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Red Sox notes: No rotation shake-up yet; Jackie Bradley to enter right field mix

05.10.15 at 3:09 pm ET
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TORONTO — The arrival of a new pitching coach didn’t mean there was a new starting rotation … yet.

Prior to his team’s series finale against the Blue Jays Sunday, John Farrell said that the Red Sox didn’t have any immediate plans to shake-up the starting rotation, although he wouldn’t rule it out in the near future.

“Not at the present moment,” said Farrell regarding any changes to the starting rotation. “Now, that’€™s always up for review and we’€™ll see how we continue to progress through the rotation another turn or two.”

One potential candidate for a move to the bullpen could be Joe Kelly, who carries a 6.35 ERA in six starts after allowing six runs on four hits and seven walks in his 5 2/3-inning stint Saturday.

“For the time being,” said Farrell when asked if Kelly would remain in the starting rotation. “Partly because of a chance for [new pitching coach] Carl [Willis] to get involved with him and yet we don’€™t deny the stuff that’€™s there. Despite the high number of walks, uncharacteristic number of walks yesterday, there’€™s no denying his stuff. It’€™s a matter of how we can make him most effective.”

Kelly does have history in the bullpen, spending 30 games as a reliever during his time with St. Louis. In that role he posted a 3.25 ERA, striking out 49 and walking 14.

“We’€™re well aware of his track record or experience with pitching in both roles, but we’€™re not making a change to the rotation as of today,” Farrell said.

– With the promotion of Jackie Bradley, talked turned to what role he might play.

Bradley, who was hitting .343 with an .857 OPS with Triple-A Pawtucket, started in right field Sunday. It’s a spot he might find himself in more times than not with the Red Sox easing Shane Victorino back into action.

“When Vic gets back to us Vic is going to get the left-handed starters if not more,” said Farrell of Victorino, who was scheduled to fly with the team to Oakland Sunday night. “But Jackie’€™s arrival here gives us a premium defender. Certainly like him against a lot of right-handed pitching so we’€™ll find the right matchups. I’€™m not going to say it’€™s a strict platoon situation by any means but I think it’€™s important for us to find when we’€™ve got a situation or matchup we’€™ve got to take advantage of.”

When asked before the game what he was succeeding at on a more regular basis than a year ago, Bradley said, “Making contact.” With the PawSox, he struck out just 15 times in 105 plate appearances. With the Red Sox last season, the outfielder fanned 121 times in 415 trips to the plate.

– A day after joining David Ortiz in leading a players-only, post-game meeting, Dustin Pedroia sent another message Sunday morning. The second baseman was in full uniform nearly three hours before first pitch.

“I you never know, they might start the game early,” he quipped.

Hanley Ramirez on shoulder injury: ‘It’s a work in progress’

05.10.15 at 2:25 pm ET
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TORONTO — Hanley Ramirez is back in action, but he admits that the left shoulder strain he suffered last Monday is still an issue.

“It’s a work in progress,” the Red Sox left fielder said prior to his team’s game against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre Sunday afternoon. “They need me on the field, so I have to be on the field and try and help the team win games.”

Then, when asked what baseball activity was most hindered by the shoulder ailment, Ramirez responded, “Losing the game.”

Ramirez was making his second start since leaving the Sox’s May 4 against the Rays in the first inning, injuring his shoulder while colliding with the Fenway Park wall along the left field line.

In his first three at-bats Sunday, Ramirez grounded to shortstop twice and rifled a single to left field. It followed up his four at-bats Saturday, in which he went hitless while striking out once.

After his second at-bat in the series finale, Ramirez could be be seen wiggling his left shoulder after running down to first base. He remained in the game and hit the line-drive base-hit in his next time up.

The question now is this: will the ailment — which is on the same shoulder he has had a pair of surgeries — become a lingering issue?

“I hope not, but I don’t try and think about it,” said Ramirez, who said the injury isn’t the same as what he went through in 2007 and ’11. “I keep doing my exercises and getting treatment every day. We’re going to stay on top of it.”

It was very evident what kind of hole Ramirez leaves in the lineup when not playing, particularly with some key elements in the middle of the order (David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, Pablo Sandoval) struggling against left-handers.

