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Wednesday’s Red Sox-White Sox matchups: Rick Porcello vs. Chris Sale

08.26.15 at 8:03 am ET
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Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello will duel with former AL Central foe Chris Sale and the White Sox on Wednesday when the Red Sox close out their three-game series at U.S. Cellular Field.

Porcello will make his first start since hitting the DL on Aug. 2 with a triceps strain. Certainly, he and the Red Sox hope that his time away helped his psyche.

The right-hander has had anything but a smooth season in the wake of signing a four-year, $82.5 million contract extension. He’s gone 5-11 with a 5.81 ERA, the worst mark among AL starters with more than 100 innings pitched. He’s giving up home runs at the worst rate of his career (1.6 HR/9) and he’s accumulated a -0.6 WAR.

In his last start before heading to the DL on July 29, Porcello was roughed up by the White Sox. He lasted just two innings, giving up 10 hits and six runs before getting the pull from manager John Farrell. Porcello gave up two long balls in the game, his eighth multi-homer start of the season. After the game, he did not have a glowing review of his performance.

“Some of the mechanical issues that I’ve had in the past this year kind of came back tonight,” Porcello said. “You get out there in the heat of the moment and all you’€™re thinking about is competing and doing whatever you can do to get out of that situation.”

“I had a bad game,” Porcello added. “I elevated some pitches, fell behind some guys, [had] a couple walks, put some runners on base [which] put me in some tough spots and I didn’t recover.”

Porcello has had limited success against the White Sox in the past, as he owns a 9-8 record and a 4.32 ERA against Chicago. White Sox hitters have had his number, posting a .357/.390/.593 slash line in his 20 starts against them.

Porcello draws one of the toughest matchups in the game in Sale, who’s picked up right where he left off in 2014, when he went 12-4 with a 2.17 ERA.

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Dave O’Brien talks new role with NESN: ‘I’m kind of in a state of shock’

08.26.15 at 2:38 am ET
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Dave O'Brien

Dave O’Brien

CHICAGO — With the announcement that he would be joining Jerry Remy in the NESN broadcast booth for the 2016 season — leaving the Red Sox radio broadcast — Dave O’Brien revealed the most difficult part of his decision to move back to television.

It was parting ways with his radio partner, Joe Castiglione.

“Well, he’s the best guy I know. He’s the best guy you know,” O’Brien said following the Red Sox‘ 5-4 loss to the White Sox on Tuesday night. “We know that he’s a great announcer and he’s a better human being, which I don’t say about everything. I wouldn’t say that about me, but I’ll say it about Joe Castiglione because he’s a Hall of Famer in every sense. It’s been the single most difficult part of this for me, knowing I’m not going to sit next to Joe anymore. Now, I get to sit next to Jerry Remy and he’s a Hall of Famer, too. So I don’t lose out in that sense. I’ll just tell you my relationship with Joe the last nine years has been a privilege for me.”

O’Brien detailed his new job, confirming that he would still be calling basketball games for ESPN during the offseason, along with occasional MLB games for the network during Red Sox off days.

The New Hampshire native, who replaces Don Orsillo as Remy’s partner, will also call some spring training games for NESN.

“It’s very exciting for me personally because in this situation to be able to continue to do the Red Sox, which has been a dream of mine,” O’Brien said. “I’m just so fortunate that both sides of this equation, it worked out as well as it did. And so many things had to happen. From my great folks at ESPN, to my new employers at NESN and the Red Sox were all involved in this. It’s kind of amazing how it all turned out. I didn’t expect it. I didn’t anticipate that happening at all, so I’m kind of in a state of shock.”

O’Brien has been calling games on the WEEI Red Sox Radio Network for the last nine seasons, having also done play-by-play for the Braves, Marlins and Mets.

Jerry Remy offers thoughts regarding Don Orsillo moving on

08.26.15 at 12:06 am ET
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Jerry Remy

Jerry Remy

CHICAGO — Following the Red Sox‘ 5-4 loss to the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, Jerry Remy took a few minutes to reflect on the news that his longtime NESN Red Sox broadcast partner, Don Orsillo, would not be brought back for the 2016 season.

