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Red Sox top prospect Yoan Moncada wins MVP of Futures Game

07.10.16 at 10:51 pm ET
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If there was any doubt of just how good Yoan Moncada is, that was answered Sunday night at the 2016 Futures Game in San Diego.

The second baseman and top prospect in baseball went 2-for-5 with a home run and a stolen base to take home MVP honors as his Team World team beat Team USA, 11-3.

His biggest hit came in the eighth inning when he crushed a two-run home run into the upper deck in left field from the right side of the plate.

This was significant as the switch-hitter has much more power from the left side, as of his nine home runs this year, none have come from the right side.

“I am very honored and so excited to be part of this day today,” Moncada said through an interpreter on MLB Network after receiving his MVP award. “I can’t believe how exciting it all is. I am thankful to God for how well everything is going for me.”

Moncada spoke of his overall skills before the game, which he showed off in the game, including showing off his speed by stealing second base and taking third on an error in the fourth inning

“I’m a five-tool player,” he said through a translator to reporters in San Diego. “For the ones that have never seen me play, today you’re going to have an opportunity to.”

“All of them are advanced,” he added when asked which one of his tools was the best.

As for his ultimate goal, it’s pretty simple — get to the majors.

“To get to the big leagues,” he said. “And for my family to be here in the United States is my second goal.”

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Red Sox prospect Andrew Benintendi: ‘I’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought about [getting to the big leagues]’

07.10.16 at 10:09 pm ET
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Andrew Benintendi admitted he's thought about the majors. (Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

Andrew Benintendi admitted he’s thought about the majors. (Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

On Saturday, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski spoke of not having an issue with a player skipping Triple-A and going right to the big leagues.

While he wasn’t speaking about one specific player, he might as well have been referring to Andrew Benintendi, who is tearing up Double-A Portland and with the number of injuries the Red Sox have endured of late, some have speculated Benintendi may get a shot.

While no move appears imminent, prior to the Futures Game in San Diego, Benintendi acknowledged it’s crossed his mind.

“I’m very confident. I think if you’re not confident, you’re not in the right place,” Benintendi said to reporters. “I think I’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought about [getting to the big leagues]. I trust the guys who make those decisions, trust in the process and whatever happens, happens.”

Benintendi was the Red Sox’ first-round pick (No. 7 overall) last season and has flown through the system.

After just 35 games in short-season, Single-A Lowell he was promoted to Single-A Greenville for the final 19 games of last season. Between the two teams he batted .313 with 11 home runs and 31 RBIs.

Then this season, he started with High-A Salem and after 34 games and hitting .341 he was promoted to Double-A Portland. After struggling a bit to start, he’s starting to get comfortable as overall he’s batting .288 with the Sea Dogs.

He batted lead off for Team USA in the game and went 0-for-3.

Being named to the Futures Game was just the latest honor for Benintendi as he was the Golden Spikes Award winner (college baseball’s version of the Heisman Trophy) last year, but the 22-year-old isn’t a huge fan of the attention that comes with it.

“I don’t think it’s a secret that I’m not a fan of all the attention and the media, stuff like that, but I understand it’s part of it and I have to do it,” said Benintendi. “I come from a pretty humble family and I try to be a humble guy.”

Eventually, it will be hard to stay away from all the attention because he’ll find himself in the big leagues.

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David Price reflects on up-and-down 1st half: ‘I never lost confidence in my abilities’

07.10.16 at 5:53 pm ET
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David Price capped an up-and-down first half with a great performance Sunday against the Rays. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

David Price capped an up-and-down first half with a great performance Sunday against the Rays. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

On May 7 and after seven starts as a member of the Red Sox, David Price had a 6.75 ERA and wasn’t even close to the pitcher the Red Sox signed to a seven-year, $217 million contract last offseason.

But, to Price’s credit, he didn’t let that bring him down as he’s turned things around dramatically and has been pitching like the ace he was supposed to be of late.

On Sunday, in his final start of the first half, the left-hander tossed eight shutout innings while scattering four hits, walking one and striking out 10 against the Rays in the Red Sox’ 4-0 win — his ninth win of the season.

It was the first time in his career he went at least eight innings, didn’t allow a run and struck out at least 10 batters. It was just his second win since May 24.

“I’m never discouraged. I never lost confidence in my abilities,” Price said. “I know my coaching staff and my teammates didn’t either.”

