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Red Sox sign Ole Miss left-hander Dylan Chavez

06.14.12 at 5:24 pm ET
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According to a major league source, the Red Sox have signed left-hander Dylan Chavez, whom they selected out of Ole Miss in the 14th round of the draft. Chavez will be with the Lowell Spinners for the start of their season.

Chavez, who played his high school ball for Rob Rinaldi — who coached Dustin Pedroia at Woodland High School — pounded the strike zone for Ole Miss after transferring from American River Community College. In 16 games, the skinny, 6-foot-3 lefty went 3-4 with a 4.66 ERA while striking out 36 and walking six in 36 2/3 innings. That strikeout-to-walk ratio represented a somewhat stunning reversal from Chavez’€™s performance at American River, where he struck out 46 and walked 38 in 63 innings. He features an 88-92 mph fastball and a low-80s slider along with some funk in his delivery.

According to the source, the left-hander signed for less than $100,000, and so his signing does not implicate the Red Sox’ bonus pool of $6.884 million with which the team must sign its draftees from the first 10 rounds.

Read More: 2012 MLB Draft, Dustin Pedroia, dylan chavez, rob rinaldi

Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Henry Owens, the strikeout king; Anthony Ranaudo’s struggles continue

06.14.12 at 5:06 pm ET
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In the better late than never department, a quick look at yesterday’s action in the Red Sox farm system:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: OFF

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 7-0 LOSS AT BOWIE (ORIOLES)

(BOX)

Anthony Ranaudo continues to struggle with his command. The 6-foot-7 right-hander threw 39 of 66 pitches for strikes while allowing four runs on three hits and three walks in three innings. He struck out two.

Overall, since his late start to the 2012 season after suffering a late-spring groin injury, Ranaudo has endured consistent struggles in his Double-A debut. He is 1-2 with a 6.51 ERA, 20 strikeouts and 20 walks in six starts. Sox farm director Ben Crockett recently discussed the idea that Ranaudo is still struggling to get his delivery in sync, a notion that once again seemed to manifest itself in the 22-year-old’s shortest outing of the season.

— In a game where the Portland lineup collected just two hits, Dan Butler went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks to improve to .250 with a .344 OBP, .424 slugging mark and .769 OPS. He’s amidst a torrid nine-game stretch in which he is 11-for-28 with seven walks, three homers and three doubles, good for a line of .393/.514/.821/1.335.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 3-2 WIN, 3-0 WIN AT WILMINGTON (ROYALS)

(GAME 1 BOX, GAME 2 BOX)

Travis Shaw continued his home run surge, going 2-for-3 with a homer and a double in the nightcap of the doubleheader. The 2011 ninth-round pick out of Kent State now has 10 homers, a mark that is tied for fourth in the Carolina League, with a .323 average (4th), .416 OBP (5th), .576 slugging mark (2nd) and .992 OPS (3rd).

— Right-hander Keith Couch had another strong start since his return to the rotation. He tossed six shutout innings, and in 14 games (eight starts) this year, he is 6-4 with a 3.32 ERA, 52 strikeouts (7.2 per nine innings) and just 14 walks (1.9) in 65 innings.

Christian Vazquez went 1-for-3 with a walk and a solo homer, the catcher’s first longball since April 27. After having 48 extra-base hits in 105 games last year, he has just eight extra-base knocks in 48 contests thus far this season.

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 2-1 WIN VS. ASHEVILLE (ROCKIES) Read the rest of this entry »

Theo Epstein on D&C: ‘No villains’ in Red Sox management

06.14.12 at 10:52 am ET
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Theo Epstein joined the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday to talk about his time with the Red Sox, including his relationship with ownership and the difficulties of being a big market general manager.

As Red Sox GM, Epstein brought in John Lackey and Carl Crawford at a significant cost as free agents. When asked if he was pressured to do so by the team’s business interests, he waved off the notion.

“There are no villains here,” Epstein said. “It’s the reality of what happens in a big market, especially when you win, especially when there’s incredible performance on the field as well as off the field and things get bigger and bigger. … I always had a concern about it getting too big and when it starts to grow and it stars to become insatiable it becomes hard to take a reasonable long-term approach on the field and off the field.”

Despite not feeling pressure from ownership, Epstein wasn’t always perfect at handling his own pressure.