In the four games Ramirez did not not see an at-bat, the Red Sox hit .169 with a .575 OPS. Ramirez entered Sunday hitting .271 with a .910 OPS and 10 home runs.

“We’€™re here to win. It’€™s a long season and you’€™re going to have ups and downs,” he said. “When you get down you have to keep your head up, try and get out of hit and go from there. Things happen for a reason. I’€™m just trying to keep working and I’€™m happy to be on the field.”

Red Sox add Jackie Bradley, Steven Wright; option Allen Craig, Robbie Ross Jr.

05.10.15 at 10:08 am ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

TORONTO — In wake of the Red Sox‘ three-game losing streak, and seven of their last eight, they have attempted to shake things up.

Jackie Bradley has joined the team in Toronto for Sunday’s game, and Allen Craig has been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket (he did have options, which made the move possible).

Bradley was hitting .343 in 24 games with Pawtucket this season, while Craig was hitting just .135 in 52 at-bats. Craig will get everyday at-bats in Triple-A as the organization hopes to get him back to his days in St. Louis where he hit over .300 in three straight seasons.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright has also joined the team, with reliever Robbie Ross Jr. being optioned. Ross Jr. didn’t record an out Saturday, allowing three runs on four hits. Wright, who has a few years of major league experience, has an ERA of 3.66 in 11 games.

Before Sunday’s series finale, Red Sox manager John Farrell explained the moves.

“With Robbie we felt the need existed a couple times for some added length and that’€™s why Steven Wright is here to provide that,” Farrell said. “With three lefthanders in the bullpen we felt we like we could go back to a guy with a little bit more length in steven so the move was made there.

“With Allen, not an easy decision. I think more importantly when we sat and met at the outset of spring training we talked about focusing on spring training and getting him back to the best hitter he can be and reestablish his strengths and felt like we were able to get some momentum going. When spring training was coming to an end we knew the role was going to be different. We knew it was going to be more of a reserve role and how he best fit into getting his at-bats and try to maintain the momentum created in spring training that’€™s been a difficult thing for Allen. We set him out to try to get back on track and get more regular and consistent at-bats, not only for his own production but maybe get him into a situation where he can come back in here and help us. This is as much about Allen as it is about us and the current stretch we’€™re going through and felt like the best and and most clear path to get us back on track was to have every player hopefully preforming to the best of their abilities and for allen that means more regular at-bats at triple-a for the time being.”

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Read More: Allen Craig, jackie bradley, Robbie Ross Jr., steven wright

Sunday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. R.A. Dickey

05.10.15 at 9:24 am ET
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The Red Sox will wrap up a three-game series in Toronto with Clay Buchholz on the mound against R.A. Dickey and the Blue Jays.

Buchholz has had trouble maintaining consistency after his great start on Opening Day. In his last start, the 30-year-old went 6 1/3 innings against the Rays, allowing five runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out seven. He gave up two runs in each of the first two innings before settling in and not allowing Tampa Bay to score again until the seventh. In the second inning, Buchholz gave up a two-run home run to designated hitter Joey Butler. It was the first home run of Butler’s career. The loss dropped Buchholz’ record to 1-4.

“I felt like I settled in fairly decent,” Buchholz said after the game. “There were a lot of pitches I didn’t feel like I got the benefit of the doubt on on the strike zone, but you can’t let that affect you. There’s going to be a lot of times that’s the way you feel about it. For the most part I felt like I threw the ball well, the line doesn’t show for it and the loss is not good either.”

Buchholz takes his 6.03 ERA and 1.60 WHIP to face a Blue Jays lineup that has been one of the most productive in baseball to this point. In his last outing against Toronto, which came at Fenway Park in late April, he made it through just 2 2/3 innings and gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits and a walk while striking out four.

Through six outings, Buchholz has not been very fortunate in the run support department, as the Red Sox have been held to just one run in three of his starts.

In 13 career starts at the Rogers Centre, Buchholz is 8-3 with a 2.16 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP, 61 strikeouts and 33 walks.

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, R.A. Dickey, Red Sox,

Red Sox trade right-handed reliever Edward Mujica to Oakland A’s

05.09.15 at 11:31 pm ET
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Edward Mujica

Edward Mujica

The Red Sox on Saturday night announced that they’ve traded right-handed reliever Edward Mujica and cash to the A’s for a player to be named later, or cash.