“For the last 15 years it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with Don,” an emotional Remy told a small group of reporters immediately after the broadcast. “I can remember him sitting in the booth when the job became available. He was asking me if there was any chance he could probably get it. I said a few things to a few people and he did get it. He’s been an outstanding partner for 15 years and I’m truly going to miss him — on a work-related side, and I’m going to miss him on a personal side because he’s also become a very, very close friend of mine. I know that he’s going to land on his feet and he’s going to be in great shape. I’m sure they’re going to be lining up for his services, I really mean that. He’s terrific at what he does. He’s been absolutely fabulous to work with. I love him. He’s going to do just fine. I’m not worried about that part of it.”

Remy said he was surprised when he first heard the news that Orsillo might be moving on, adding, “I’ve gone through a lot of different people. It’s never easy. You get close to people. You just feel for them.”

Just prior to Remy’s statement, Orsillo politely declined comment before leaving premises.

The day was clearly an emotional one for both broadcast partners, with news of Orsillo’s dismissal first surfacing on the Dennis and Callahan Show Tuesday morning.

“It’s been awfully difficult on him. It really has,” said Remy, who is slated to work with newly hired Dave O’Brien, a current member of the Red Sox radio broadcast team. “It’s difficult on everybody. You get used to somebody and you’re friends and you work together for such a long time, you have such a good time doing your job and it’s over. I’ve been very fortunate because I’ve worked with a lot of good people and he’s right at the top of the list.”

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Closing Time: Wade Miley eventually falters, Hanley Ramirez messes up again as Red Sox fall to White Sox

08.25.15 at 11:13 pm ET
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Wade Miley

Wade Miley

Wade Miley allowed just two earned runs over six innings Tuesday night against the White Sox.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, Wade Miley threw 6 2/3 innings on Tuesday.

The White Sox got to Miley for three runs in the bottom of the seventh, erasing Boston’s two-run lead and jumping ahead on a double from Trayce Thompson that was largely due to Hanley Ramirez‘s latest adventure in left field. Thompson’s double ended Miley’s night and gave him the loss in a 5-4 victory for the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

Ramirez failed to field the line drive into left field, missing the ball and letting it bounce to the wall as Chicago runners advanced. Though he made news earlier Tuesday by doing first-base fielding work prior to the game, Ramirez made no news at the plate Tuesday. He was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

Though Miley managed to keep Chicago off the scoreboard for the most part over his first six innings, he surrendered at least one hit to every White Sox starter and 13 — the most he’s allowed in a start in his career — in total. Miley struck out three and walked one.

Thompson did the most damage against Miley on the night, as he was actually the only Chicago hitter to get an extra-base hit on a night that saw Miley allow 11 singles. The 24-year-old led the way for the home team with three RBIs.

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David Ortiz: Hanley Ramirez has gotten a bad rap

08.25.15 at 9:46 pm ET
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CHICAGO — So, Hanley Ramirez is ready to begin his new life as a soon-to-be first baseman. He has started his workouts with infield coach Brian Butterfield, while saying all the right things when it comes to the new venture.

Ramirez has seemingly answered the first question when it comes to making the transition from outfield back to infield: would he be invested in the venture?

David Ortiz, who accompanied Ramirez in his early afternoon drill work with Butterfield, said the acceptance should come as a surprise.

“Hanley has a good attitude about everything,” Ortiz said. “It sucks that people are criticizing him, a guy who is trying to learn a new position. People always want to talk about being selfish, but I don’€™t think people know what they’€™re talking about when they talk about that because the guy gave up on his position that he’€™s good at. When he plays another position, that means he’€™s not selfish. I guess he’€™s going to give it a try somewhere else.”

Ortiz believes the transition for Ramirez won’t be nearly as challenging as what he faced when he tried his hand at left field for the first time this season.

“It’€™s not like playing in the outfield, I can tell you that,” the Red Sox designated hitter said. “Playing in the outfield is more difficult than what people think it is. You have to be super athletic. It’€™s a challenge, a big challenge. People probably think it’€™s easier to play out there than it is in the infield. There’€™s not a position that is easy to play because the minute you screw up, you screw up. There’€™s not turning back. Hanley is athletic and that’€™s why he decided to go back out there and give it a try. People have to understand this is a guy who didn’€™t play outfield before. Playing left field at Fenway is one of the toughest positions because that Green Monster is tough to read.

“He has taken the criticism, but don’€™t forget he hasn’€™t played outfield before.”

During the 15-minute workout, which included wearing interim manager Torey Lovullo’s first base glove and was followed by another ground ball session during batting practice, Ortiz did offer some advice about playing the position.

