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John Farrell: Shane Victorino felt special bond with Boston, gave ‘heart and soul’ on field

07.28.15 at 12:17 am ET
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Shane Victorino was a vital part of the 2013 World Series. (WEEI.com photo)

Shane Victorino was a vital part of the 2013 World Series winning Red Sox. (WEEI.com photo)

For Shane Victorino, the right fielder was traded to the first-place Angels on Monday from the last-place Red Sox in exchange for Triple-A infielder Josh Rutledge.

Normally that would be looked at as all positives, but not for Victorino, who even with the struggles of the 2015 Red Sox was “disappointed” to be traded away.

The gritty right fielder felt a special bond with the city of Boston, especially after winning the 2013 World Series in his first year in a Red Sox uniform where his “Three Little Birds” walkup song became so famous.

“He was disappointed,” manager John Farrell said. “He didn’t want to leave in general and yet leaving — the one thing about Vic whether in Philadelphia he became very attached to Philadelphia. In similar ways he felt very attached to Boston. He’s a unique player in that sense in that he feels a bond in which the city he plays. He gives his heart and soul when he walks on the field. He takes a lot of pride in the uniform he wears for a particular city and that was the case here in a Red Sox uniform.”

Just like general manager Ben Cherington said earlier in the night, Farrell said he didn’t think the 2013 World Series win would have happened without Victorino.

“No and I think you’d say that probably about a number of players,” Farrell said. “Shane was a vital cog in our offense, certainly a Gold Glove defender in right field. Arguably played right field as well as anyone who wore a uniform. He brought energy every day. A very instinctual player. He was a main reason we won that World Series.”

The right fielder had a slash line of .294/.351/.451 with 15 home runs and 61 RBIs in that 2013 season. In the playoffs he was most known for his World Series in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Tigers.

For Farrell and the Red Sox, moving on from a player like Victorino signifies the team has turned its attention towards the future as Rusney Castillo will now get regular at-bats in right field.

“Unfortunately the trade signifies a player that helped us win a World Series two years ago and when you take one of those players off this roster, you’re kind of building towards the future and that’s disappointing,” Farrell said. “We’ll miss Vic. Vic went through a lot of physical challenges here and yet every time he was on the field he gave everything he had. I’ll miss him personally, but he’s got a chance to go to a contender.”

Read More: 2015 Trade Deadline, John Farrell, Shane Victorino,

Closing Time: Joe Kelly, Red Sox relievers roughed up in loss to White Sox

07.27.15 at 11:06 pm ET
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Joe Kelly allowed five runs over 3 1/3 innings taking a no-decision in the Red Sox' loss Monday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Joe Kelly allowed five runs over 3 1/3 innings taking a no-decision in the Red Sox‘ loss Monday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

It certainly wasn’t the best played game, but at least it provided some mild entertainment.

After three lead changes and three ties, the White Sox outlasted the Red Sox, 10-8 Monday night at Fenway Park. The Red Sox now haven’t won two straight games since their seven-game win streak ended July 8.

With the game tied at seven in the seventh, the White Sox scored two runs off Red Sox reliever Robbie Ross Jr. He had allowed a run in the sixth as well, as he finished allowing three runs over two innings of work to take the loss.

Tommy Layne allowed another White Sox run in the ninth. The Red Sox scored one run in the ninth — a Pablo Sandoval single — to make it a two-run game, but that was all they could get as they had the tying run on first base.

Chicago jumped out to a 4-0 lead before the Red Sox even stepped into the batters box. Joe Kelly allowed four first inning runs, as the first six batters of the reach reached base, including three extra-base hits (back-to-back triples) to open the game.

The Red Sox battled back and tied the game at four after two innings. David Ortiz hit another home run in the first inning, a two-run shot (his third in two games) and then Jemile Weeks and Mookie Betts each had RBI singles in the second.

Kelly allowed another run in the third inning, which would ultimately be his last, as the right-hander went 3 1/3 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits, while striking out two. It was the second time in his last three starts where he failed to make it out of the fourth inning.

