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Dave Dombrowski all in on getting starting pitcher(s) for Red Sox

07.10.16 at 8:08 am ET
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Dave Dombrowski

Dave Dombrowski

And then there was one … position, that is.

After the acquisition of reliever Brad Ziegler, Dave Dombrowski made it very clear where his priorities reside when it comes to the Red Sox’ next acquisition.

“I mean, it’s no secret we’re looking for a starting pitcher,” said the Sox’ president of baseball operations Saturday. “I have no idea that somebody may call me this afternoon out of the blue. I can tell you that we don’t have anything that’s sitting right there prepared to make a deal, but I said the same thing about the reliever and the other moves that we made. Somebody may pick up the phone and say today’s the day they want to go, and I have to be ready.”

It’s one thing to be looking, however, and it’s another to actually reel in the kind of starter the Red Sox are hoping for.

As Dombrowski pointed out, this year is a far cry from a season ago when the market was flush with available pitchers, many of whom were playing on the final season of their contract. This July, the list of starters who will be eligible for free agency at the conclusion of the season pretty much begins and ends with Oakland’s Rich Hill and San Diego’s Andrew Cashner.

But considering the Red Sox have quite a bit of uncertainty after the trio of David Price, Steven Wright and Rick Porcello, the need for somebody is evident.

“I think we really need somebody — that’s why I keep saying, ‘We don’t really need a No. 1 starter,'” Dombrowski said. “We’d love to have a No. 1 starter. We’ve got our three guys that have been pitching very consistently. I’m hoping that somebody that we still have will take a step up and do well. They have the ability to do so. But if we can get an effective six innings, seven innings to get to our bullpen, that would be great. We’ve just really struggled with the fourth and fifth spot, getting that done on a consistent basis. I’m not ruling it out because I think we have the abilities to do it, but we just haven’t been able to do it.”

And as for how many starters the Red Sox might need, Dombrowski added, “You’ve got to start with one. I hope we get one. It’s not an easy starting pitching market out there. There’s a lot of clubs looking for starting pitching, and there’s not a lot of starting pitchers out there. You can get starting pitching. I assure you I could pick up the phone here and say here, call, and you can get a starting pitcher. But is it a starting pitcher that helps you? That’s sort of the key there.”

The biggest roadblock to acquiring the pitcher the Red Sox desire appears to be the asking price of the other teams, with top prospects Andrew Benintendi and Yoan Moncada seemingly always being surfaced by the Sox’ potential trade partners.

Dombrowski, however, seems intent on staying away from putting a sizable dent in the Red Sox’ farm system. Thus far, he has managed to acquire two very useful players in Ziegler and infielder Aaron Hill without allocating any minor leaguers who would seem to have a future with the Sox at the major league level.

“The names we don’t want to trade always seem to start the conversation,” he said. “And it’s early enough. People know there’s a limited starting pitching market, and again that could change. Clubs could fall out of it or somebody else could get back in and that changes. That’s what makes this time of year so interesting and that’s why you have to be prepared. It’s a common thread of the same names that seem to be coming up. But they have come up in every conversation we have, and then you try to get realistic and move from there.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell: Koji Uehara is our closer

07.09.16 at 8:01 pm ET
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Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara will be back to closing game for the Red Sox — at least while Craig Kimbrel is out.

Following Saturday’s game against the Rays, manager John Farrell declared Uehara the team’s closer while Kimbrel is sidelined with a left knee injury.

“Koji is our closer,” Farrell said. “In days when he’s not going to be available we’ve got Brad [Ziegler] to turn to, but again, we’ve added a quality late-inning reliever. We’ll have a chance to outline this more specifically to Brad when we meet face-to-face, but in a conversation early this morning after their game on the West Coast that was briefly talked about. I think it’s important to maintain some consistency late in the game and that is where Koji is going to serve as our closer.”

Uehara has picked up saves each of the last two games and obviously has history closing games with the Red Sox. Farrell said earlier in the day, Uehara might be most comfortable when he’s in the closer’s role, but Uehara himself said it doesn’t matter.

“I can’t really say,” he said through a translator. “Doesn’t really matter with me. I have to get the results no matter what kind of innings I pitch in.”