Price now has a 4.34 ERA on the season, down almost 2.50 points from two months ago. Since May 7, over his last 12 starts, he has an ERA of 3.14

“Today is an example of what I think everyone sees David’s capabilities,” manager John Farrell said.

Price will enter the All-Star break as the American League leader in strikeouts with 140, the most by a left-handed pitched before the break in Red Sox history. Sunday was his third straight outing with at least 10 strikeouts and his seventh time this season.

For the Red Sox to continue their recent success in the second half, they need Price to pitch like he has of late — the ace he was signed to be.

“Just keep going,” he said. “Whether your pitch well or pitch bad, just have a short memory. What I did today is not going to matter whenever I pitch next in my next start. Just have a short memory, keep working. Good things are going to happen.”

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RHP Noe Ramirez to be optioned to make room for LHP Eduardo Rodriguez

07.10.16 at 5:32 pm ET
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Noe Ramirez

Noe Ramirez

With manager John Farrell announcing left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will start Friday night coming out of the All-Star break in New York, the Red Sox needed to make a roster move to open the spot.

Following Sunday’s 4-0 win, Farrell said reliever Noe Ramirez would be optioned to open the spot for Rodriguez.

Ramirez was called up Saturday, but didn’t pitch Saturday or Sunday as the Red Sox never needed him.

The right-hander has made 11 relief appearances over five stints with the Red Sox this season, posting a 6.55 ERA. Ramirez has also made 17 appearances with Pawtucket, earning three saves and going 1-3 with a 2.45 ERA and 23 strikeouts compared to eight walks.

Rodriguez will make his first major league start since June 27.

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

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David Ortiz punctuates first half with another home run: ‘I feel like I’m 30′

07.10.16 at 5:25 pm ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

David Ortiz is heading out to his last All-Star Game feeling pretty good about things.

Why not? He is leading the world in OPS (1.107), while now carrying a .332 batting average and 22 home runs after hitting another long ball in the Red Sox’ 4-0 win over the Rays on Sunday afternoon.

“Maybe people will stop thinking playing at 40 is bad,” he joked, later adding. “I’m fine. I feel like I’m 30. I feel good right now. Hitting all those doubles [34] was driving me crazy.”

And as Ortiz jets across the country to participate in an All-Star evident that will undoubtedly be centered on the Red Sox designated hitter, there are only two sources for concern regarding his final few months: 1. Will the Red Sox be playing meaningful games during his final days as a big league player; 2. Can he stay healthy.

As for his team’s positioning, it could be a lot worse.

The Red Sox find themselves two games out of first-place in the American League East with a 49-38 record. It would currently be good enough for a wild card berth.

“I think it was good. I think it was good in general for everybody,” Ortiz said. “We finish [two games] out of first place? Fix a few things and I think it will be better in the second half.”

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Xander Bogaerts admits he was motivated after not making 2015 All-Star team

07.10.16 at 5:23 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts admitted he was a bit motivated by not making the 2015 All-Star team. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Xander Bogaerts admitted he was a bit motivated by not making the 2015 All-Star team. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Xander Bogaerts will soon be boarding a plane to San Diego for the 2016 All-Star Game for his first All-Star appearance, but he very well could have made his first appearance last year in Cincinnati.

In 2015, the shortstop slashed .304/.338/.411 with three home runs and 43 RBIs in the first half of the season, but did not get invited to the game.

Brock Holt was the only member of the Red Sox to get the invite and the other American League shortstops were Alcides Escobar and Jose Iglesias.

A year later, Bogaerts admitted he was motivated by not making the team.

“A little bit. A little bit,” he said following Sunday’s 4-0 win over the Rays to close out the first half. “That definitely helped my second half, but this is a new year and I am thankful.”

Bogaerts was even better in the second half as he slashed .337/.372/.431 with four home runs and 38 RBIs. He’s carried it over into 2016 as going into the break he’s batting .329 with 10 home runs and 55 RBIs. The home runs and RBIs are the most by a Red Sox shortstop at the All-Star break since Nomar Garciparra back in 2003.

Since the start of last year, his 313 hits are the second-most in the majors.

Even with his tremendous first half and first All-Star nod, Bogaerts feels there are still ways he can improve in the second half.

“I’m swinging at a lot of balls out of the zone, but that would help a lot definitely,” he said. “I would like to go the other way more in the second half so that’s something I have a lot to do on since I’ve been pulling it as of late. Hopefully I just can go back that.”

