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Red Sox lineup: Brock Holt in left field batting 9th vs. Jake Peavy, Giants

07.19.16 at 5:19 pm ET
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Brock Holt

Brock Holt

For just the fourth time all season, Brock Holt will be batting ninth for the Red Sox.

Holt will start in left field as the Red Sox go up against the Giants and former Red Sox right-hander Jake Peavy Tuesday night in the first of a two-game series.

For the Red Sox, Sandy Leon will catch Rick Porcello.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Travis Shaw, 3B
Sandy Leon, C
Brock Holt, LF
Rick Porcello, RHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

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Red Sox notes: Blake Swihart, Junichi Tazawa, Chris Young injury updates

07.19.16 at 5:10 pm ET
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Blake Swihart

Blake Swihart

Although the Red Sox are fairly healthy in terms of their core players, some of their role players are still working their way back from injuries.

Left fielder Blake Swihart continues to go through full baseball activities after suffering a severe ankle sprain back on June 4. Manager John Farrell said there is no set timetable on a rehab assignment, but the fact that he’s going through full baseball activities should mean that will be coming soon

Swihart was batting .258 in 19 major league games this season. Farrell said over the weekend it’s unclear if he will catch at all the rest of the season.

He also added utility infielder Josh Rutledge is in a similar spot, as he rehabs from a knee injury, but he might be delayed in coming back a bit because of being on the 60-day disabled list and when he’s eligible to come off of that.

Reliever Junichi Tazawa (shoulder) could return to the Red Sox roster by Friday, as he was placed on the disabled list (retroactive to July 4) last Thursday. The right-hander threw a simulated game on Tuesday and was able to throw all of his pitches.

The news isn’t as good for left fielder Chris Young as he hasn’t yet begun ground-based running as he works his way back from a groin strain, which saw him go on the disabled list on June 24.

Farrell acknowledged the MRI showed a bit more than a Grade 1 strain. He added the team has “to be careful” with his rehab.


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Red Sox minor leaguer Nick Longhi continues to live out childhood dream

07.19.16 at 11:44 am ET
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Nick Longhi

Nick Longhi

As sports fans, almost all of us fantasize of being a member of our favorite team. Red Sox fans imagine themselves hitting the go-ahead run over the Green Monster, Celtics fans visualize hitting the game-winning 3-pointer on the parquet floor, and so on. Of course, for most of us those dreams are far-fetched.

So we’re left to wonder; what does it feel like to get the chance to become a star for the team we grew up idolizing?

For an answer to that question, look no further than High-A Salem first baseman Nick Longhi, a Springfield native and lifelong Red Sox fan. Longhi, 20, may have moved to Florida as an infant, but he had no problem staying loyal to the stars of Fenway Park. He even remembers crying himself to sleep back in 2003 after Aaron Boone hit a walk-off home run off Tim Wakefield in Game 7 of the ALCS.

“It really wasn’t that difficult for me [to stay a Red Sox fan] because of the fact that I was brought up in that environment with my dad loving all Boston sports,” Longhi said. “And that’s something that we took an interest in. We bonded through sports my whole childhood and my whole life. Obviously, as a kid, that’s the team your dad roots for, that’s who you want to win, too.”

Not only has Longhi dreamed of becoming a Boston legend, he is moving closer and closer to his goal every day. Through Monday, Boston’s No. 15 prospect at MLB.com is slashing .290/.360/.398 in 84 games. His 56 RBIs are sixth best in the Carolina League, and he ranks second among current Salem batters in batting average. He’s collected 24 multi-hit games this year and continues to enhance his game after batting .330 with Lowell in 2014 and notching 62 RBIs in 115 games with Greenville last season.

Although Longhi’s home run numbers are down — he currently has two home runs after totaling seven last year — Salem manager Joe Oliver believes the drop-off is normal.

“I think his power will eventually evolve,” Oliver said. “Playing at Salem typically knocks down a lot of guys power numbers just because they’re playing so big. This hasn’t been a good season for his home runs, but he’s definitely showing clutch hitting, driving in quite a few runs.”

Drafted by the Red Sox in 2013, Longhi now has been a member of the Red Sox organization for four years, working his way up from the Gulf Coast League to the Carolina League. Longhi currently is thriving, but he came dangerously close to passing by an opportunity most of us can only dream about.