“Rough outing,” manager John Farrell said. “A lot of elevated pitches in the strike zone. There were strikes, but the command within the strike zone was lacking. A lot of hard contact early. We come right back after a couple of innings and tie things up. We’re going through the third time and it was time to make a move to the bullpen. Bottom line in this game, we couldn’t put up enough zeros.”

But once again the Red Sox fought back, taking the lead in the fourth inning. Betts had an infield single and they scored another when third baseman Tyler Saladino booted a Hanley Ramirez grounder.

Craig Breslow allowed a run in his only inning of relief of Kelly, which allowed the White Sox to tie the game at six at the time. The teams then traded runs, as the Red Sox scored an unearned run in the fifth and the White Sox scored a run off Ross Jr. in the sixth making it a 7-7 game until Ross allowed the two seventh inning runs.

The two teams also combined for three errors.

Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: David Ortiz, Joe Kelly, Robbie Ross Jr., xander bogaerts

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington explains thinking on Josh Rutledge, Rusney Castillo, and Jackie Bradley Jr.

07.27.15 at 8:44 pm ET
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Josh Rutledge

Josh Rutledge

Red Sox fans had two questions after Shane Victorino was traded to the Angels on Monday: who did the team receive in return, and why did Rusney Castillo get the call to play right field instead of Jackie Bradley Jr.?

General manager Ben Cherington answered both queries in a conference call.

First, he provided a scouting report on infielder Josh Rutledge, a former Rockies middle infielder who didn’t make the Angels out of spring training and has spent the year at Triple-A Salt Lake City, where he’s hitting .274.
Cherington said Rutledge would probably join the big league roster and described him in terms somewhat similar to utilityman Brock Holt.

“Josh is a guy we’€™ve had interest in back to his Colorado days,” Cherington said. “He got to the big leagues really quickly with Colorado and then fell behind some other infielders they had. . . . He’€™s an offensive infielder with some defensive versatility.”

Rutledge hit .259 from 2012-14 with the Rockies after being drafted in the third round of the 2010 draft out of Alabama.

“With Pedroia out for a little bit, there should be some playing time in the infield with us,” Cherington said. “We’€™ll get to know him better. He’€™s a guy who’€™s now in his third organization, but has had some offensive success, he has some defensive versatility. He’€™s a guy we can envision as a part of the team going forward, but we’€™ll get to know here the rest of the year.”

As for Castillo vs. Bradley, Cherington said the club wants to give the former an extended look in the majors.

“We just want to see him continue to get comfortable and get acclimated at the big league level,” Cherington said. “This is a guy we believe in and believe will be a good major league player. Hopefully there’s an opportunity to get him a good amount of playing time between now and the end of the season.”

The Red Sox aren’t giving up on the $72.5 million man, who has appeared overmatched at times early in his big league career.

“What we see is a guy who’s got great bat speed, strength,” Cherington said. “He’s still just adjusting to North American, major-league style of pitching, in terms of what pitchers are trying to do, and learning how to use his style and strengths in a way that works at the major-league level. We’ve seen flashes of really good stuff, but he’s still a guy that’s making adjustments.”

So where does that leave Bradley, a Triple-A All-Star this year with Gold Glove abilities in center and an improving bat?

“Jackie is doing well,” Cherington said. “He’s made a real adjustment. There is still merit, and certainly there’s consideration to try and create opportunity for him, too. Today, it’s Castillo, and we’ll see how it goes.”

Read More: 2015 Trade Deadline,

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington on outfielder Shane Victorino after trade to Angels: ‘We wouldn’t have won the World Series without him’

07.27.15 at 8:28 pm ET
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Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

Trading Shane Victorino wasn’t easy for Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington. But it was the right move.

With the Red Sox out of contention and Victorino’s contract expiring at the end of the year, the Red Sox wanted to get something for the Flyin’ Hawaiian before he departed in free agency, so they shipped him to the Angels on Monday for former Rockies infielder Josh Rutledge.

