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David Price slated to start minor-league rehab assignment Sunday

05.10.17 at 7:16 pm ET
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David Price

David Price

David Price is getting closer.

The Red Sox starter, who hasn’t pitched at all this season due to an injured left elbow, is finally going to face hitters from another organization. Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Milwaukee Wednesday that Price is scheduled to start for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox Sunday, taking on Minnesota’s Triple-A affiliate, the Rochester Red Wings, at McCoy Stadium.

Price has thrown a pair of simulated games, with the most recent one coming Tuesday when he threw four innings. Farrell told the Dale, Holley and Keefe Show Wednesday afternoon that the team was waiting to see how the pitcher came out of that exercise before making a plan going forward.

Evidently, the reports back from Price were positive, leading to what figures to be an outing that will either be five innings or 70 pitches.

If Price made two minor-league rehab assignments before rejoining the major league team, that would put his season debut with the Red Sox at Fenway Park against the Rangers on May 24. If he makes three, he would kick things off in Chicago against the White Sox on May 29.

Red Sox president Sam Kennedy on ‘Two Outs:’ Fenway’s zero tolerance policy isn’t a slippery slope

05.10.17 at 2:52 pm ET
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The Red Sox banned a fan for life last week for the first time under John Henry's ownership. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

The Red Sox banned a fan for life last week for the first time under John Henry’s ownership. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

When the Red Sox levied a lifetime ban on a fan last week for using a racial slur, team president Sam Kennedy touted the club’s zero tolerance policy. He said it covers all intolerant behavior, including the use of sexist and homophobic epithets.

Given the wide spectrum of language that falls under those umbrellas, some wonder whether the Red Sox are traveling down a slippery slope. While it’s important to discourage bigotry, stringent zero tolerance policies can also sometimes lead to overreaction.

In an interview on “Two Outs” with Steve Buckley and Alex Reimer, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said he doesn’t share those concerns.

“I don’t worry about it being a slippery slope. It’s the club’s right. We plan on doing it,” he said. “We have an obligation and a responsibility to make sure people who come to Fenway Park, regardless of your religion, your race, your sexual orientation, you feel comfortable at Fenway. That is our job. We need to be held accountable for that. That’s something that’s really important to John Henry, Tom Werner and to me and to the members of our front office. We want our fans to let us know if they feel uncomfortable. Nobody should feel intimidated by coming to a baseball game at Fenway Park. This is a place to come and relax and enjoy and feel comfortable. That’s what I worry about.”

Red Sox spokeswoman Zineb Curran echoed Kennedy’s sentiments to WEEI.com Monday, saying the team intends to enforce the hardline rule. But she also added the organization will use discretion when appropriate.

Fan conduct at Fenway Park has been under scrutiny over the last week, as a result of the Adam Jones incident and lifetime ban. While those two events have brought the team’s zero tolerance policy to the forefront, Kennedy says it’s been in existence since John Henry purchased the franchise in late 2001. Over the last 15 years, the Red Sox have hired fan service ambassadors and representatives, who try to ensure everybody at Fenway Park is comfortable. The ownership group also banned crude anti-Yankees apparel, including shirts with homophobic innuendo.

“I think we all know why intolerance is out there and why it happens –– it’s unfortunate,” Kennedy said. “We recognize that it does happen, and we have a responsibility to address it and make sure that we do our part. And again, this is not about Fenway Park and Boston and New England. This is about society. This is everywhere in our culture. And we have to be honest with ourselves: this is a reflection of intolerance and ignorance that exists in 2017. We have to be honest with ourselves that it does happen in Boston and it does happen at Fenway Park and it happens at other sports venues. Those in leadership have to be accountable and have to address it head on.”

One of the steps the Red Sox have taken towards LGBT inclusion is Pride Night, which is scheduled for June 9 –– one day before the Pride Parade. A portion of the ticket proceeds go back towards Boston Pride, which advocates on behalf of the city’s LGBT community.

“It’s about raising awareness that the LGBT community is part of the Red Sox community,” Kennedy said. “We want to be welcoming. We want to make sure everyone knows that Fenway and the Red Sox are open to everyone coming here to enjoy.”