“If anything I blame myself,” he said. “At the end it certainly became too big. I didn’t do a good enough job of managing that tension, managing the reality of being a big market team when things start to fall off a little bit, which is natural. I certainly should have executed in big name free agency.”

He added later: “I finally gave into the [tension]. I started executing moves that gave into it and were a little more convenient and that is a lot of the reason I wanted to move on. … After ten years it’s hard to attack things from a fresh perspective. It’s hard to be as adamant about your philosophy as you are at the beginning.”

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Opinion: It’s time to trade Kevin Youkilis

06.14.12 at 8:01 am ET
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“If I get traded, I get traded.”

Kevin Youkilis, June 11

Spoiler alert: Kevin Youkilis is going to be traded.

Barring a significant injury to Will Middlebrooks, Adrian Gonzalez or David Ortiz while he’s still on the roster, Youkilis will not finish the 2012 season with the Red Sox.

It’s over. He’s been a terrific player for a majority of his career in Boston — back-to-back top six MVP finishes in 2008-09, a career .388 on-base percentage, a .500/.576/.929 line in the ALCS win over Cleveland in 2007, you know all the greatest hits — but it’s time for Youkilis to go.

And I’m not sure why it hasn’t happened already.

Walk me through a couple of things here: Kevin Youkilis is batting .219 with a slugging percentage of .352. He’s 33 years old, has been on the DL in each of the last four seasons and had his least productive year in 2011. It’s screamingly obvious that this is a guy very much on the back nine (and that might even be optimistic) as a player of any relevance.

Kevin Youkilis, it would seem, can play three positions. One is, of course, third base. Right now he is (at best) the second-best option at third base for this team. We’ve seen enough to know that Middlebrooks is already a significantly better player than Youkilis at this stage of his career. As lousy a season as Adrian Gonzalez is having, his numbers are still better than the ones put up by Youkilis. And David Ortiz — who sat on the bench Tuesday night as Youkilis played first and batted third in the lineup — is the best DH in baseball. Ortiz, who hit his 15th homer of the season on Wednesday, has an OPS of .977 this season, fifth in the American League. Youkilis has an OPS of .655.

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Scott Podsednik thinks this might be the best Scott Podsednik we’ve ever seen

06.13.12 at 11:55 pm ET
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MIAMI — He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2003, led the National League in steals in ’04 and was named an American League All-Star in 2005 (the same year he came in 12th in AL MVP voting).

Yet it is at this moment — at the age of 36 while playing the role of fill-in — that Scott Podsednik feels represents his best.

“To be honest with you, I feel like I’€™m playing as good or better as I ever have in my career,” he said after the Red Sox‘ 10-2 win over the Marlins Wednesday night. “I’€™ve learned a lot over my 18 years of professional baseball. I’€™ve taken all of that under consideration and tried to improve and honed my skills, year in and year out. Now it’€™s just a matter of keeping the body healthy. I feel like I have a good approach and I’€™m able to use my skills out on the field to the best of my ability. It’€™s just a matter of keeping my body healthy which allows me to go out and execute what I’€™ve learned.”

While everybody is waiting for Podsednik to slow down, he hasn’t obliged.

The outfielder continued to impress as a member of the Red Sox — the team that plucked him out of Triple-A Lehigh Valley via a trade for cash — coming away with two more hits to raise his batting average to .373. Seven out of the 13 games he has started with the Sox have now included multi-hit games, with Posednik’s OPS now standing at .868.

It has been retribution for a player who knew his career was at a crossroads following his demotion to Triple-A by the Phillies heading into the 2012 season.

“I was just deflated after not making the Phillies club,” said Podsednik, who admitted this was the most fun he has had since playing on the White Sox‘ world championship team in ’05. “I wasn’€™t in the right mind-frame there. I’€™m not proud of that. With that being said, it is, for me, easier to get myself up and prepare for big league games than it is Triple A games.

“I’€™m sure baseball was wondering at 36 if I could still go out and get it done. There was a bit of me wanting me to go out and prove to the baseball world that I could still play. Personally, I felt I could still get it done based on the way my body felt and the conditioning I put myself through this winter. I felt like I could still go out and do it. Again, we would have never known without getting the opportunity over here.”

But, thanks to a litany of injuries to Red Sox outfielders, he did get a chance. And, so far, Podsednik is making the most of the opportunity.