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Red Sox reliever Brad Ziegler calls pitching at Fenway Park ‘everything you dream of’ after 1st appearance

07.10.16 at 5:08 pm ET
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Brad Ziegler made his first appearance as a Red Sox in Sunday's win over the Rays. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Brad Ziegler made his first appearance as a Red Sox in Sunday’s win over the Rays. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Less than 48 hours ago, relief pitcher Brad Ziegler was in Arizona, prepared to be traded, but not sure when or if it would happen.

Come Sunday afternoon, he was pitching the ninth inning of a 4-0 division matchup in front of a sellout crowd at Fenway Park as a member of the Red Sox.

“It was awesome, a lot of adrenaline,” said Ziegler. “The fans, I’m grateful for the reception they gave me when they announced me. It was a lot of fun, it was kind of everything you dream of when you think about putting on a Red Sox uniform and playing at Fenway. And to be able to close out a game and end the first half on a good note was fun.”

The 36-year-old righty followed up starter David Price’s tremendous outing by pitching the ninth inning, not allowing a batter to reach base while striking out two.

“I felt good,” he said. “It’s fun to sit and watch David pitch, he was fantastic today. I felt pretty good, just wanted to go out and try to go out and throw strikes. You’ve got a lead, be aggressive and just made some decent pitches and use our defense.”

Manager John Farrell was impressed with the reliever’s first outing, hoping that the small sample size shown Sunday is a sign of what is left to come.

Yeah, we’ll take two strikeouts out of every three every time he walks to the mound. We felt like his style, that submarine type arm-slot, that’s a real good fit to the remainder of our bullpen,” Farrell said. “With the number of quality hitters in our division, he gives us a guy who can potentially matchup favorably. A veteran guy that’s pitched late in the game, pitched in important roles. He adds a lot of I think proven experience and performance to that back end.

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Closing Time: David Price throws gem, David Ortiz homers as Red Sox go into break in style

07.10.16 at 4:07 pm ET
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David Ortiz hit his 22nd home run of the year in the Red Sox' win over the Rays. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz hit his 22nd home run of the year in the Red Sox’ win over the Rays. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

In the final game before the All-Star break, Sunday afternoon’s tilt between the Red Sox and Rays possesed all of the things that went right for the Red Sox in the first half of the season, seemingly leaving the negatives back in June.

En route to a 4-0 win over the AL East-worst Rays, the Sox hit the ball well and often, were sound on defense, and were able to lean on their ace David Price.

With a first half of the season characterized by criticism of not living up to the “ace” status placed upon him, Price put together a masterful outing, going eight innings, allowing four hits with ten strikeouts and one walk.

“Mixed it up well, had some hard hit balls go at people and some good defensive plays,” said Price, citing specifically Jackie Bradley Jr.s throw in center field to nab Curt Casali at second base and Aaron Hill’s diving grab at third in the eighth inning.

“Whenever you can go out there and put up zeros at this level that’s always a good feeling,” he added.

The 30-year-old lefty is now 9-6 with a 4.38 ERA, down from the 4.64 ERA he entered the game with. He’s also struck out ten or more batters in seven of his 19 outings this season.

“I was never discouraged,” said Price when asked about if he was encouraged by the outing going into the All-Star break. “I never lost confidence in my ability and I know my coaching staff and my teammates didn’t either.”

The Red Sox jumped on Rays starter Jake Odorizzi, putting a three-spot on the 26-year-old in the first inning. After Mookie Betts moved to third after a lead off single on a Dustin Pedroia double, Xander Bogaerts drove a sacrifice fly into right field to score Betts.

The next at-bat, David Ortiz did what he does best, drilling a two-run home run into the Monster seats for his 22nd homer of the year. They would add another the following frame as Betts’ Texas leaguer to right field scored Sandy Leon.

The Red Sox got six of their eight hits in the game in the first two innings, with the other two coming in the seventh inning. Leon and Betts were the only Red Sox batters with multi-hit games, with Leon grabbing a single and a double while Betts hit three singles.

Newly-acquired Brad Ziegler got his first relief appearance as a member of the Red Sox, as he closed the game out in the ninth, striking out two.

Closing Time note

Price got more than two runs of support for the first time since May 29.

Here’s what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win.