Read More: Alex Reimer, Fenway Park, Sam Kennedy, Steve Buckley

Coolest Play of the Week: Dustin Pedroia’s bases-clearing double in Minnesota

05.10.17 at 12:43 pm ET
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Each week, we will be picking the F.W. Webb “Coolest Play of the Week.” This week’s play comes from the Red Sox’ 11-1 win over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday. Looking to get out of an offensive funk, the Sox scored eight two-out runs in the second inning. Dustin Pedroia cleared the bases with a double to make the lead 4-0 and jumpstart the offense. Catch the play below.

F.W._Webb_Company_logo200Enter to win the Coolest VIP Baseball Experience including the chance to watch batting practice and visit the WEEI Broadcast Booth at Fenway! Click here to enter to win.

Brewers 11, Red Sox 7: Drew Pomeranz has to figure out how to give the bullpen a break

05.09.17 at 11:41 pm ET
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Drew Pomeranz (USA Today)

Drew Pomeranz (USA Today)

Coming into Tuesday night, Drew Pomeranz wouldn’t have been listed as a chief concern for the Red Sox. And even after his less-than-stellar outing in the Red Sox’ 11-7 loss to the Brewers, maybe he still isn’t cracking the top tier of issues facing John Farrell’s club. (For a complete recap, click here.)

But what Pomeranz’s latest outing highlighted was a disturbing trend for the starter: He has a really hard time giving the bullpen a breather on the nights he pitches.

This time around, Pomeranz’s problems didn’t exactly sneak up on anybody. He gave up five runs in the first inning on the way to his four-inning outing, giving up six runs on seven hits.

In fairness, if not for the need to get a position player in the lineup’s No. 9 spot heading into the fifth inning, Pomeranz may have lasted another frame. He had, after all, thrown just 79 pitches.

But even if the Red Sox weren’t immersed in National League rules, you would still probably looking at a five-inning start for Pomeranz, who still hasn’t gotten an out in the seventh inning this season.

So now, after six starts, Pomeranz owns a 5.23 ERA (having jumped up 1.23 earned runs with Tuesday’s stinker). At this time of year, with two good starts, he can probably bring that down to a more palatable level. It’s the innings per outing, however, that should be cause for concern.

Through six starts Pomeranz has totaled just 31 innings, despite giving up two runs or less in four of those games. And, get this: He has gotten outs in the seventh inning just twice since joining the Red Sox last season

The bullpen had made the lack of length manageable before this debacle, with the relievers only giving up just two runs in 17 2/3 innings, leading to Red Sox wins in four of Pomeranz’s five starts. But having to lean on that group that much is usually going to catch up to you, as was evident this time around.

Perhaps the pitcher who it is most exposing is Heath Hembree, who for much of the season has been blessing for Farrell in the moments leading up to Matt Barnes, Robby Scott and Craig Kimbrel. But now you have a pitcher who has allowed at least one hit in each of his last eight appearances. And this time it was more than just one hit.

After a clean inning from Fernando Abad, Hembree allowed the Brewers to turn back what had been a pretty decent Red Sox comeback (crawling with a pair of runs). The righty reliever would giving up three runs on three hits, getting just one out. That thinned out the Red Sox’ bullpen further, leading to Ben Taylor’s two-run eighth inning.

So why is Pomeranz unable to take some of the heat off his relievers?

This time around, the lefty clearly didn’t have his good fastball, leading to just two strikeouts. This is a guy who has been able to put away his fair share of batters, striking out six or more in all but one of his previous starts.

But despite the strikeouts, Pomeranz isn’t seemingly managing to miss enough bats, only getting swings and misses on about 22 percent of his pitches. Compare that to Chris Sale (35.1 percent), Eduardo Rodriguez (33.8) and even sinkerballer Rick Porcello (24.1) and you get the idea. And for Pomeranz, that’s down two percent from a year ago.

In short, too many foul balls, and too many pitches per inning (up two per frame from last season). That is leading to a pitcher who simply isn’t giving his bullpen a break.

Shattering Perceptions Game Note Image

Mookie Betts claimed four hits, including a home run to lead off the game. Betts is now 7-for-15 (.467) with a 1.596 OPS since being moved into the leadoff spot three games ago.

Tuesday Red Sox Farm Report: Sam Travis homers for PawSox; Kevin McAvoy tosses 7 shutout innings for Portland

05.09.17 at 9:38 am ET
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Sam Travis homered for the PawSox on Monday. (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

Sam Travis homered for the PawSox on Monday. (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

Here is what happened in the Red Sox farm system on Monday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (14-13): W, 3-0 vs. Scranton W/B

— Hector Velazquez gave the PawSox a solid outing, as the right-hander tossed 6 1/3 shutout innings while scattering three hits, walking two and striking out four. He now has a 1.23 ERA this season.