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Tuesday Red Sox Farm Report: Yoan Moncada homers twice for Portland; Michael Kopech fans 9 for Salem

07.19.16 at 9:36 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (50-46): L, 7-5, at Toledo (Tigers)

— The PawSox fell to Toledo despite totaling 13 hits, including four from Ryan LaMarre. The 27-year-old had three doubles in the game, the most two-baggers in a game from a Pawtucket batter in the last two years. He also had an RBI and two runs scored.

LaMarre, who is averaging .517 in his last eight games, also has safely reached base in the past 25 games. He is slashing .339/.410/.508 in 49 games with Pawtucket. His batting average leads the team.

— Right-hander William Cuevas received the loss, giving up six runs (five earned) on 11 hits, both season highs, in six innings. He did strike out five without walking a single batter. Monday’s game was the first loss for Cuevas since June 14. The 25-year-old is 6-4 with a 3.63 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. He leads all Pawtucket pitchers in innings pitched (96 2/3).

— Infielder Mike Miller went 3-for-4 with a walk. He now has hit safely in his last four games and in eight of his last 10. The 26-year-old is batting .257/.320/.311 in 61 games with both Pawtucket and Portland.

— Chris Dominguez drilled a solo home run in the third inning to score the game’s first run. It was his eighth homer of the season, good for second best on the team. Dominguez, 29, is averaging .371 in his last 10 outings and is hitting .243/.271/.446 this season.

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Tuesday’s Red Sox-Giants matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Jake Peavy

07.19.16 at 9:22 am ET
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The Red Sox will send Rick Porcello to the mound on Tuesday to kick off a two-game series against the Giants. He will be opposed by former Red Sox right-hander Jake Peavy.

Porcello has been quietly efficient for the Red Sox, recording an 11-2 record with a 3.66 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. His 11 wins are fourth best in the American League, and he has yet to lose a start at Fenway this season. He has won his last three starts, with his most recent victory coming against Tampa Bay on July 9. The right-hander gave up just one run on six hits in seven innings, striking out five and walking none in a 4-1 Red Sox win.

“There’s no question he feels comfortable on the mound here,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “His sinker works well here, and more than anything, his walk rate is at a career low. He’s doing a great job at limiting the overall baserunners.”

In three career starts vs. the Giants, Porcello is 1-1 with a 6.19 ERA. His last game against San Francisco was on June 7 of this season, when he let up three runs on five hits in six innings while striking out six in a 5-3 Red Sox win.

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Anderson Espinoza: ‘It was scary’ being traded from Red Sox to Padres

07.18.16 at 10:46 pm ET
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Anderson Espinoza

Anderson Espinoza

Being just 18 years old and in his first professional season, Anderson Espinoza was scared.

The right-hander had just been traded from the Red Sox to the Padres in exchange for All-Star pitcher Drew Pomeranz. All he had known professionally was the Red Sox and now he was on the other side of the country.

But, after fully realizing what happened, Espinoza is now taking the trade as a positive.

“It was scary because I didn’t know what was going on after I heard that,” Espinoza told reporters in Fort Wayne, Indiana through a translator, including Jessica Starbard with WANE. “What is going to happen to me now? After talking to my agent and my family and they said every change is for you to be better. It’s going to be better for your life and your career so I started feeling a little bit better with that and I started to get happy because I know this trade is going to be big for me and give me a big chance to be in the big leagues.”

Espinoza is now with the Fort Wayne TinCaps, the Class-A affiliate of the Padres. He will make his Padres debut on Wednesday night. With Single-A Greenville this year, Espinoza was 5-8 with a 4.38 ERA, while totaling 72 strikeouts in 76 innings. He was limited to 85-90 pitches per outing.

At just 18 years old, he was the Red Sox’ best pitching prospect and now is the best prospect in the Padres system according to Baseball America.

“I don’t think too much about that,” he said. “I just go out there and compete. I don’t read much like Instagram, Twitter, whatever they say about me. I know I am good. I am just happy to know that I am very good. Whenever I pitch I don’t think about it.”

Ironically, Pomeranz will make his Red Sox debut Wednesday night as well.

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Angels claim infielder Sean Coyle off waivers from Red Sox, hope history can repeat itself

07.18.16 at 3:19 pm ET
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Sean Coyle

Sean Coyle

The Angels claimed infielder Sean Coyle on waivers from the Red Sox on Monday, hoping perhaps lightning can strike again 16 years later.

In 2000, the Red Sox placed infielder David Eckstein on waivers to add WEEI’s own Lou Merloni to the roster. The Angels scooped up the diminutive Eckstein, and a year later he finished fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting before embarking on a successful 10-year career that included two All-Star Games with the Cardinals and two World Series titles — one with the Angels in 2002 and another with the Cards that saw Eckstein named World Series MVP in 2006.