“It came together this weekend,” Cherington said on a conference call. “We talked to Shane this afternoon during batting practice, before it became official. It was tough for everyone. John and I were in there with Shane and he’s meant a lot. It’s stating the obvious that he was a part of something very special in 2013, and a part of a lot of great moments that October. As you guys know, he’s always, not just with the Red Sox, but throughout his career, played with incredible passion. He’s a passionate person who cares a lot. It was a difficult conversation.

“I think on the one hand, he’s happy to have an opportunity to go to a contender and hopefully have a chance to play meaningful games down the stretch. On the other hand, this is an important part of his career, being in Boston. We expressed to him how grateful we are for everything he’s done. We wish him the best. He leaves a mark on the Red Sox and the people still in that clubhouse.”

Cherington praised Victorino’s fearlessness in right field, as well as the aggressiveness he brought to the field on a daily basis after signing a three-year, $39 million deal before the 2013 season.

Victorino supplied no shortage of highlights, chief among them the grand slam against the Tigers in the ALCS that sent the Red Sox to the World Series.

“My opinion is that we wouldn’€™t have won the World Series without him in 2013,” Cherington said.

The issue for Victorino thereafter was health. He missed most of last season with an assortment of injuries to his back and legs, appearing in only 30 games. He has played in just 33 games this year.

“Obviously the DL time got in the way of making the same kind of contribution in the last two years, unfortunately,” Cherington said. “I think just what he did in 2013, I think makes us feel anyway like it was a worthwhile deal. We can dice up the contract, values, and all that, but what I think about is a guy who may be one of the more passionate baseball players I’€™ve ever been around. He played with incredible grit, a tough, smart player, and we wish him well.”

Read More: 2015 Trade Deadline,

Mike Napoli ejected in 1st inning after striking out

07.27.15 at 7:45 pm ET
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Mike Napoli‘s games as a Red Sox are likely numbered and one of his last few will only last one inning.

The first baseman was ejected after striking out looking in the first inning by home plate umpire Toby Basner.

Napoli dropped his bat and helmet and the helmet bounced and hit Basner, likely unintentionally, and it was then Basner ejected the Red Sox first baseman.

Prior to Monday, he had reached base in nine straight games, while hitting .367 in those contests.

Napoli has been rumored in trade talks as Friday’s deadline nears.

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

Read More: mike napoli,

Red Sox pregame notes: Brock Holt (hyperextended knee) expected back in lineup Tuesday

07.27.15 at 6:25 pm ET
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Brock Holt

Brock Holt

With Dustin Pedroia back on the disabled list and Brock Holt leaving Sunday night’s game with a hyperextended knee, the Red Sox are pressed for infield depth.

Holt’s injury isn’t serious and the utilityman will likely return to the lineup Tuesday, according to manager John Farrell.

“He’s improved today, yet at the recommendation of the medical staff, another day was needed,” Farrell said. “Everything is hopefully pointing to him returning to the lineup tomorrow, but felt like another day would do him well. In an emergency, we’d probably use him but we’d prefer to give him a day of rest if we could.”

After struggling mightily for much of the season, Mike Napoli has begun to heat up since the All-Star break. Farrell has been impressed with his first baseman’s improvement.

“What’s been most encouraging is that pitches in the strike zone he’s squaring up that he’s not missing,” Farrell said. “He’s still taking his walks but I think he’s more confident, he shows more confidence at the plate. There’s at-bats where he’s offering at the first pitch and putting good swings on some pitches that’s, I think, putting some doubt in a pitcher’s mind.”

David Ortiz had one of the best night’s of his career on Sunday, going 4-for-5 with two homers and a career-high seven RBIs. Farrell liked what he saw, especially Ortiz’s second home run, which was launched into the Monster seats.

“The most encouraging swing last night, to me, obviously, is the home run he hits to left-center field,” Farrell said. “That allows him to lock in on left-handers as well. … Home runs come by virtue of a good swing, not by virtue of trying to hit home runs. I think those were two situations last night that reflect that.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brock Holt, John Farrell,

Updated Red Sox lineup: Rusney Castillo playing right field

07.27.15 at 6:21 pm ET
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Rusney Castillo

Rusney Castillo

Following the late-breaking news of Shane Victorino‘s trade to the Angels, outfielder Rusney Castillo was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket. Castillo will play right field and bat seventh in the Red Sox lineup on Monday.