“It’€™s footwork,” the 39-year-old said. “He’€™s been an infielder his whole career so the most important thing about first base is how your footwork is going to be around the bag. When you go to the fundamentals, you just need to know where you’€™re going to be in certain situations. I don’€™t think he will have the issues he had in the outfield playing first base.”

Hanley Ramirez: ‘I think with me at first, we’re going to have a better team’

08.25.15 at 6:10 pm ET
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If you expected Hanley Ramirez to resist playing first base — surprise! He’s completely on board.

“I think with me at first, we’re going to have a better team on the field, competing every day,” Ramirez said on Tuesday in Chicago after working out at first before a game against the White Sox.

The turnabout certainly comes as a shock given the team’s reluctance as recently as a week ago to even work out Ramirez at first this season. But the arrival of Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations and the departure of general manager Ben Cherington apparently contributed to Ramirez’s change of heart.

Also, it’s hard to argue how much better the Red Sox have been in all phases with Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Rusney Castillo covering a lot of ground in the outfield.

“We’ve got a guy out there, he’s trying to put the best pieces on the field,” Ramirez said. “He was like, ‘If you put this guy over here and put this guy in left field, how would the team look?’ And I was thinking about that, too. I was thinking, ‘Yeah, we’re a way better team with me on first and with Jackie and Mookie and Casty on the field.’ Hopefully, we can do it and they can keep doing what they’re doing — playing great outfield and keep hitting, because we’re going to need that.”

Ramirez is confident he can make a better transition to first then he has to left, and he was giddily upbeat while joking with reporters on Tuesday.

“I’m blessed. I can play anywhere,” he said. “I can hit anywhere. I’m really happy that I can do that for a team. I can play first, second, third, short, left, center, right field, I can catch. I can lead off, be second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th. And if the game’s one-sided, I can pitch. I’m really blessed.”

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Hanley Ramirez works out at first base before Red Sox game with coach Brian Butterfield

08.25.15 at 5:47 pm ET
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Hanley Ramirez took his first tentative steps at first base on Tuesday afternoon.

Hours before the Red Sox prepared to play the White Sox in Chicago, Ramirez donned a first baseman’s mitt and spent time with infield instructor Brian Butterfield and DH David Ortiz, getting an introduction to a position many expect Ramirez may end up playing next year, if he’s still in Boston.

Butterfield stressed the introductory nature of the workout, which was more about instruction than anything else.

“Not a lot today,” Butterfield said. “Just the basics of getting from the position and getting to an anchor at the base, just basic elementary things. Getting his feet around the base so he can get to an anchor, we talked about adjusting to throws. Not a lot of drillwork involved, just a lot of talk. David was out there with me and he was very helpful. He’s a very good student of first base.”

Ramirez, who signed a four-year, $88 million contract this winter, has not worked out in left field at all, leading for calls to move him to first, which the Red Sox initially resisted. But their tune finally changed on Tuesday, even if there’s no timetable on when he might see game action there, if at all.

“We did just a little bit of drillwork, with the lead foot, taking the lead foot to the ball,” Butterfield said. “This game is played with your eyes. Everything is going to be very short order, very incremental. We’re not in a hurry. I don’€™t even know what the plans are, what the timeline is. He’s going to learn a little bit of something over the next month, anyway, about the prerequisites of playing first base. It was more of a chalk talk than anything.”

Ramirez, 31, is a lifelong infielder who rates as one of the worst defenders in the game, at any position, in left this year.

(Rob Bradford contributed to this report from Chicago)

Kevin Millar on M&F: ‘[Dave Dombrowski] brings a presence’ to Red Sox organization

08.25.15 at 12:41 pm ET
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Kevin Millar

Kevin Millar

Former Red Sox first baseman and current MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar joined Middays with Merloni & Fauria on Tuesday to talk about the latest with the Red Sox. To hear the full interview, head to the Middays with Merloni & Fauria audio on demand page.

Following the Dave Dombrowski hire, Millar believes the Red Sox will be better off with a long-time baseball executive leading the way.

“He brings a presence,” Millar said. “He’s been doing this for 29 years as a general manager. Talking with him last night, he’s here, he gets the chance to be around the club … he’s going to ask questions, he wants to learn the town, he wants to learn the city. But now you know who the point man is. … There’s a lot of work, there’s a lot of meetings he’s going to have to go through — all the way to the scouting directors to the food and beverage directors to whoever he wants to see — he’s going to sit down and learn. But this man’s done it for 30 years so there’s going to be that presence and that leadership.