“I did not want to go to Triple-A. I knew how difficult it was going to be to get myself going in Triple-A. I’€™m not proud to say that, but when you spend a few years in the big leagues you kind of get spoiled so it’€™s tough to go down to Triple-A and play with a sense of passion and urgency,” he said. “The thought crossed my mind would I ever make it back. I’€™m happy I got this chance.”

Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Stolmy struggles, Bryce Brentz is right vs. lefties, Mark Prior is striking out everyone

06.13.12 at 11:56 am ET
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A quick glance at Tuesday’s action in the Red Sox minor league system (with apologies for the uncharacteristic brevity)…

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 4-1 WIN VS. GWINNETT (BRAVES)

(BOX)

Mauro Gomez blasted a pair of home runs while going 3-for-3. His 15 homers this year rank fourth in the International League, while his .622 slugging percentage (part of a .306/.360/.622/.982 line) is second.

Alex Wilson struck out two batters while allowing one hit in 1 1/3 innings to earn the win. Since moving to the bullpen, Wilson now has a 2.63 ERA, 25 strikeouts and seven walk in 24 innings. Though he is a somewhat extreme flyball pitcher, he has yet to give up a home run as a reliever.

Mark Prior recorded all three of his outs via punchout while allowing no hits and walking two. In 5 2/3 innings with the PawSox, the right-hander has yet to allow a run while striking out 13 batters (while getting one groundout and three fly balls) and walking four.

Ryan Kalish went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Over his last three games, he’s 2-for-12 with six punchouts. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: bryce brentz, henry ramos, jose espitia, keury de la cruz

Wednesday’s Red Sox-Marlins matchups: Felix Doubront vs. Ricky Nolasco

06.13.12 at 9:46 am ET
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Red Sox left-hander Felix Doubront will take the mound for Wednesday’€™s series finale with the Marlins in an effort to bounce back from his worst outing of the season.

Doubront (6-3) only lasted four innings in his last appearance against the Nationals, allowing six runs on eight hits and two walks in the loss. The outing was his shortest of the season with only 82 pitches, and it raised his ERA from 3.75 to 4.34.

Despite only being in his first season in the starting rotation, the Venezuelan has been one of the most consistent starters for the Red Sox this season. He leads the team with 72 strikeouts and is tied for the most wins on the team with Clay Buchholz.

The 24-year-old will be making his interleague debut on Wednesday, and he has not faced any hitters on Miami’€™s roster.

Doubront will be facing off against Ricky Nolasco, who has had mixed results since starting the season 4-0 through his first six starts.

Nolasco (6-4) has a 4.36 ERA and 45 strikeouts with a decision in each of his last eight starts, going 4-4 in that time. Since May 12, though, Nolasco has struggled, going 2-4 with a 6.23 ERA and five home runs against.

Nolasco has only faced the Red Sox once in his career, earning the win in Boston in a game that was cut short by rain on June 18, 2009. Nolasco had only allowed one run on one hit through five innings before the game was called, giving the Marlins the 2-1 win at Fenway.

Kevin Youkilis has homered off of Nolasco, while Adrian Gonzalez has four hits in 15 at-bats.

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Read More: felix doubront, Red Sox, ricky nolasco,

Nuggetpalooza: Some Red Sox stat nuggets you might have missed

06.13.12 at 9:27 am ET
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Just a few things you might not have noticed from the past few days:

———————————————————————————————

* – From Opening Day through May 11, Boston’s pitchers allowed an opponents’ OPS of .795, third highest/worst in the majors as only Colorado (.827) and Minnesota (.819) were worse. Since then (through Tuesday), it’s been a different story, as the Red Sox pitching staff has allowed a .675 OPS (.240/.304/.370), the fourth BEST mark in the majors in that span:

.649 – Rays
.652 – Royals
.661 – Dodgers
.675 – Red Sox

———————————————————————————————

* – June ERA leaders (min. 18 IP):

1.13 – Clay Buchholz, Red Sox
1.89 – Aaron Harang, Dodgers
1.90 – Colby Lewis, Rangers

———————————————————————————————

* – The Red Sox fell behind early on Monday and couldn’t mount a rally. Rallies from four run deficits are few and far between, though, as the Sox have lost their last 16 games (and 43-of-46 since the start of 2010) in which they’ve trailed by four or more runs at some point.

———————————————————————————————

* – Tuesday marked the 12th consecutive game in which the Red Sox failed to hit multiple home runs, their longest such streak since 2008. The club record (since 1950) is 43 straight games without hitting multiple homers, set in 1974.