— Out of the bullpen, Brandon Workman threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings and then Blaine Boyer pitched got the last out in the eighth and the ninth to earn the save.

— Sam Travis was the star at the plate, as he hit his second home run of the season. The first baseman went 2-for-4 in the game and is now hitting .250 on the season. Third baseman Matt Dominguez also homered in the fourth inning.

— Brock Holt served as the designated hitter in a rehab game as he works his way back from vertigo. He went 0-for-4 in the game.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (15-11): L, 2-0 vs. Binghamton

— Despite the loss, starter Kevin McAvoy was outstanding on the mound. The right-hander tossed seven shutout innings, while scattering two hits, walking one and striking out six.

— Reliever Austin Maddox took the loss as he allowed two runs in the ninth inning.

— At the plate, the Sea Dogs recorded just four hits as a team. Josh Tobias, Mike Olt, Nick Longhi and Joseph Monge all hit safely.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (19-11): Scheduled off-day

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (20-10): W, 4-3 vs. Augusta

— Starter Darwinzon Hernandez retired the first 13 batters he faced until he allowed an infield single with one out in the fifth inning and things went downhill from there. He finished the night going 5 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on two hits, while walking two and striking out six.

— After Augusta tied the game at three in the sixth, the Drive pulled ahead for good in the bottom half of the inning on a Bobby Dalbec sacrifice fly.

— Left fielder Tyler Hill and first baseman Mitchell Gunsolus each picked up two hits at the plate.

Read More: darwinzon hernandez, kevin mcavoy, sam travis,

Pedro Martinez says fan who reportedly yelled racial slur at Adam Jones ‘isn’t a true Bostonian’

05.08.17 at 3:52 pm ET
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Pedro Martinez says he's always felt comfortable at Fenway Park. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

Pedro Martinez says he’s always felt comfortable at Fenway Park. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

In the aftermath of the Adam Jones incident last week, several black baseball players talked about their experiences at Fenway Park. One of the most beloved Red Sox players of all-time, Pedro Martinez, weighed in during a recent interview with Sports Illustrated.

When asked about Jones’ allegation that fans yelled the N-word at him a “handful” of times, Martinez said he was surprised to hear the news.

“Fenway [is] a place where I feel more comfortable than any other place, more than my own house,” he said. “Honestly, I could take a nap in centerfield and feel that I am right at home, so it shocks me a great deal that Adam Jones was called something like that at my field. I don’t think that is someone who belongs at Fenway, at my field. He is not a true Bostonian. The true Bostonians support their people, regardless of who they are, and they are great people and I’m proud of my Bostonians. I’m extremely shocked that someone used Fenway Park to offend the feelings of all of us, including Adam Jones.”

Other black players have different perceptions of Fenway. Yankees hurler CC Sabathia, for example, said it’s the only place he’s ever been called the N-word in his professional career. Last week, two fans told WEEI.com they saw Jones get taunted with a racial slur at a game in 2013.

The Red Sox also banned a fan for life last week after he directed a racial slur towards another person in the stands.

Read More: Adam Jones, Boston Red Sox, pedro martinez,

Red Sox explain how they’re enforcing lifetime ban against fan who used racial slur

05.08.17 at 1:51 pm ET
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The Red Sox banned a fan for life from Fenway Park last week. (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

The Red Sox banned a fan for life from Fenway Park last week. (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

Following the Adam Jones incident last week, the Red Sox released a statement touting the team’s zero tolerance policy towards offensive language at Fenway Park. The strict edict was put into practice Wednesday, when club president Sam Kennedy announced a fan had received a lifetime ban for directing a racial slur towards another person in attendance.

In a phone conversation with WEEI.com Monday, Red Sox spokeswoman Zineb Curran answered some of the lingering questions from last week’s events, including how the team plans to enforce the lifetime ban against the fan in question.

“We informed this person verbally and in writing, and we’ve also flagged their credit card from being able to purchase tickets from the organization moving forward,” she said. “Key security personnel are aware of who the individual is. What we’re not doing is posting this person’s picture and name at every gate. That’s not something we’re doing. We know this isn’t a perfect or infallible system. And we recognize that enforcing it will be a difficult thing to do. But if the person is willing to take a risk and come back to the ballpark, there are actions that can be taken if they’re caught.”

Those actions could include calling the police and charging the fan with trespassing.