Mujica was designated for assignment on Friday after a rough start to the season. In 11 appearances, Mujica went 1-1 with a 4.61 ERA. He allowed 15 hits and walked three while striking out eight in 13.2 innings.

Mujica never found his stride with the Red Sox after signing a two-year deal in December of 2013. In 75 games with the Red Sox, the former Cardinals All-Star went 3-5 with eight saves and a 4.03 ERA.

He also proved unreliable in late innings over each of the last two seasons, particularly at the start of each campaign. He opened this year as the interim closer with Koji Uehara on the disabled list, but the lasting memory of Mujica in a Red Sox uniform will likely be the game-tying solo homer he allowed against the Yankees with two outs in the ninth on April 10, opening the door for what became a 19-inning Red Sox victory.

That the A’s would acquire Mujica should come as no surprise. Oakland relievers have already lost nine games, dropping the A’s to last place in the AL West.

Red Sox officially hire Carl Willis as pitching coach

05.09.15 at 6:05 pm ET
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After about 24 hours of speculation, the Red Sox have officially hired Carl Willis as their new pitching coach after Juan Nieves was fired on Thursday.

Willis comes from the Columbus Clippers, the Indians’ Triple-A affiliate, although he does have plenty of major league experience. He was the Indians’ pitching coach from 2003-09 and the Mariners‘ pitching coach from 2010-12.

He was with Cleveland for the entirety of manager John Farrell‘€™s stint as the organization’€™s Director of Player Development from November 2001-2006 and rejoined the Indians as a special assistant to baseball operations in 2014.

Willis’ first day will be Sunday in Toronto.

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Closing Time: Joe Kelly’s walks costly as Red Sox lose to Blue Jays again

05.09.15 at 4:23 pm ET
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Joe Kelly walked seven batters Saturday. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Joe Kelly walked seven batters Saturday. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Believe it or not, the Red Sox got a bad performance out of their starting pitcher and lost.

Joe Kelly walked seven batters and allowed six earned runs in 5 2/3 innings of work as the Sox suffered a 7-1 loss to the Blue Jays Saturday at Rogers Centre. Saturday marked the fourth consecutive start in which Kelly allowed at least five runs.

The extent of the damage came in the bottom of the fourth inning, when, after Kelly walked Devon Travis and Josh Donaldson and then allowed a double-steal, he surrendered a three-run homer to Edwin Encarnacion.

Pitching wasn’€™t perfect for the Blue Jays either, but Boston didn’€™t take advantage. Starter Drew Hutchison gave up seven hits over five innings, but all the Sox had to show for it was a Dustin Pedroia RBI single following a Mookie Betts double in the fifth inning. Hutchison had six strikeouts on the day.

Hanley Ramirez returned for the Sox after missing the previous three games with a shoulder injury.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Toronto first baseman Edwin Encarnacion. The 32-year-old went 2-for-2 with a pair of walks, three RBI and a run scored. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– In addition to having difficulty throwing the ball for strikes, Kelly didn’€™t fare much better once the ball was in play, as Kelly was charged with an error in each of the first two innings. Kelly also allowed Jose Bautista to get to second thanks to a wild pitch in the first inning, but he’€™d have gotten there moments later anyway, as Kelly walked the batter he was working on at the time.

– The Red Sox got the leadoff man on base just twice on the day. Ramirez reached on an error to lead off the second, while Xander Bogaerts singled to begin the third. The rest of Boston’€™s hits came with at least one man out, contributing a performance from Hutchinson in which he allowed hits but was not burned.

– Mookie Betts, Pablo Sandoval and Xander Bogaerts were the only Red Sox starters to not strike out, but a couple of their teammates struck out often enough to make up for them. Allen Craig fanned three times, while Mike Napoli struck out twice.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

– Betts had a pair of hits on the day, extending his hit streak to seven games.

– Kelly got better as the day went on, but then again he had nowhere to go but up. After turning in a seven-pitch 1-2-3 fifth inning, Kelly quickly retired the first two batters in the sixth and was a strike away from a nine-pitching inning, but an infield single from Josh Donaldson ended his day with two down in the sixth. Donaldson would end up scoring, as Matt Barnes threw a wild pitch to advance him to second before yielding an RBI single to Bautista.