Uehara served as the Red Sox’ closer from 2013-2015 until the Red Sox signed Kimbrel this offseason. The 41-year-old has 65 saves as a member of the Red Sox.

The newly acquired Ziegler has experience both as a closer and a set-up man. In 36 appearances this year with Arizona he went 2-3 with a 2.82 ERA and 18 saves. He will be active Sunday and with Uehara pitching each of the last two games, it would seem Ziegler would be in there in a potential save situation.

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

Read More: Brad Ziegler, Koji Uehara,

RHP Sean O’Sullivan (knee tendinitis) to go on 15-day disabled list upon activation of RHP Brad Ziegler

07.09.16 at 7:47 pm ET
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Sean O'Sullivan

Sean O’Sullivan

The Red Sox have another injured player.

Following Saturday’s game against the Rays, manager John Farrell announced right-hander Sean O’Sullivan will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with left knee tendinitis to make room on the roster for reliever Brad Ziegler, who was acquired Saturday from the Diamondbacks.

Ziegler will be active Sunday against the Rays.

O’Sullivan last pitched Friday night, but said he’s been dealing with the injury dating all the way back to last year. With the All-Star break beginning Monday, this could be seen as a way to minimize the time he has to miss.

“I think that’s probably a little bit of it,” O’Sullivan said. “It’s something I’ve been battling since last April. Went on the DL last year in Philly for something to do with my knee. Something I’ve been able to fight through, but it’s kind of been a process where after I throw it’s pretty sore. Then just kind of work to getting back to being game ready by Day 5. This last one was kind of tough, especially in that fourth and fifth inning. It got real hard to post up. It was my land leg. With the break and everything coming up I think they saw it as an opportunity to get my knee a chance to calm down. Hopefully we can move all the way past it and not let it effect anymore outings.”

In five games (four starts) this season O’Sullivan is 2-0 with a 6.75 ERA, but the Red Sox are 4-0 in games he starts.

Ziegler flew to Boston on Saturday, but did not make it in time for the game. He will work in a set up role to closer Koji Uehara with Craig Kimbrel out three to six weeks.

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

Read More: Brad Ziegler, Sean O'Sullivan,

Closing Time: Xander Bogaerts, Rick Porcello lead Red Sox over Rays

07.09.16 at 6:49 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts hit his 10th home run of the year as the Red Sox beat the Rays on Saturday. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Xander Bogaerts hit his 10th home run of the year as the Red Sox beat the Rays on Saturday. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox seem to be putting things back together again.

Saturday was a solid team win as they got a good performance from their starting pitcher, some timely hits and the bullpen did its job as the Red Sox beat the Rays 4-1.

They have now won three straight for the first time since May 31 and have won five out of their last six games overall.

Trailing 1-0 early, the Red Sox were able to rally as they took a 2-1 lead on one swing of the bat when Xander Bogaerts hit his 10th home run of the season — a two-run shot over the Green Monster in the fourth inning. The Sox added two more in the fifth when Dustin Pedroia ripped a two-RBI single to center field.

“He missed in the middle of the plate and I just put a good swing on it,” Bogaerts said. “If he puts the ball where he wants to that might not have happened, but it leaked over the middle.”
Bogaerts’ 10 home runs and 55 RBIs before the All-Star break are the most for a Red Sox shortstop since Nomar Garciaparra in 2003.

Rick Porcello closed out his first half of the season with another solid performance. The right-hander went seven innings, allowed one run on six hits, while not walking a batter and striking out five on 94 pitches. He ran into trouble in a few innings, but made a few big pitches to get out those jams.

“Anytime you can pitch deep in the game, keep runners off base and give our guys a chance to go to work at the plate it’s ideal,” Porcello said.

The right-hander improved to 8-0 over nine starts at Fenway Park this season. He is one of three major league pitchers to not have lost in any of their first nine home starts joining Chris Tillman and Stephen Strasburg.

With Junichi Tazawa unavailable, Matt Barnes threw a 1-2-3 eighth and Koji Uehara picked up his second save in as many days to close out the win.