Note this: It was also the seventh game in a row in which the Sox collected fewer than 10 hits. They haven’t had such a streak reach 10 games since 1998.

——————————————————————————————— Read the rest of this entry »

Closing Time: Clay Buchholz dominates Marlins in Sox’ 2-1 win

06.12.12 at 10:06 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz was the story on Tuesday, limiting Miami to a run over seven innings to earn his seventh victory of the season and help the Red Sox snap a four-game losing streak in a 2-1 win at Marlins Park.

The Sox (30-32) will look to win the three-game series on Wednesday night with Felix Doubront (6-3, 4.34) opposing Ricky Nolasco (6-4, 436).

Here is what went right (and wrong) for the Sox on Tuesday:

WHAT WENT RIGHT

‘€¢ Buchholz had his third straight terrific outing, allowing one run on five hits in seven innings pitched. After the righty allowed five runs in five innings in a loss against the Orioles on May 6, Buchholz’s ERA for the season was a major league-worst 9.09. It now stands at a season-low 5.38. Buchholz looked to be in trouble early on against the Marlins, as Jose Reyes led off the game with a triple for the second straight night. But Buchholz struck out the next three batters — Omar Infante, Hanley Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton — to get out of the jam (all strikeouts were swinging). Buchholz finished with a season-high nine strikeouts against one walk. In his last three starts he has allowed three runs in 17 innings pitched. Buchholz gave up a leadoff homer to Logan Morrison in the seventh inning, but he then struck out Gaby Sanchez and retired Chris Coughlin and John Buck to finish his start at 103 pitches.

‘€¢ Vicente Padilla, pitching for the first time in six days, pitched a scoreless eighth in relief of Buchholz, striking out Stanton looking (Stanton’s fourth whiff of the game) to end the inning and strand Infante at third base and Ramirez at first. Alfredo Aceves pitched the ninth and picked up his American League-leading 15th save.

‘€¢ The offense could do nothing against Mark Buehrle in the first six innings but came alive in the seventh, scoring a pair of two-out runs. Kelly Shoppach delivered his second double of the game to score Will Middlebrooks to break the scoreless tie, and Mike Aviles singled in the next at-bat to plate Shoppach (Buck, the Marlins catcher, dropped a foul ball while leaning over the dugout in the Aviles at-bat). The Sox could have doubled their run total in the inning, but Coughlin made a diving catch in center field off a Buchholz liner to strand Aviles at third and Darnell McDonald (single) at second.

‘€¢ Adrian Gonzalez led the National League with 119 walks in 2009 and has walked at least 70 times in each of the last four seasons. But Gonzalez entered Monday with just 16 walks on the season, and none since May 15. That streak ended as Gonzalez drew a leadoff walk against Buehrle, a day after walking on Monday’s loss.

‘€¢ Aviles contributed with his RBI single in the top of the seventh and also added a key defensive play, a diving stop to turn a 6-4-3 double play on Hanley Ramirez following a leadoff walk to Infante in the bottom of the sixth inning.

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Read More: adrian gonzalez, Clay Buchholz,

Red Sox agree to deal with J.B. Wendelken, pitcher from ‘Reddick U.’

06.12.12 at 6:58 pm ET
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According to a major league source, the Red Sox have agreed to terms with right-hander J.B. Wendelken, the team’s 13th round selection in the 2012 draft. While the deal is not yet complete, pending the conclusion of routine procedures (including a physical and drug test), the 19-year-old would join the organization for $100,000.

In adding Wendelken, the Red Sox are adding a player from the same program where they had one of their greatest scouting successes in recent years. In 2006, the Red Sox had arguably their best pure scouting pick of the last decade when they selected outfielder Josh Reddick — a South Effingham High School product by way of Middle Georgia Junior College — in the 16th round of the draft. And so, they can be forgiven for going back to the well.

In Wendelken, they selected a pitcher who, like Reddick, was coming out of Middle Georgia by way of South Effingham, selecting J.B. Wendelken with their 13th round selection. Wendelken was dominant in 2012, going 7-0 with a 0.20 ERA while striking out 54 and walking eight in 46 innings. He features a fastball that has been described in different reports as topping out at 92-95 mph.

News of the agreement was first reported by Jim Callis of Baseball America (via twitter).

Read More: 2012 MLB Draft, j.b. wendelken,
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