Castillo has hit .230 with one home run and six RBIs in 26 games this season with the Red Sox. In 40 games with Pawtucket, he has hit .282 with three homers and 17 RBIs.

Here is an updated look at the Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, CF
Hanley Ramirez, LF
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Rusney Castillo, RF
Ryan Hanigan, C
Jemile Weeks, 2B
Joe Kelly, RHP

Red Sox trade Shane Victorino to Angels for infielder Josh Rutledge; Recall Rusney Castillo

07.27.15 at 6:07 pm ET
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And it begins.

The Red Sox traded outfielder Shane Victorino and cash considerations to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for infielder Josh Rutledge. To fill Victorino’s spot in the roster, the team has recalled Rusney Castillo.

Victorino was hitting .245 in 33 games this season. He battled injuries each of the last two seasons. The right fielder’s contract was set to expire at the end of the season. He was owed $4.5 million for the rest of this season, which the Red Sox will help pay.

The Red Sox received Rutledge, who is 26 years old and was hitting .274 with the Angels’ Triple-A club. He’s played all over the infield this season, besides first base. He played three seasons with the Rockies prior to joining the Angels organization this past offseason. In 266 career games in the majors, he’s a .259 hitter.

Castillo is active for Monday’s game against the White Sox and will start in right field.

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

Read More: 2015 Trade Deadline, Shane Victorino,

MLB Trade Deadline: Pirates reportedly ending hunt for first baseman, out on Mike Napoli

07.27.15 at 5:55 pm ET
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Following a report Sunday that the Pirates were interested in Red Sox veterans Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino, it would appear they are no longer interested in Napoli.

According to Jayson Stark of ESPN, the Pirates are telling teams they’re likely to keep Pedro Alvarez, which would effectively end their hunt for other first baseman upgrades. So connecting the dots it would mean they are no longer interested in Napoli.

The Pirates are currently six games back of the Cardinals in the NL Central, but lead the NL Wild Card.

Napoli has reached base in nine straight games, while hitting .367 in those contests.

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

Read More: 2015 Trade Deadline, mike napoli,

John Farrell: Ben Cherington doing ‘everything he can’ to make moves impacting Red Sox in ‘positive way going forward’

07.27.15 at 5:16 pm ET
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It’s no secret the Red Sox will be active during the next four days leading up to Friday’s non-waiver trade deadline.

The Red Sox enter play Monday 11 games below .500 and 12 games out of first place in the AL East. While manager John Farrell isn’t involved as much as members of the front office are in trade talks, it does get to a point where he’s keyed in on what’s taking place.

“It gets to a certain point where conversations are going on and if there’s choices to be made — there’s some interaction there,” Farrell said. “I know that Ben [Cherington] is doing everything he can to make change that is going to affect us in a positive way going forward. That may vary depending on the situation, the involvement.”

With the team likely no longer in playoff contention, they could be in a position to trade away some of their veteran players with expiring contracts such as Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino, while also having an eye towards 2016 and starting to build next year’s team.

“I know that there’s daily conversation going on,” Farrell said. “It’s that time of year where there’s a lot of trade talk that’s going on. Only when it gets to a certain point does Ben [Cherington] kind of give me a heads up. So, right now, we’re who we are.”

Not only was Farrell a former player, he was in Indians’ front office serving as director of player development from 2001-06 before joining the Red Sox as pitching coach in 2007. It’s with this past experience he knows just how much goes into getting a deal done.

“You know that a lot goes into it,” Farrell said. “Ideas are generated in 30 different offices around the game. The reality of those coming to life? There’s a lot of steps that need to be achieved to get to that point. From field level if you have a thought, there’s a long way to go before that thought may turn into reality. I just know there’s a lot of challenges in finding a trade partner and then what makes most sense for both sides.”

Read More: 2015 Trade Deadline, ben cherington, John Farrell,
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