Closing Time note

Porcello has gone at least five innings in 26 straight starts, the longest of his career and longest by a Red Sox pitcher since John Lackey went 39 games from 2013-14.

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

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Dustin Pedroia, mookie betts, rick porcello, xander bogaerts

Dave Dombrowski hints Andrew Benintendi might not be that far away from big leagues

07.09.16 at 5:00 pm ET
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Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

Just under two weeks ago, Dave Dombrowski sat in the visitors’ dugout in Globe Life Park suggesting Andrew Benintendi’s bat wasn’t quite ready for big league consideration. (To read the comments, click here.)

Judging by Dombrowski’s tone Saturday afternoon, along with Benintendi’s production of late, that line of thinking by be shifting.

The Red Sox president of baseball operations noted prior to his team’s game against the Rays that he wouldn’t hesitate at all to bring up a player (such as Benintendi) straight from Double-A, which is where the outfielder currently finds himself.

“He’s played very well,” Dombrowski said Benintendi, who entered Saturday hitting .288 with an .844 OPS with Portland. “But I wouldn’t get into individual cases. I’ve never felt that Triple-A is really a necessity with good players. I’ve jumped many guys from Double-A in my career. Usually if you do well at Double-A against that type of competition and show that you can perform. There’s some benefits to going to Triple-A. I don’t mean to downplay it. But I’ve had a lot of success throughout my career with guys going from Double-A to the big leagues.”

Dombrowski also touched on his philosophy when it came to the risk that comes with promoting a player while skipping the final level before the majors.

“I don’t think you can generalize that statement,” he said. “I’ve learned that young players, each one is their own individual that you have to deal with all of their makeup things they have. I’ve had some guys it makes no difference to and other guys where it can set them back. The point of being here and being overwhelmed at that time and having a hard time catching up to it and everything speeds up and making that adjustment. Usually your really good ones end up, if that happens, still doing fine. I do think you have to be very aware of the makeup and individual personalities of the players and see how you think they’ll deal with it, because everyone is different.”

The Red Sox don’t appear in any rush to alter their left field rotation, even with Brock Holt (ankle) presumably out until after the All-Star break.

It’s why Dombrowski noted that when it came to prioritizing needs heading into the non-waiver trade deadline, outfield wasn’t in the mix.

“I’m not really looking to do that,” he said in regards to trading for an outfielder. “At some point, Blake Swihart (ankle) is going to come back, too. We put him on the emergency disabled list and the timing for that makes sense. He was playing for us. Chris Young (hamstring) is coming back. Brock Holt looks like, when I went in there earlier, it looks like he doesn’t have to be on the disabled list. Bryce Brentz has done a nice job for us.

“That’s what’s always interesting for me in my job. There’s no perfect club. So once you end up filling the next need, then something else is your biggest need. So that’s happened to me forever. And that’s going to happen to me forever. That’s part of the job. But the reality is I think our offense is pretty good, so that’s not really a priority. We also have young kids coming. We’ve got a kid like Benintendi coming. I don’t know if it’s this year or next year, but you’re not looking to necessarily get a long-term guy out there because we’re pretty deep with those young outfielders.”

Red Sox lineup: Hanley Ramirez on bench to start vs. Rays

07.09.16 at 3:15 pm ET
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Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez

A night after leaving the game after fouling a pitch off his leg, Hanley Ramirez is out of the Red Sox lineup Saturday afternoon against the Rays.

Travis Shaw will return to the lineup after missing Friday and play first and Aaron Hill will get his second straight start at third base, as the Red Sox go up against Rays left-handed Matt Moore. Brock Holt is also out of the lineup, dealing with an ankle sprain also suffered in Friday’s game.

Sandy Leon will catch Red Sox starter Rick Porcello.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Aaron Hill, 3B
Travis Shaw, 1B
Bryce Brentz, LF
Sandy Leon, C
Rick Porcello, RHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Read More: Brock Holt, hanley ramirez, travis shaw,

Red Sox notes: Injury updates on Brock Holt, Hanley Ramirez, Junichi Tazawa

07.09.16 at 2:16 pm ET
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The Red Sox did get some good news on Brock Holt as his ankle injury doesn't appear to be serious. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox did get some good news on Brock Holt as his ankle injury doesn’t appear to be serious. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

There’s no question, the Red Sox are working through some injuries right now, but for most, the news is better than it is for Craig Kimbrel.