Listed at just 5-foot-6 and 170 pounds, Eckstein overcame size limitations to carve out a nice career. Coyle hopes to do the same. Generously listed at 5-8, 175, Coyle broke out at Double-A Portland in 2014, mashing 16 homers and compiling an .883 OPS.

He has struggled since, however, and hit just .125 at Triple-A Pawtucket this year. The 24-year-old was designated for assignment last week to make room for utilityman Michal Martinez on the 40-man roster.

The odds of Coyle’s career following in the footsteps of Eckstein’s may be low, but the Angels felt he was a worthy gamble to stash at Triple-A, particularly since they lack middle infield depth.

Jon Heyman of the MLB Network was the first to report the move.

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The case for Andrew Benintendi, Yoan Moncada playing October baseball

07.18.16 at 9:36 am ET
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Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

Carson Fullmer pitched for the White Sox Sunday. Why should you care?

Well, Fulmer was taken exactly one spot behind where the Red Sox selected Andrew Benintendi in the 2015 draft. This doesn’t mean by any means the Sox outfield prospect should immediately be rushed to the majors to keep pace, but it is another reminder that Benintendi’s time might not be far away.

Right now, Benintendi is doing his thing in Double-A Portland. After a slow start, he has seen his batting average and OPS climb to .277 and .819, respectively. Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski already suggested last month every aspect of the 22-year-old’s game is major league ready with the exception of his offense.

And now, with the jump in offensive acumen, the front office’s acceptance for Benintendi to help at the major league level might be growing.

“He’s making steady progress in Double-A,” said Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen. ” The consistency of his at-bats day in and day out have gotten better and better and better. There’s usually a transition to every level. Again, that’s why you’re not banking on that performance. You’re not counting on offensive performance, but you’re hoping they can do those other things.”

As we sit here, there wouldn’t seem to be an overriding need for outfield help at the major league level, particularly with Brock Holt coming back to serve as the left-handed-hitting complement in left field. And it appears as though Blake Swihart might be on the verge of making some rehab assignment appearances while returning from his ankle injury.

But there’s still a ways to go.

Jacoby Ellsbury in 2007. Xander Bogaerts six years later. Few thought at this time of year either would be playing pivotal roles in the Red Sox’ October runs, but there they were.

Ellsbury didn’t find his way onto the big league roster back in ’07 for more than a few days until September call-ups in ’07, while Bogaerts’ first introduction to the bigs came on Aug. 20, 2013. By the time the World Series came around in each of those seasons, both players found themselves as starters.

In ’07, Ellsbury started his season with 17 games at Double-A before playing 87 games with the Pawtucket Red Sox. Bogaerts began 2013 by playing in 56 games with Portland before his 60-game stint in Triple-A

“Once we send him to Triple A you’re not always saying he’s going to be a completely finished product by the time he has to go to the major leagues,” said Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen. “You’re hoping you’ve built in enough depth that you’re not forced into a decision, but you have to have some understanding that it could end up that way. So you have to be comfortable with that when you send a guy to Triple-A.

“You don’t assume, especially on the offensive side, there is going to be a contribution. You want them to be able to go up and pick up the ball, run the bases very well and contribute any way. You’re not banking on any time of offensive performance. And most of our lineups that we’ve had, and this one would be the same way, it’s not like this player would have to carry an offensive load. You want them to be a productive hitter, a productive member of the lineup, but more than anything else you want them to play really good defense, be able to run the bases and do what the manager and the team needs them to do to contribute. So those are the bigger factors. Everybody focuses on the offense because they want the players to come up and hit right away, but that’s not usually the way it works.”

Then there is the notion that Triple-A wouldn’t be needed, a scenario Dombrowski recently hinted at. It’s a progression the Red Sox have executed before when calling up outfielder Josh Reddick at the end of July in 2009, while having also allowed Jackie Bradley Jr. to start the 2013 season in the majors without any Triple-A experience.

While the players making such a move can have immediate success due to the lack of scouting reports, or an existence at the bottom of the batting order, there is also the flip-side. The ability for the player to overcome the eventual adversity they will face when jumping two levels is always a concern.

“That’s a risk you’re taking,” Hazen said. “If they’re good enough players they will figure it out. You’re never going to be 100 percent certain.”