“You need to fear somebody in this game. Salaries dictate a lot because players make so much money these days and they don’t fear anybody, so you try to create this culture and the way to get that culture back and that discipline. So I think Dave Dombrowski is going to come in here with a plethora of knowledge and good ideas.”

With Dombrowski being president of baseball operations, he will have the final say in all Red Sox decision matters.

“Yes, he’s got enough experience,” Millar said. “… You know Dave Dombrowski had a plethora of other jobs, this wasn’t rocket science. He does some great things wherever he’s gone so he came here, and I’m sure he’s got some pull to make his decisions and why wouldn’t he? You don’t do this for 29 years and then come here and have to go down the totem pole. He’s got a relationship with John Henry. … You’re bringing in a veteran, which is basically what you got. You went out and got a veteran in the front office, not on the field.”

Coming off Rusney Castillo’s five-RBI day, Millar presented his opinion on how the Red Sox should manage their athletic, young outfield going forward.

“Jackie Bradley Jr. throws the baseball as well as I’ve ever seen in this game,” Millar said. “… He’s had some success now the last few weeks. You’re starting to hopefully see that Jackie Bradley Jr. is not the guy that’s going to hit three home runs and drive in eight RBIs every game, but he’s also not a .180 hitter. I like him. He plays all three positions. He’s a great center fielder. Mookie Betts is a great athlete that’s going to keep getting better and better and better with baseball instincts, because he’s a tremendous athlete. And then Castillo — we haven’t seen him play. So you’re starting to get a chance to see the power. He’s big and he’s strong. You see the thunder off his bat. And I think you need to get the at-bats to see what you’ve got in him. You gave him $70-plus million at 27 years old, let’s go see.

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Clay Buchholz: Pitching this season not driven by contract issue

08.25.15 at 12:27 pm ET
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CHICAGO — On a team full of uncertainty, Clay Buchholz’ future with the team continues to be one of the most undefined issues.

The Red Sox pitcher, who continues to recover from a right elbow injury, still doesn’t know if he will pitch this season. Per the advice of Dr. James Andrews, Buchholz will begin his throwing program Sept. 2 and see where that leads him heading toward the Red Sox’ final regular season game Oct. 4.

But no matter what transpires over that time, Buchholz is confident that he doesn’t need to pitch this season in order to prove his worth for either the Sox or other teams in regards to next year.

Buchholz has a $13 million team option for 2016 that new Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has to make a call after this season.

“I’ve been assured by a couple of different doctors that if the Red Sox or any other team needed any kind of word on how they should view it they would definitely call and talk to whomever they need to talk to just to reassure I’m 100 percent healthy even without throwing,” the righty told WEEI.com. “Time is the best doctor for this sort of thing from the information I gathered from Dr. Andrews. What I’m looking to do is just start playing catch.”

Buchholz did admit that there is an increased sense of uncertainty due to the change in decision-makers, considering his long relationship with former general manager Ben Cherington.

“I haven’t talked to anybody,” Buchholz said when asked about his ’16 option. “I think it would have been easier to talk to Ben about this situation because I’ve been around Ben for 10 years. Obviously, Dave is well known in his craft and he’s really good at what he does. I’m not sure what his outlook on priorities are. It’s not like there’s loyalty from him to me, so that’s one of the situation that is a little different than it was.”

For more on Buchholz, including addition comments from the pitcher, click here.

Fans can participate in Ice Bucket Challenge with Red Sox players via auction

08.25.15 at 11:59 am ET
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The Ice Bucket Challenge is taking the nation by storm again this August with Major League Baseball playing a major part with every team in the league participating.

It will conclude Aug. 31 with David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts and Brock Holt expected to take part by pouring ice on fans on the field at Fenway Park. Fans can get the opportunity by winning an online auction.

In addition to getting soaked on the field, winners will receive the spring training jerseys that Red Sox players wore on March 3 to honor Pete Frates, the Boston College baseball star and pioneer of the Ice Bucket Challenge. Winners also receive two tickets to the game against the Yankees that night, along with a professional photo commemorating the experience.

“€œWe’€™re honored to be associated with the Frates family and to have the opportunity to help bring attention to this devastating disease,” said Adam Grossman, Red Sox, SVP of Marketing and Brand Development. “What Pete and Pat have accomplished through the ice bucket challenge initiative — raising global awareness and much needed funds to support critical research ‘€“ is nothing short of amazing and we’€™re proud to be part of this movement.”

Fans can submit their bids at www.redsox.com/ALS. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the ALS Association.

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