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Shane Victorino takes first steps back from ‘frustrating’ season-opening stint on the disabled list

04.09.14 at 5:04 pm ET
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Shane Victorino has been doing little chest-thumping since being afflicted with the flu. (AP)

Shane Victorino has been doing little chest-thumping since being afflicted with the flu. (AP)

The start of the 2014 season has been unkind to Shane Victorino.

The outfielder thought he had timed his recovery from a variety of afflications — offseason thumb surgery, core strengthening, then soreness in his left side — at a pace that had him ready for Opening Day. But then, in the final game of the spring, hours before the Red Sox broke camp from Fort Myers, he suffered a hamstring strain. He flew with the team to Baltimore, but the next day, he had to jump on a subsequent flight to Boston for an MRI that revealed a Grade 1 hamstring strain and an Opening Day placement on the DL. He flew back down to Baltimore in hopes of at least being with the team for the Opening Day introductions and the visit to the White House.

On that return flight, however, Victorino came down with a brutal case of the flu that left him bedridden for most of the week, unable to take part in Opening Day or the White House reception at which President Barack Obama saluted Victorino, his fellow native of Hawaii. He was bedridden and quarantined from his teammates, and didn’t even have the energy to watch the visit on TV.

“I didn’t get to see it. Those first three or four days was awful. Other than the energy to watch the game, that was all I had in me,” Victorino, who dropped 8-12 pounds during the illness, grimaced. “It was brutal. I wish this upon nobody, I’ll put it that way. I don’t want nobody to have the flu I had.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox vs. Rangers Wednesday afternoon live blog

04.09.14 at 3:45 pm ET
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The Red Sox will try to salvage a series against the Rangers at Fenway Park before they hit the road for their first encounter of the series with the Yankees. For the latest news, analysis and updates from the pressbox, join the live blog below:

 

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John Farrell: ‘Ideal script’ for Brandon Workman would keep him in the rotation

04.09.14 at 3:26 pm ET
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Brandon Workman got optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket following his strong outing on Tuesday night. (AP)

Brandon Workman got optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket following his strong outing on Tuesday night. (AP)

With reliever Craig Breslow being activated from the disabled list prior to Wednesday’€™s game, Brandon Workman, who delivered four innings of one-run ball in long relief on Tuesday, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Workman, who made two starts in spring training, will be stretched out as a starter in Pawtucket.

Manager John Farrell said that the right-hander will slot into the PawSox rotation and will likely make his first start on Monday. After tossing 50 pitches in Tuesday’€™s outing, he’€™s expected to go five or six innings as he gradually ups his pitch count.

“€œYou’€™d like to think he’€™s gonna be in that 70-pitch range, hopefully get him through five into the 6th inning,”€ said Farrell. “He’€™s not that far removed from being extended, so he should pick back up here quickly.”

Workman has performed well in his three relief appearances this season, allowing just one earned run and four hits over 6 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out seven. But the Red Sox prefer to stretch Workman out as a starter who could make a spot start if the opportunity arises.

“This is someone who’s pitched well, whether it was last year in either role, or the three appearances he’€™s made so far this year,” said Farrell. “€œWe fully expect him to be back up here at some point and he’€™ll contribute some big innings for us.”

The Red Sox would like to keep Workman in the rotation for the time being, even if there’€™s a need in the bullpen.

“€œAs he goes back to starting, that’€™s where we need to be careful of changing the role again,”€ said Farrell. “€œIf we could script it, he’€™d remain as a starter, and if the need were to arise he’€™d be back here pitching for us in that role.”

Workman will likely make his first start on Monday night in Rochester against the Twins’€™ Triple-A affiliate, the Red Wings.

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Wednesday’s pregame notes: Red Sox contemplating outfield of Jackie Bradley Jr., Grady Sizemore, Shane Victorino

04.09.14 at 3:20 pm ET
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Grady Sizemore could move to left field once Shane Victorino is activated. (AP)

Grady Sizemore could move to left field once Shane Victorino is activated. (AP)

Once Shane Victorino works his way back from a hamstring injury (and a case of the flu), the Red Sox outfield may get a little crowded. Both Jackie Bradley Jr. and Grady Sizemore have been playing well, and manager John Farrell said that the Red Sox are contemplating scenarios that would feature all three of those outfielders once Victorino is activated, given the possibility boost such a grouping would have on the team’s run prevention.

“All of those alignments are thought of,” said Farrell. “How we get to that point remains to be seen with roster adjustments. The one thing that continues to bear out is the outfield defense and placing a premium on that.”