Brock Holt suffered a sprained ankle when he jammed his foot sliding into second base Friday night. He left the game and was in a walking boot afterwards, but the news was better on Saturday.

“Day-to-day,” manager John Farrell said. “He came in today better than we anticipated based on what took place on the field. He’s walking around a little bit more normally. I would doubt he’s going to be available in these two games before the break, but not to the point where we need to put him on the disabled list. The four days over the All-Star break are going to be good for a number of guys with these temporary types of situations physically. Brock is one of them.”

Holt has proven to be an integral part to the Red Sox this season as the team is 25-10 in games he starts this season.

Also leaving the game Friday night’s game was first baseman Hanley Ramirez after fouling a pitch off his leg. He was still limping on Saturday and thus not in the starting lineup, but Farrell said he would be available to pinch-hit.

Utility player Michael Martinez, who was acquired from the Indians on Friday is with the team and will be active for Saturday’s game. Marco Hernandez was sent back down to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room on the roster.

Also, added to the roster is Noe Ramirez. He will take the place of Kimbrel, but once Brad Ziegler arrives, it’s likely Ramirez goes back to Triple-A on Sunday.


— Junichi Tazawa is unavailable again on Saturday, but the Red Sox are hoping it isn’t a long-term thing.

“Based on the exam by our medical team, feel like yes, there is time needed,” Farrell said. “He’s going through some treatment. They haven’t indicated there’s the need for a MRI at this point. If that would change, we would certainly do that. We’re not at that point yet.”

— Brandon Workman, who left Friday’s rehab outing in Lowell, suffered a left oblique strain as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery.

“An unfortunate temporary injury on his part,” Farrell said.

Read More: Brock Holt, hanley ramirez, junichi tazawa,

Craig Kimbrel to miss 3-6 weeks with left knee medial meniscus tear

07.09.16 at 1:43 pm ET
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Craig Kimbrel is expected to miss 3-6 weeks. (Bob DiChiara/USA Today Sports)

Craig Kimbrel is expected to miss 3-6 weeks. (Bob DiChiara/USA Today Sports)

The news is not great for Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel.

Kimbrel suffered a left knee medial meniscus tear while shagging fly balls during batting practice prior to Friday’s game against the Rays. He will undergo surgery to repair cartilage in the knee on Monday and is expected to miss 3-6 weeks.

“Unfortunately, he’s going to be headed for a procedure here on Monday,” manager John Farrell said. “Pregame conditioning went fine. There was a change in direction during shagging BP, which was routine, normal. Felt some discomfort when he came off the field and the MRI last night indicated there was an injury to the meniscus in the left knee. We’ll know more after the procedure on Monday and the subsequent rehab that will follow.”

Added Farrell: “Honestly, this is an anomaly. What our players go through normally day in and day out traditionally in the game. We can’t put guys in bubbles and you get a little bit of a change in direction and this is what happens. Unfortunately in Craig’s case, we’re going to miss him for a little bit.”

Kimbrel was named to the American League All-Star team and is 1-3 with a 3.55 ERA and 17 saves this season. Farrell said there was no prior knee injury until what happened on Friday.

The Red Sox acquired closer Brad Ziegler from the Diamondbacks early Saturday morning. He is flying across the country and Saturday won’t make it to Boston in time for the game.

Until Kimbrel returns, he and Koji Uehara will share the closers role.

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

Read More: Craig Kimbrel,

Rich Hill talks MLB trade deadline, Red Sox offseason interest, lessons from Brian Bannister

07.09.16 at 11:01 am ET
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Rich Hill

Rich Hill

Rich Hill figures to be one of the most sought after pitchers in the trade market as the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline approaches.

In 13 starts this season, the 36-year-old is 9-3 with a 2.25 ERA, having struck out 90 in 76 innings. Hill is working under a one-year, $6 million with Oakland, making him one of the few starting pitchers slated to hit the open market after the 2016 season.