Freelance writer Calvin Hennick, who reported the fan to security, told the Boston Globe he was at the game with his six-year-old son and father-in-law, both of whom are black. According to Hennick, a “middle-aged white man” leaned over to him and used a racial slur to describe the rendition of the national anthem, which was sung by a Kenyan woman.

When describing the incident to reporters, Kennedy said the team reserves the right to ban any fan “engaging in intolerant behavior,” including homophobic and sexist remarks. While the Red Sox intend to enforce the hardline policy, Curran said the team will also use discretion when appropriate.

“[Zero tolerance] applies to all violations of our code of conduct,” she explained. “That includes forms of hate speech. It’s not just a race issue, and it does apply to a variety of other violations as well. It’s not just the use of certain words. But we’ll evaluate those incidents on a case-by-case basis and determine in each case what the best course of action may be.”

Author’s Note: This post was updated to include information about what actions the Red Sox could take against the banned fan if he returns to Fenway Park. 

Read More: Adam Jones, Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park,

Brian Johnson, Rafael Devers take home minor league weekly awards

05.08.17 at 12:40 pm ET
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It was a good week for Brian Johnson. (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

It was a good week for Brian Johnson. (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

It was a good week last week for the Red Sox minor league system.

Left-hander Brian Johnson was named the International League Pitcher of the Week.

Last Tuesday, Johnson tossed eight innings of two-hit, one-run ball to lead the PawSox to a 3-1 road win over Syracuse. The Chiefs mustered only four baserunners against Johnson, who retired 13 straight at one stage, as he lowered his ERA on the year to 2.28 (9th in the International League).

Johnson is 1-0 with a 2.28 ERA in four games for the PawSox this season.

In Double-A, third baseman Rafael Devers was named the Eastern League Player of the Week.

Devers hit .440 (11-for-25) with 4 homers and 10 RBI during a seven-game stretch. The award is the first for a Sea Dogs position player since Andrew Benintendi took home the award for the week of July 25-31, 2016.

In addition, Devers led all Eastern League players in home runs (4), slugging percentage (.920), and OPS (1.420) last week and tied for the league lead in RBIs (10) and total bases (23). For the season, he is hitting .322 (28-for-87), tied for fourth in the league with six homers and 17 RBI.

It’s also worth mentioning Yoan Moncada took home International League Player of the Week honors, as he hit. 500. In six games he had multiple hits four times, including a pair of three-hit performances.

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

Read More: brian johnson, rafael devers,

Former Red Sox Travis Shaw on Bradfo Sho podcast: ‘You want to win the trade’

05.08.17 at 12:20 pm ET
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Travis Shaw (USA Today Sports)

Travis Shaw (USA Today Sports)

Travis Shaw is doing just fine for himself so far with his new team.

The Milwaukee Brewers third baseman is playing every day, hitting .263 with seven homers and an .847 OPS. It was certainly along the lines of what the Brewers were looking for when trading reliever Tyler Thornburg to the Red Sox for Shaw and minor leaguers Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington. (Note: Thornburg hasn’t pitched this season, recovering from a right shoulder injury.)

With Shaw getting ready to take on his former team in a three-game series in Milwaukee, Shaw joined the Bradfo Sho podcast to discuss a variety of topics including his motivation after being dealt from the organization that selected him in 2011 draft.

(10:50) “Yeah, I think that happens with everybody,” said Shaw when asked about proving the Red Sox wrong. “You want to win the trade. Everybody is a competitor. I’m a competitor. Obviously going into this year there’s some determination to kind of prove that I’m an everyday player again because I lost that spot at the end of last year. Along with proving I’m an everyday player again. When the trade happens, that’s something I take personally, not personally, but I really wanted to establish as an everyday third baseman again and obviously just win the trade.”

Shaw also offers honest insight into his ups and downs during 2016, a season in which he beat out Pablo Sandoval for the starting third base position only to become a part-time player as the year unfolded.

The lefty hitter discussed some of the challenges that he learned was part of playing in Boston, along with identifying the moment that proved most difficult for him.

(11:50) “Not worrying about what’s out of my control,” he said when asked what he is better at now than a year ago. “I read a lot of stuff last year and concerned myself with little mini-slumps. I don’t know if the Boston media had anything to do with that. You struggle for three or four days and you’re like, ‘What’s going on?’ I learned to ignore the noise from the outside and not change the way I prepare. It worked for me at the beginning of the year. It worked for me in spring training. Stay with the basics. Stay with what I know I need to do to prepare every day. Going through the struggles and losing your starting spot, everything. A lot of that was a little bit of a reality check and it’s going to keep me hungry this year. I think with experience comes consistency. Consistency isn’t something you can practice or teach. It just comes with more and more reps and more and more time.”