The case for Benintendi being called upon to contribute during the pennant drive (and possibly beyond) hinges on injuries to Holt and/or Swihart, or one of the infielders, which would necessitate Holt moving into more of a utility role. Or perhaps the production at the position from the left side dips so dramatically, like it did when the doors opened for Ellsbury and Bogaerts, Benintendi is deemed the club’s best option.

There is also a scenario that could put Benintendi’s Double-A teammate, Yoan Moncada, in the mix for meaningful big league action when it counts the most. Except the case for the second baseman is slightly different than his Sea Dog brethren.

One of the staples for recent Red Sox postseason teams is to carry a designated pinch-runner. Consider it the Dave Roberts/Quintin Berry spot. Right now, Michael Martinez would fill that role, but considering he has just four stolen bases in his 237 big league games, there would seemingly be a need for an upgrade.

In 162 minor league games, Moncada has stole 92 bases in 104 chances. That would seem to be a pretty lethal weapon come the postseason.

With crunch-time on the Red Sox’ doorstep, and a legitimate pennant race upon us, it’s all something certainly to think about.

Red Sox GM Mike Hazen: Still no immediate plans to switch Yoan Moncada’s position

07.18.16 at 8:42 am ET
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Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

A position switch for Yoan Moncada certainly seems inevitable, but according to Red Sox general manager Mike Hazen no such move is imminent.

“No,” said Hazen when asked if the Red Sox on the verge of introducing another position to the 21-year-old second baseman. “We want him to get comfortable at second base. He’s showing very well at second base right now. He’s developing at Double-A. We want him to go day in and day out, learn a position, master a position. We’ll tackle that as we need to.”

The timetable for Moncada moving off second base — a maneuver that would seem to be just a matter of time due to the prospect’s progression and Dustin Pedroia’s presence — is line with Hazen’s previously stated blueprint.

When asked in spring training how the organization approached such a move, the GM said, “”No. 1, we have to make sure the base position is always taken care of first. So we won’t just rush into a decision to move a guy around until the base position is in a good spot. So wherever that primary spot is, we usually like to take care of that first, and if that comes along the way we like it to, great. Sometimes that happens in Double-A and sometimes that happens in Triple-A. When we get to that point, that’s where we more start exploring the opportunity to be exposed to different places.

“We’re taking care of the base position. You need to be a good defender at the major league level. One of the downsides of switching positions is that if you end up being mediocre at multiple positions that doesn’t fly that great with the major league staff, who want proficiency. So we need to make sure that base position is proficient. And usually at the lower minors, in Double-A, we’re still working on those things. So for a young kid especially who has limited reps, we want to make sure that that base position is taken care of.”

At this point, the Red Sox may be looking to cover themselves at second base if anything were to happen to Pedroia over an extended period of time. But even if such a scenario took place, the likelihood would be that the club initially utilizes Aaron Hill and/or Marco Hernandez at the position.

For now, Moncada’s most likely path to seeing major league time this season may simple be as a September call-up, getting the opportunity to help the club with his base-stealing acumen. (The switch-hitter is 43 for 52 in stolen base attempts this season.)

Offensively, Moncada is hinting he might not be far from being major-league ready.

With Double-A Portland, he is hitting .325 with five homers, seven stolen bases and a 1.039 OPS in 20 games. In his last four games Moncada has reached base 11 times in 18 plate appearances, drawing a pair of walks in each contest.

All of this after garnering MVP honors for the Futures Game in San Diego during the All-Star Game festivities.

Monday Red Sox Farm Report: Roenis Elias has scoreless outing with Pawtucket; Jose Sermo hits walk-off double for Salem

07.18.16 at 8:31 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system Sunday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (50-45): W, 6-0, vs. Charlotte (White Sox)

— In Pawtucket’s third straight win, Roenis Elias threw 6 2/3 innings of scoreless ball, letting up only two hits while striking out four. The southpaw didn’t allow a hit until the end of the fourth inning.

“His effort level was under control and his breaking ball was really good today,” PawSox manager Kevin Boles told MiLB.com. “He got those guys swinging early.”

Elias, 27, is 7-1 in his last 10 starts, pitching at least five innings in all of those appearances. He is 7-4 with a 3.90 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 15 minor league outings this season. His 76 strikeouts rank second among Pawtucket pitchers.

— Marco Hernandez did more than enough on offense to secure the win for Pawtucket, going 1-for-4 with a season-high four RBIs. His second home run of the year came in the third inning, driving in three. He also drove in a run with a ground out in the opening frame.

The 23-year-old infielder has hit safely in his last three games and is slashing .315/.362/.444 this season. He ist third on current PawSox in RBIs.

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