Talking on the Bradfo Show podcast, the former Red Sox said he understands all the attention, but he isn’t planning on wasting any of his own energy not he subject.

“Yes, but at the same time experience has taught me that staying in the moment is the most advantageous thing that you can do,” said Hill when asked if he was aware of his trade deadline value. “That’s basically what I’ve been doing every single day, staying in the moment and preparing myself for my next start here in Oakland. I’m being 100 percent honest about this, there really hasn’t been too much thought about being traded somewhere. The only thing that I can control is what I’m doing today and that’s really it. I’m doing everything I can do in that day to get better and work toward that next start. It’s something out of my control.

“Through experience and time I’ve learned. I think one of the other things is that when I was younger I would definitely find myself putting more thought, time and effort into things I can’t control. It’s kind of a draining experience. It’s one thing I’ve learned over the course of the years, enjoy where you are right now and give everything that you can to the team that you’re with, to the guys that you’re with on that team and to the fans that come out and see the ballgame. That’s really, for me, one of the most rewarding things that I can compare it to.”

While Hill hasn’t served as a full-time starter for an entire season since 2007, he feels he is positioned to succeed over the long haul. After being shut down for nearly a month due to a groin injury, the lefty has picked up where he left off, most recently allowing one run on three hits while striking out 10 over six innings against Houston.

“When I go out there and pitch in a baseball game it’s not so much that I really enjoy after the game. It’s during. I enjoy the process as the game is going on. It’s satisfying. After it’s over, I don’t look back and sit on that,” he explained. “You don’t sit on your success, you move forward and you look forward to the next game and think what am I doing tomorrow to get ready for the next outing. Looking back and saying, ‘Yeah, that game went really well. I’m going to sit around and enjoy that.’ That’s when things catch up with you. You always have to keep moving forward, I think that’s the biggest thing.”

Another topic Hill touches on in the podcast is the Red Sox’ interest in him in the offseason after his standout four-start stretch with the team last September.

“I really didn’t know. I did think there was a good chance to come back to Boston just because of everything that was going on there,” he said. “We had some really good things working. … I did think there was an opportunity to come back there and start. I just didn’t know how the offseason was going to transpire. … I think there was going to be an opportunity there, but things didn’t transpire.”

Hill additionally discusses lessons learned from current Red Sox pitching instructor Brian Bannister, explaining some of the philosophies used to transform him into the pitcher we are currently witnessing. (Among the topics is an explanation of how the lefty can have one of the highest swing-and-miss rates on a fastball that typically doesn’t top 92 mph.)

To listen to entire podcast, click below:

Read More: 2016 trade deadline, Red Sox, rich hill,

Saturday Red Sox Farm Report: Brandon Workman leaves rehab outing with apparent injury; Yoan Moncada homers again

07.09.16 at 9:14 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (46-42): Game vs. Bulls (Rays) suspended due to rain after third inning.

— The game was suspended due to rain before the top of the fourth inning with Durham leading, 2-0.  It will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 5:35 p.m.

— Eduardo Rodriguez made the start for the PawSox and allowed two first inning runs. Before the rain came, the left-hander went three innings and allowed two runs on two hits, while walking a batter and striking out three.

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (31-56): L, 4-2, at Hartford (Rockies)

— The Sea Dogs got a decent start from Jalen Beeks as he went five innings, allowing one run on three hits, while walking three and striking out five. Then in relief, Taylor Grover took the loss as he allowed three runs on four hits over three innings of work. He’s now 1-1 on the year with a 4.95 ERA.

— Yoan Moncada continued his recent hot streak as he went 2-for-4 with a home run. It was his fifth homer in 16 games with Double-A Portland after hitting four with High-A Salem in 61 games. Moncada has an eight-game hit streak where he’s batting .406 (13-for-32) with three home runs and 12 RBIs.

— Andrew Benintendi also had a productive night at the plate going 2-for-4. He is now batting .288 with Double-A Portland.

— Both players will miss Saturday’s doubleheader as they will travel to San Diego for Sunday’s Futures Game.

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Read More: Andrew Benintendi, Brandon Workman, eduardo rodriguez, yoan moncada
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