Feats of Mookie: Doing what Mookie does. Mookie Betts extended his hitting streak to eight games with a 2-for-4 night and stealing his sixth base since being promoted (he’s been caught two times). He also drew a walk and struck out twice. Just a week ago, Betts’ average in Triple-A had fallen to .267, but he’s hit .389 over his last eight games, boosting his line through 20 games with Pawtucket to .321/.402/.457 in which he’s reached base in every contest. As Red Sox outfielders went a combined 1-for-11 on Monday night in Seattle, Betts’ consistent production at the highest minor league level makes him a viable option to provide an offensive spark to a struggling offense.

Steven Wright earned his second win of the season with seven innings of two-run ball, allowing five hits. He didn’t allow a walk while striking out seven, the third time in five starts he’s punched out seven or more. The knuckleballer is averaging exactly one strikeout per inning since returning to action at the end of May, and owns a 1.80 ERA through five starts and 30 innings. He’s allowed no more than two earned runs in any of his outings this season. Though less heralded than other pitching prospects in the Sox system, the Sox would be comfortable calling up Wright for a spot start based on how he’s throwing.

Will Middlebrooks, on a rehab assignment with the PawSox after suffering a fractured finger, was scratched from the lineup as he experienced swelling in that fractured right index finger. The third baseman is batting .316 with two walks, four strikeouts and no extra-base hits through 19 at-bats during his rehab assignment. He went 2-for-4 as the DH on Sunday.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 3-2 WIN VS. NEW HAMPSHIRE (BLUE JAYS) Read the rest of this entry »

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Tuesday’s Red Sox-Mariners matchups: Jake Peavy vs. Erasmo Ramirez

06.24.14 at 8:30 am ET
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The Red Sox will play the middle game of their three-game set against the Mariners on Tuesday, sending Jake Peavy to the hill against Erasmo Ramirez.

While Peavy (1-5, 4.52 ERA) has not earned a win since April 25, he has been the victim of bad luck on multiple occasions. Peavy has only received 3.33 runs of support per game this season — the third-lowest mark in the American League — while Boston has only won four of the 10 games in which Peavy left with the team winning, tied or trailing by just one run.

In his last start Thursday against the Athletics, Peavy took the loss, giving up four runs (three earned) over 6 1/3 innings while throwing 117 pitches — his highest total since Sept. 5, 2013. It was the fifth consecutive loss for Peavy, equaling the longest losing streak of his career.

“Just physically I didn’t feel very good, to start,” Peavy said after the game. “Just not in sync. It’s no excuse, but I’m just stating the facts. Physically, I wasn’t good and on point there for a bit.”

Peavy’€™s last appearance against Seattle was on June 4, 2013, when the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner was still a member of the White Sox. Peavy was rocked in that outing, surrendering six earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings. In 10 career starts against the Mariners, Peavy is 5-2 with a 3.03 ERA.

Ramirez (1-4, 4.62 ERA) has struggled of late, posting a 0-4 record with a 4.97 ERA over his last nine starts. The 24-year-old righty has not won a game since his first start of the season back on April 1.

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Read More: jake peavy, jesus montero, Mariners, Red Sox

John Lackey: ‘I’m not going to panic over one inning’

06.24.14 at 2:19 am ET
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SEATTLE — It all seemed a bit bizarre.

There was John Lackey being taken out after just 3 2/3 innings, his shortest outing since Sept. 9, 2011 (when he had an elbow ligament dangling in his arm).

“Well, not only from a staff standpoint, but in the last year and a half from John Lackey,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said when asked about his surprise that his pitchers had surrendered 12 runs to the Mariners in the Sox’ 12-3 loss Monday night. “He’€™s been a model of consistency, he’€™s pitched so well for us. Not to take anything away from the Mariners hitters, I thought he had very good stuff to open up the game with, and trying to get that final third out in that fourth inning turns into a six-run inning, and at that point, going against [Felix] Hernandez, that’€™s a tall order to try to come back from.”

There was that fourth inning, which saw Lackey exit after giving up six runs. This was a guy who had allowed a total of eight earned runs over his previous six outings.

“I’m not going to panic over one inning,” he said after the 74-pitch outing. “€œI think we’ll be all right.”

And then came the at-bat that led to all the trouble.

With the score tied, 2-2, with one out in the fourth, the bases loaded and Dustin Ackley at the plate, Lackey looked for the double-play ground ball. He would ultimately get to where he wanted to go, but not before Ackley saw a total of 13 pitches in his at-bat.

Ackley ultimately grounded a ball first baseman Mike Napoli ranged to his right for, firing to shortstop Stephen Drew for the first out. But when Drew turned to fire to first for a potential twin-killing, nobody was there to cover.

When asked after the game about any regrets Lackey might have had in not covering the base, the pitcher was cryptic.

“Ummm … I mean, yeah. I could’ve have gone over there,”€ he said. “I could’ve got over there for sure. But yeah … I’ll leave that one alone.”