An alignment of Bradley, Sizemore and Victorino would undoubtedly give the Red Sox one of the defensive outfields in the league, but carrying all three would require some roster shuffling, with Daniel Nava, Jonny Gomes and Mike Carp all part of the outfield mix. If Bradley and Sizemore remain in the big leagues when Victorino is activated, the Sox will likely have to make a move to clear one of those other three outfielders off the 25-man roster.

For more on the Sox’ incentive to feature a Sizemore/Bradley/Victorino alignment, click here.

OTHER RED SOX NOTES Read the rest of this entry »

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Buster Olney on M&M: Red Sox believe Jackie Bradley Jr. could be ‘best defensive center fielder in the American League’

04.09.14 at 1:54 pm ET
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Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN MLB insider Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to talk about the Red Sox outfield, Jackie Bradley Jr. and how the Red Sox view him, if Stephen Drew could still return and if A.J. Pierzynski is at risk of losing his job. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

With so many moving parts in the outfield, following Jacoby Ellsbury‘€™s departure to the Yankees, the Red Sox already have seen a variety of lineups there. For Olney, he could see the Red Sox going with Bradley Jr., Shane Victorino (once healthy) and Grady Sizemore.

“They definitely wanted to develop Jackie Bradley Jr. and they believe he is, if not the best defensive center fielder in the American League, they think he could be,”€ Olney said. “They want to get him established. Shane Victorino, has probably played right field better than any Red Sox player since Dwight Evans. Then you put Grady in left and you potentially have a shutdown outfield. I think the biggest question at that time was of course whether Grady was going to hold up, and I think that’€™s going to be a question all season.”

Bradley had a rough spring training, batting .158 and striking out 17 times, losing the starting job to Sizemore. However, because of injuries to Victorino, Bradley quickly got an opportunity again, batting .400 in 20 at-bats. Olney knows that the Red Sox were always confident in Bradley.

“A lot of the doubts that were reflected were in the media based on his performance,”€ Olney said. “€œI know that when you talked to the Red Sox during the winter time about what their plans were, and this is before Grady came into the equation in any serious way, their feeling was like, ‘Look, Jackie Bradley Jr.’€™s got a ton of talent and he’€™s going to do what we like and that’€™s get on base and play great defense at that position.’ I talked to evaluators with other teams during spring training leading up to those two broadcasts we did and they talked about how they thought that Jackie’€™s confidence was down.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox lineup: Another start for Jackie Bradley Jr. as Grady Sizemore sits

04.09.14 at 12:32 pm ET
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Though the Rangers are featuring a left-hander on the mound for the second straight day, Jackie Bradley Jr. is back in the lineup for the Red Sox, in what appears increasingly to be an everyday role in the absence of Shane Victorino. Grady Sizemore has the day off with a day game following a night game, resulting in Bradley getting the start in center and Daniel Nava returning to the lineup in right field. With left-hander Robbie Ross on the hill for the Rangers, Jonny Gomes is playing left and leading off. David Ross is starting behind the plate for right-hander Jake Peavy.

RED SOX LINEUP

Jonny Gomes, LF

Dustin Pedroia, 2B

David Ortiz, DH

Mike Napoli, 1B

Xander Bogaerts, SS

Daniel Nava, RF

Ryan Roberts, 3B

David Ross, C

Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

Jake Peavy, SP

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Red Sox minor league roundup: Allen Webster gets grounded; Salem makes history; puzzling outing for Brian Johnson

04.09.14 at 11:05 am ET
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Right-hander Allen Webster induced 10 groundball outs on Tuesday. (AP)

Right-hander Allen Webster induced 10 groundball outs on Tuesday. (AP)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 7-1 WIN VS. SYRACUSE (NATIONALS)

(BOX)

– Right-hander Allen Webster threw strikes and showed a strong two-seamer over the course of six efficient innings in which he threw 54 of 83 pitches (65 percent) for strikes. Though Webster punched out just three batters (while walking two), he allowed just three hits (a double and two singles) while eliciting 10 groundball outs.

“My fastball command was 10 times better than where it was the last game. I was throwing my off-speed for strikes and they were getting bad contact,” Webster told Brendan McGair of the Pawtucket Times. “I was staying more in line and driving the ball to the spot rather than jerking it.”

Ryan Lavarnway, who had been 0-for-14 in his first four starts of the year, made his first hit of 2014 a resounding one, launching a solo homer to the opposite field in right. Lavarnway once again played first base, making his third start at that position (compared to one each at DH and catcher). Read the rest of this entry »

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