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How couch, tennis balls led Andrew Benintendi to catch of his life

08.22.16 at 11:49 pm ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It was an exercise virtually every kid executes in their living room. All you need is a ball and a piece of furniture. Good thing for Andrew Benintendi, he was no exception.

“I remember when I was a kid I would throw a tennis ball up over my couch and jump over it and catch it to practice,” the Red Sox rookie recalled.

It finally paid off.

Benintendi made the catch of the season Monday night at Tropicana Field, robbing Tampa Bay’s Steven Souza Jr. of a two-run home run in the eighth inning that would have cut the Sox’ lead to a run. Instead, it sent a bolt of adrenaline through the now-first-place Red Sox, helping propel the visitors to a 6-2 win over the Rays.

“That was the best one by far,” the 22-year-old said. “I’ve never had a chance to do that. It’s something I’ve talked about doing but never got the chance. It was fun to do.”

Making the moment happen was the fact that Benintendi had moved over to left field from center to begin the inning. So when Souza’s ball started tailing just inside the foul pole, the left-handed outfielder had the advantage of not having to reach across his body.

Another subtle help in making the play? A well-placed piece of furniture that prevented Benintendi from falling over the wall.

“There was a table, and if that wasn’t there I don’t know what would have happened,” he said.

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Closing Time: David Price’s pitching, Andrew Benintendi’s defense highlight another Red Sox win

08.22.16 at 10:24 pm ET
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David Price was dominant in the Red Sox' win Monday night. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

David Price was dominant in the Red Sox’ win Monday night. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — In case you haven’t noticed, this year’s David Price is starting to look a little more like last year’s David Price.

For the third straight start, the Red Sox starter was in complete control, this time dominating his former team, the Rays, for eight innings. Price only allowed two hits while striking out eight and walking a pair, leading his team to a 6-2 win. In his last three outings, the lefty has given up just four runs over 22 innings.

Making the start a bit more impressive was the fact that this was a Tampa Bay club that came into Monday night having won six of its last seven. The Red Sox, conversely, now have won nine of their last 11 games while improving to 6-2 on the current 11-game road trip.

This was the Price so many marveled during the final two months of the 2015 regular season. In case you forgot, it was August and September of 2015 that Price really got rolling, posting a 9-1 record and 2.30 ERA in the final two months of the regular season while pitching for the Blue Jays.

The outing was second straight standout start against the Rays by Price, who had shutout Kevin Cash’s team over eight innings the last time they met.

The game could have been a lot closer, however, if it wasn’t for Andrew Benintendi’s incredible catch in the eighth inning. Red Sox manager John Farrell leaving Price in for another inning, Tim Beckham led off the frame with a single.

Steven Souza Jr. proceeded to launch a Price pitch deep into the left field corner, seemingly long enough for a two-run blast. But Benintendi, who had moved over from center field to start the inning, leaped over the wall, folded his body over the padding, and grabbed what would have been a sure home run.

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If all goes well Tuesday, Steven Wright to start Friday night

08.22.16 at 6:54 pm ET
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Steven Wright

Steven Wright

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Steven Wright threw a bullpen Sunday and for the first time since injuring his right shoulder felt no pain. He tossed a bit on the mound at Tropicana Field Monday and, once again, was pain-free.

Now comes the final test.

On Tuesday, Wright will throw an extended bullpen session, simulating the ups and downs of a game. If that goes like the previous two days, then he will be returning to the rotation. Specifically, the knuckleballer tentatively is slated to start for the Red Sox against the Royals on Friday night at Fenway Park.

“It feels normal,” Wright said. “I’m just trying to get my release point back. If everything progresses the way it’s been, I see no reason why I wouldn’t be ready to pitch.”

Wright hasn’t pitched since Aug. 5, when he threw a complete-game three-hitter against the Dodgers. Two days later, the righty was injured when diving back into second base while serving as a pinch-runner.

For the season, Wright is 13-5 with a 3.01 ERA.

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It’s looking like Koji Uehara might be able to help this season after all

08.22.16 at 6:43 pm ET
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Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — While Koji Uehara seemingly has started to recover quicker than anticipated from the right pectoral strain that put him on the 15-day disabled list July 20, the Red Sox have made it a point to reel in the optimism most of the time.

But with Uehara slated to throw off a mound Tuesday afternoon for the first time since his injury, the idea of the 41-year-old returning to help this season is looking more realistic than ever.

“I don’t know when game action is even projected at this point. [Tuesday] is another real positive step for him,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “We’ll see. In the past Koji has gone through good years and been very productive when he’s had minimal spring training, if at all. I don’t want to discount the need for some game action, but the fact that he’s getting back to the mound is a good thing.”