Hanley Ramirez returns to Red Sox lineup

05.09.15 at 12:17 pm ET
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Hanley Ramirez is back in the Red Sox‘€™ lineup for Saturday’€™s tilt against the Blue Jays. Ramirez is in left field and hitting cleanup after missing the last three games with a shoulder issue.

Boston’€™s lineup for Saturday is as follows:

1. Mookie Betts CF
2. Dustin Pedroia 2B
3. David Ortiz DH
4. Hanley Ramirez LF
5. Pablo Sandoval 3B
6. Mike Napoli 1B
7. Allen Craig RF
8. Xander Bogaerts SS
9. Blake Swihart C
Joe Kelly, RHP

Saturday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Joe Kelly vs. Drew Hutchison

05.09.15 at 7:28 am ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

With the Red Sox dropping a 7-0 decision to the Blue Jays on Friday night, the offense is in need of a kick-start going into Saturday afternoon’s matchup when Joe Kelly takes the mound for Boston against Drew Hutchison.

Kelly may be in need of a kick-start, too, as the righty is getting the ball for the first time since his 4 2/3-inning effort on Sunday vs. the Yankees when he allowed five earned runs on nine hits, pushing his season ERA to 5.72. The Sox were down 8-0 by the time they pieced together a five-run sixth inning, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit. The loss was Kelly’s first decision of that nature on the year, evening his record to 1-1 through five starts.

“By the time we started going to it it was probably a little bit too late,” Kelly said. “Obviously, we had given up all the runs. It was something I’m going to try to work on and try to get that offside going, even if it’s the first inning. I’ve got to show these guys all my pitches. It’s something I’ve got to do.”

Added Kelly: “From the get go, I put us in a bind, in a hole. I didn’t pitch good at all and never really gave this team a chance to win. That’s something that irritates me and something that I’m going to go out there and work on.”

In the start prior to the Yankees debacle, Kelly tossed six innings against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park on April 27. He gave up five earned runs and recorded 10 strikeouts to three walks, but nabbed a no-decision after the Sox walked off with a 6-5 win.

Career-wise, Kelly has a 5.25 ERA and a 1.083 WHIP opposite the Jays in two starts. In 12 innings, Toronto has hit .190/.292/.381 against him. His first start in 2014 resulted in two earned runs on three hits with four strikeouts and two walks, and he has surrendered just eight hits to the Blue Jays in 48 plate appearances, though half went for extra bases.

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Closing Time: Wade Miley, hitters can’t solve Red Sox’ problems in loss to Blue Jays

05.08.15 at 9:47 pm ET
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Wade Miley

Wade Miley

The shake-up didn’t work.

One day after the dismissal of pitching coach Juan Nieves, the Red Sox ran into the same old problems — getting behind early and not supplying any kind of offensive punch to catch up. This time the result was a 7-0 loss to the Blue Jays on Friday night at Rogers Centre.

The Red Sox now find themselves with just four wins in their last 15 games, dropping to 13-16. With another Yankees win, the Sox would reside 5 1/2 games out of first place.

Taking the loss for the Red Sox was starter Wade Miley, who drops to 1-4. The lefty allowed four runs on eight hits over six innings, striking out eight and walking one. His ERA now stands at 6.91.

But while Miley couldn’t shut down the Blue Jays, perhaps the biggest problem for the Red Sox was their continuing inability to hit with runners in scoring position. The Sox, who were playing without the suspended David Ortiz, went 0-for-7 in such situations. For the month, the Red Sox are 4-for-52 with runners in scoring position.

At game’s end, the Red Sox totaled five hitters in their lineup with a batting average of under .162, with only one batter living above .280.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Toronto starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez. While he walked somewhat of a tightrope, when you give up just two hits and no runs while going seven innings, that should be recognized. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

— With Josh Donaldson’s first-inning solo home run, the Red Sox have given up 31 runs in the opening frame. It ties them for most surrendered in the first with Cleveland. Another home run, this one coming from Chris Colabello in the second inning, put the Red Sox two-run hole early on.

— The Red Sox could never get to what was seemed like an erratic Sanchez. The big righty allowed a first-inning single to Dustin Pedroia, but didn’t allow another hit until Mookie Betts’ eighth-inning grounder between shortstop and third base.

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