As for the instance that highlighted the most powerful lesson he learned, Shaw pointed to a trade the Red Sox made on July 7.

(13:19) “It wasn’t an article. It was a trade,” he noted. “It was when the Red Sox acquired Aaron Hill. At the time I was struggling for a two or three period, four-week period, whatever that was. I wasn’t playing like I was in April and May. At the same time, my numbers, I thought personally were … I’m hitting sixth or seventh in the order at the time. I think I was on pace for 20-plus homers, drive in 80-plus at the bottom half of the order. They make that trade and I stop playing every day. I was like, ‘Why? What’s going on?’ I understand that I was struggling at the time. But I think that’s when I got caught up in, ‘Why did they make that trade?’ Then it was like try to do more and keep that spot to play every day and it spiraled out of control.

“You have to be careful in those situations. You keep a lot in. A lot runs through your head at those times. You’re like, ‘What’s going on?’ ‘What were they thinking?’ That’s when you start looking at stuff you can’t control because that’s out of your control every day. Torey was a big part of keeping me sane in the second of the season last year. I had numerous conversation with him during BP and the second half of the season. That’s when it kind of spiraled out of control, reading into stuff. Once that stuff started happening, thinking ‘Why is this going on?’ That’s when you start lose track of who you are as a player.”


Red Sox 17, Twins 6: Chris Sale gets a season’s worth of run support in one start, thanks to huge ninth inning

05.07.17 at 5:59 pm ET
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Red Sox center fielder Andrew Benintendi (16) celebrates with shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) after a 2-run homer against the Twins on Sunday. (Bruce Kluckhohn/USA Today Sports)

Red Sox center fielder Andrew Benintendi (16) celebrates with shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) after a 2-run homer against the Twins on Sunday. (Bruce Kluckhohn/USA Today Sports)

The Red Sox beat the Twins in the closest 17-6 game in baseball history on Sunday.

Don’t let the final score fool you. This one was a ballgame until the Red Sox exploded for 10 runs in the ninth after closer Craig Kimbrel had stranded the tying run at third with one out in the eighth.

Chris Sale started and looked like his dominant self for four innings before allowing an uncharacteristic four runs in the fifth.

The Red Sox offense, backed by five homers, finally picked up some slack for the ace left-hander, who had received comically low levels of run support entering the game.

And then, with the Twins rallying in the eighth, Kimbrel came in and slammed the door with a pair of strikeouts.

At that point, it was very much a game. The Twins had the tying run at third with one out in the eighth when manager John Farrell summoned Kimbrel, who has had his struggles in multi-inning outings since joining the club. He battled Friday night’s walk-off hero, Joe Mauer, for eight pitches before striking him out looking at a borderline curveball. That’s all he needed to get locked in, because he blew away Max Kepler on three fastballs.

The Red Sox then exploded in the top of the ninth, turning a 7-6 nail-biter into a 17-6 laugher by batting around  and scoring 10 times.

That means the Red Sox have now set their season highs in runs each of the last two games, with 11 in Saturday’s win before Sunday’s overwhelming ninth to put it away.

Offensive heroes were everywhere. Sandy Leon homered twice. Dustin Pedroia, Andrew Benintendi, and Mookie Betts added long balls of their own.

Is it possible the Red Sox are finally figuring out their offense? Farrell has pushed buttons up and down the lineup. He benched Leon in favor of Christian Vazquez, and Leon has responded with three homers and five hits in his last two games. He has given struggling center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. a break, and backup outfielder Chris Young delivered two hits and two RBIs on Sunday.

He moved Betts (3-for-6) to leadoff and Benintendi (2-for-4, 2 RBIs) to cleanup. The result: 16 hits on Saturday and another 15 on Sunday.

That’s what it looks like when the Red Sox click on all cylinders. Maybe they’re finally hitting their stride, with Sunday’s win one of their most satisfying of the season.

Shattering Perceptions Game Note Image

Sale’s ERA climbed to 1.92, but he was still more than effective. He struck out 10 and allowed only four hits, earning his second win of the season.

Read More: chris sale, Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox, Twins
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