Uehara hasn’t pitched since walking off the mound when pitching to his second batter in the Red Sox’ July 19 game against the Giants.

Prior to his injury he had been pitching better, going four straight outings without allowing a run. For the season, Uehara’s ERA stands at 4.50, having converted six of eight save chances.

Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez, one of the few pitchers to experience the same injury as Uehara, offered some insight in recovering from the ailment when talking to WEEI.com’s Ryan Hannable.

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Eduardo Rodriguez explains what went wrong leading up to Sunday’s start, what it means going forward

08.22.16 at 6:19 pm ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Eduardo Rodriguez expressed disappointment at having to skip Sunday’s start. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Eduardo Rodriguez admitted Sunday was not one his better days.

“Yeah, because I know it was partly my fault,” the Red Sox pitcher said of his team’s 10-5 loss to the Tigers, in which replacement starter Henry Owens was roughed up for eight runs in five innings. “I was supposed to pitch that game. I feel bad but I have to get ready for the next one.”

The lefty started that process of returning from his hamstring issue while at Tropicana Field prior to Monday night’s game, throwing about 70-80 percent effort level off the mound in the visitors’ bullpen under the watchful eye of pitching coach Carl Willis. On Tuesday he will continue the process by tossing a three-inning simulated game.

The way things are going, Rodriguez and Red Sox manager John Farrell both sound like the plan is for the pitcher to make his next start, although that has yet to be scheduled. The optimism, however, remains dependent on Tuesday’s exercise.

“We need to test him at more intense levels when compared to a normal bullpen,” Farrell said. “He went through treatment today, went out, went through a throwing program, everything is scheduled for that sim game tomorrow. So more than anything, it’s not so much to answer the physical side of it, but it’s for him to test it at a higher intensity and for him to gain some comfort mentally — that’s the biggest key, to go out and have that conviction to pitches to be thrown.”

And that brings us to the biggest issue: the mental side of the equation.

The way Rodriguez explained it, the reason for the (as Farrell described it) “second thoughts” was because of a lack of confidence that his hamstring would hold up. It was a mindset that lingered from his 2 2/3-inning, nine-run outing at Tropicana Field on June 27, during which he couldn’t shake the concern over his injured right knee.

“The thing is I had that experience before with my knee. I went out there and was just thinking about my knee and when I threw the ball, remember what happened here? I gave up nine runs because I was thinking of my knee and every pitch was right down the middle,” he said. “I don’t want to think about it. Because I had that experience before with my knee.

“I want to feel 100 percent. And I don’t want to think about it. Like I do right now, now I’m not thinking about my knee and I just throw the ball so I can get 100 percent and I’m not thinking about it.”

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Chris Young back for Red Sox

08.22.16 at 3:10 pm ET
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Chris Young

Chris Young

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Red Sox are starting to get healthier.

The team activated outfielder Chris Young off the 15-day disabled list Monday, sending pitcher Henry Owens to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room on the 25-man roster.

Young has been on the disabled list since June 24 with a right hamstring injury. He played in seven rehab games with the PawSox, going 5-for-23 (.217) with a pair of doubles, playing in left field four times.

“Feeling good, got the opportunity to play about a week’s worth of games in Triple-A, got my legs back under, run some bases and try to get as comfortable as possible to come back,” Young said. “Been looking forward to this day and I’m happy to be back.”

Before the injury, Young had proven useful in the Sox lineup, particularly against lefty pitchers. The 32-year-old owns a 1.042 OPS vs. southpaws this season.

It’s not yet clear how John Farrell will use Young, as the Red Sox manager insinuated Andrew Benintendi would not sit against all lefty pitchers. Benintendi got the start in center field Monday night, with Young playing left.

“That remains to be seen,” Farrell said of the distribution of playing time. “I’m also keeping in mind that this is a guy [Benintendi] in his first full season of pro baseball. I’m not saying, in this moment, he can’t handle the physical workload, but we’ve got to be a little conscious of it, and we’ll look to use our entire roster to its maximum.”

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Drew Pomeranz still can’t understand what injury is causing all this controversy

08.22.16 at 12:10 pm ET
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Drew Pomeranz said he has no injury the Red Sox should be worried about. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

Drew Pomeranz said he has no injury the Red Sox should be worried about. (David Richard/USA Today Sports)

Drew Pomeranz doesn’t look or sound injured, but that’s not going to stop the controversy.