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New Red Sox reliever Brad Ziegler ‘really excited’ to be part of team

07.10.16 at 12:43 pm ET
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Brad Ziegler

Brad Ziegler

The Red Sox’ newest face, reliever Brad Ziegler, addressed the media for the first time as a member of the team Sunday morning. The 36-year old said he was “pretty excited” to join the Red Sox.

“I was shocked mostly at how early the trade happened, I thought it was going to be closer to the deadline” Ziegler said. “At the same time I appreciate if they felt like it was something they needed do right away and help out right now then I’m more than happy to a part of it.”

The Red Sox acquired Ziegler from Arizona early Saturday morning in exchange for infielder Luis Alejandro Basabe and pitcher Jose Almonte. A ninth-year pro, Ziegler is 2-3 this season with 18 saves and a 2.82 ERA.

Ziegler’s sidearm/submarine delivery is not only previously vacant territory on the Red Sox’ pitching staff, but also a fresh arm to help an ailing bullpen.

“Hopefully a little different look,” Ziegler said when asked what he was looking to add to the bullpen. “I’m probably a lot different than everybody else down there, but [I hope to bring] a lot of experience and hopefully help out some young guys here and there and pitch some tough innings here and there and just do what I can to help this team win.”

Ziegler was admittedly unsure of his role, but that grey area exposes his versatility. The righty has 81 career saves — including the 18 so far this season. And with Craig Kimbrel being unavailable for three to six weeks from a medial meniscus tear in his left knee, Ziegler could provide some security in the late innings.

On Saturday, manager John Farrell said Ziegler would be the set-up man for Koji Uehara.

“If that’s what they want me to do then I’m happy to do it,” Ziegler said. When he’s back or when Koji’s got the ball I’m going to be there cheering them on just like everybody else. I don’t really care what my role is, I’m just excited to be on a contender and try to help the team win.

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Read More: Aaron Hill, Brad Ziegler, Craig Kimbrel, Koji Uehara

Red Sox notes: Eduardo Rodriguez to start Friday in New York; Clay Buchholz back in starting rotation

07.10.16 at 12:37 pm ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez will start for the Red Sox Friday night in New York. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Eduardo Rodriguez will start for the Red Sox Friday night in New York. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

The Red Sox will get two starting pitchers back in their rotation coming out of the All-Star break — Eduardo Rodriguez and Clay Buchholz.

Rodriguez will start Friday night in New York, as he’s appeared in two games with the PawSox since being sent back down in late June. He threw seven shutout inning on July 3, then allowed two runs over three innings in a rain-shortened outing Friday night.

“There’s been some adjustments made to his hand position,” manager John Farrell said. “It was a seven-inning and a rain-shortened three inning outing in which he’s pitched down there. The first inning in his second start — took him an inning to get into things, but the seven innings prior was sharp, was powerful. I think he’s by all reports and watching video of him looks like he’s gaining some comfort with the hand position that has been widely talked about. Required needed adjustments have been made.”

It also appears Buchholz will go back in the rotation, but the Red Sox won’t need a fifth starter until July 23. He hasn’t appeared in a game since July 2.

“Right now, we’ll work to get Clay back in there at some point,” Farrell said. “Where that slots in after the New York series remains to be worked through, but that’s the tentative plan right now.”

After Rodriguez in New York, Steven Wright will start Saturday and David Price on Sunday. Farrell said he did this to get both Rick Porcello and David Price a few extra days off.

“Yeah, we tried to build in as much as we could for everybody,” he said. “This will give David a couple extra days pitching on Sunday, but I think with Rick everything is pointing to a few extra days is what he needs.”

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

— Both Brock Holt (sprained ankle) and Junichi Tazawa (shoulder) are unavailable Sunday, but Farrell is hopeful they will be available Friday and he doesn’t expect either to go on the disabled list.

“Both are unavailable today,” Farrell said. “We don’t anticipate either situation, a DL situation. The four days is coming at a good time for a number of guys.”

Holt sprained his ankle after jamming it sliding into second base on Friday night, but is getting better by the day.

“Getting treatment,” Farrell said “Walking around a little bit more. The increase is a little bit more each day. Those guys are going to remain here over the break to continue to get treatment. Hopefully things are pointing to Friday for Brock and [Tazawa].”

Read More: Brock Holt, Clay Buchholz, eduardo rodriguez, junichi tazawa
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