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Closing Time: John Lackey, Red Sox no match for Felix Hernandez, Mariners

06.24.14 at 1:07 am ET
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Dustin Pedroia races around the bases for the Red Sox' first run Monday night. (AP)

Dustin Pedroia races around the bases for the Red Sox‘ first run Monday night. (AP)

SEATTLE — It was supposed to be one of the better pitching matchups of the season. It wasn’t. For that you can blame the Red Sox.

Sox starter John Lackey struggled through his worst outing of the season, allowing six runs in the fourth inning before being pulled with two outs in the frame. The righty’s 74-pitch outing was the springboard for what turned into a 12-3 rout by the Mariners on Monday night at Safeco Field.

The seven earned runs were just one fewer than Lackey had totaled in his previous six starts. It was the fourth time this season a Red Sox starter has allowed as many runs, not having suffered such a fate since Jon Lester‘s May 22 outing in Toronto.

“I felt pretty good in the first couple of innings,” Lackey said. “Struggled obviously in the fourth inning, wasn’t able to make a pitch to get out of there. Started going downhill, and couldn’t stop it.”

The Seattle offense was more than enough for M’s starter Felix Hernandez, who had gotten just one run of support in his last three starts. It was the righty’s eighth straight appearance in which he didn’t give up more than a pair of runs.

“Well, not only from a staff standpoint, but in the last year and a half from John Lackey,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said about his team’s rare subpar performance from its pitchers. “He’€™s been a model of consistency, he’€™s pitched so well for us. Not to take anything away from the Mariners hitters, I thought he had very good stuff to open up the game with, and trying to get that final third out in that fourth inning turns into a six-run inning, and at that point, going against Hernandez, that’€™s a tall order to try to come back from.”

Offering another example of how rough it was for the Red Sox was the performance of Seattle’s Logan Morrison, who came into the game hitting .164 but finished the night with four hits (two of which were home runs).

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– Lackey surrendered a second-inning home run to Morrison, only the seventh long ball given up by the starter in his last seven appearances. Lackey came into the game having given up just one home run in his last seven Safeco Field starts.

– For the second time in the game, the Sox starter allowed the Mariners to tie things up after his team had claimed the lead, giving up an RBI single to Kyle Seager with one out in the fourth.

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Shane Victorino after rehab start: ‘I’m part of the problem not being out there’

06.23.14 at 11:31 pm ET
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LOWELL –  Shane Victorino feels as responsible as anyone for the Red Sox‘ struggles this season.

The right fielder has been limited to just 21 games with the Red Sox in 2014 with his troublesome right hamstring and hasn’t played baseball since since a short three-game stint in Pawtucket on June 17. In that time he’s been forced to watch the Sox fall in the AL East standings, the offense struggle and the outfield fail to produce in the last month, all from the outside.

“I’m a culprit. I’m part of the problem not being out there, not helping those guys,” he said.

On Monday, it was back to playing baseball for Victorino, who took another step toward his return to the Red Sox lineup in a rehab stint with Single-A Lowell at LeLacheur Park. He went 0-for-3 batting out of the leadoff spot, but ran the bases at full speed and, most importantly, felt healthy in his five innings of play.

“Body felt good, good to be back out there running around,” Victorino said afterward, later adding, “Everything was going accordingly. Some things got a little set back, but we’re getting back in the right direction.”

Victorino said he expects to play with Pawtucket Tuesday night and hopes to return to the big leagues as soon as possible.

“My goal would love to be out there in Seattle Wednesday, but again, it’s about doing the things, getting back into so-called baseball activity physically, getting back into motion and all those kinds of things,” he said.  Read the rest of this entry »

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David Ortiz gets his scoring change, apologizes for actions

06.23.14 at 8:58 pm ET
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SEATTLE — The scoring decision was changed, and so was David Ortiz‘€™s tone.

Major League Baseball announced official scorer Bob Ellis has made a scoring change on the decision that originally give Twins first baseman Joe Mauer an error on Ortiz’€™s line drive in the seventh inning of the June 18 game at Fenway Park. The play is now ruled a hit, raising the designated hitter’€™s batting average from .248 to .252.

Prior to the Red Sox‘€™ series-opener against the Mariners, Ortiz offered his apologies regarding how he handled the situation, having exhibited his displeasure both on and off the field.

“I apologize for the incident,” he said. “The frustration coming out the other day, I mean, this year has already been very frustrating. Sorry, but my career has been based on results, and when you don’t see it it’s not like they give you a free pass. When I’m not hitting all people talk about is why he’€™s not hitting. So when you think you’ve got something and that situation happens, you get frustrated. But it’s not like you have anything personal with anybody.

“MLB is what we are. Joe Torre and everybody, the scorekeeper and everybody, I feel like I owe them an apology because of the way things come up. It shouldn’t be like that. On the other hand, hopefully things get better.”

Ortiz said he hasn’t talked to any of the particulars involved in the incident, including Ellis or Torre, who criticized the DH for his actions and comments after the game.

“I’m just saying this because I think I over — like I said, it was very frustrating,” he said. “But it’s not like you want things to come out that way.”

Read More: David Ortiz,
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