In Michael Silverman’s excellent question-and-answer session with John Henry over the weekend, the Red Sox principal owner confirmed the ESPN.com report that Major League Baseball was looking into the Padres not disclosing medical information when making trades with the Marlins and Red Sox.

Q. Are you satisfied that the Red Sox received all the medical records/info that the Padres had available concerning Drew Pomeranz? Are the current protocols sufficient for all teams when it comes to access and sharing medical info for trades?

A. This is being investigated by MLB so it would be inappropriate for me to comment.

Considering the Marlins were forced to send back Colin Rea to the Padres after acquiring the pitcher in a trade, there was plenty of fire to go with the smoke. (Rea initially had planned to undergo Tommy John surgery on his injured right elbow but recently decided to go the route of PRP injections.)

But when it comes to Pomeranz, there remains some mystery to what exactly the Red Sox were contesting. The pitcher has no known injury, and is in the midst of a season in which he hasn’t missed a start.

“It’s just kind of strange, but at the same time I don’t know what goes on so there’s no use thinking about it,” Pomeranz told WEEI.com. “I’ve been the same all year. If they’ve got problems, they’ve got problems. There’s nothing for me to do.”

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Monday Red Sox Farm Report: Bryan Hudson goes 3-for-5 as Salem wins 10th straight

08.22.16 at 10:29 am ET
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Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (66-61): Game cancelled due to rain.

The PawSox were rained out on Sunday and will next kick off a four-game homestand on Monday against Syracuse (Nationals).

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (49-75): Game cancelled due to rain.

Portland will next begin a six-game homestand with a three-game series vs. New Hampshire (Blue Hays).

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (78-47): W, 12-1 at Winston-Salem (White Sox)

— Salem was able to win their 10th straight contest easily thanks to 15 hits at the plate and solid pitching. Anyelo Leclerc got the win with one of his best starts of the year holding Winston-Salem to one run on three hits in five innings while fanning five. The 24-year-old right-hander is now 2-3 with a 3.42 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 33 appearances.

— The offense was powered by leadoff hitter Bryan Hudson, who went 3-for-5 with a triple, three stolen bases, an RBI and two runs. It was the first time this season that Hudson, 21, stole multiple bases in a game. He has been on a tear lately, batting .455 in his last 10 games. He is now slashing .278/.419/.341 in 74 games.

— Jordan Procyshen drove in a career-high four runs, going 2-for-4 while crossing home plate twice himself. He hit a pair of two-run singles to extend Salem’s lead. The 23-year-old Canada native has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, and is batting .253/.315/.368 in 182 at-bats.

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Monday’s Red Sox-Rays matchups: David Price vs. Blake Snell

08.22.16 at 9:46 am ET
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The Red Sox will continue their 11-game road trip when they open a four-game series at Tampa on Monday. David Price gets the start for Boston, and will go against Rays rookie left-hander Blake Snell.

Price comes into Monday’s game 11-8 with a 4.19 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. His 169 2/3 innings pitched are second-most in the American League, and his 171 strikeouts rank third. Price, 30, has had an underwhelming season, but he has performed well as of late, winning his last two starts. The Vanderbilt product last won in an 8-1 victory over the Orioles on Wednesday, holding Baltimore to one run on four hits in six innings. He struck out four and and walked none for the second time in his last four outings.

“That was one of the two teams in front of us [in the AL East] before we came here,” Price said. “For us to come in here and win two, that’s always good.”

Price, who pitched for the Rays for seven seasons, is 2-3 with a 5.11 ERA in six starts vs. Tampa Bay. He faced the Rays on July 10 of this year, pitching eight shutout innings and striking out ten in a 4-0 Red Sox win.

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Steven Wright to pitch next weekend against Royals

08.21.16 at 5:03 pm ET
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Steven Wright allowed four runs (two earned) in 4 1/3 innings in Saturday's loss to the Tigers. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Steven Wright appears to be in line to start next weekend. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

DETROIT — Quick Steven Wright update: Manager John Farrell said the knuckleballer came out of his bullpen feeling good on Sunday.

He’ll throw again on Tuesday, and then the Red Sox will look to slot him back into the rotation next weekend when they return home to face the Royals.

“He came out of today’s bullpen in good shape,” Farrell said. “[Clay] Buchholz is going to start on Tuesday. We’re likely to get another bullpen on Tuesday for Steven, and that would put him in line for the weekend series against Kansas City.”

Wright injured his shoulder diving back into the second base bag two weeks ago in Los Angeles as a pinch runner against the Dodgers. He’s eligible to return from the disabled list on Tuesday.

He is 13-5 with a 3.01 ERA and league-leading four complete games, including a shutout.

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