|07.08.11 at 9:28 pm ET|
Despite leading 8-3, and having thrown just 68 pitches, Josh Beckett left Friday’s game against the Orioles after five innings after slipping on a wet mound at Fenway and suffering a mildly hyperextended left knee. The Red Sox say he left for precautionary reasons.
Beckett’s plant foot slipped after throwing Ball 1 to Felix Pie. Red Sox manager Terry Francona and trainer Greg Barajas came racing out of the dugout to look at their star ace, who is leading the staff with a 7-3 mark and a 2.12 ERA. Beckett stayed in the game but was not as effective as he had been in throwing four shutout innings and leading, 8-0.
He eventually walked Pie and Robert Andino, both of whom came around to score as Beckett surrendered RBI singles to Nick Markakis and Adam Jones. Derrick Leeopened the fifth with a mammoth homer off the Volvo sign in left.
Beckett missed over a month last year with a sore back when he slipped on a wet Yankee Stadium mound. Matt Albers, who relieved the injured Jon Lester on Tuesday, came on to pitch the sixth for the Red Sox.
|07.08.11 at 9:23 pm ET|
The Red Sox have agreed to terms with a pair of 16-year-old Dominican prospects, according to team Senior Vice President of Player Personnel and International Scouting Craig Shipley. Shortstop Raymer Flores and right-hander Deoscar Romero both have agreed to terms with the Sox; the contracts will become official tomorrow, when the two players sign their contracts. Romero will receive a $600,000 bonus. ESPNDeportes.com reports that Flores will receive a $900,000 bonus.
The Sox view Flores, a switch-hitter, as a player whose advanced defensive skills will allow him to play shortstop. Shipley said that “for his age, he is a very, very good young hitter.”
Baseball America lists Flores, 16, as a 5-foot-9, 155-pound player who is expected to fill out as he matures physically. In Flores and Manuel Marcos, a center fielder who reached an agreement for an $800,000 bonus last week, the Sox have signed a pair of highly athletic players with middle-of-the-field defensive skills and advanced offensive approaches for their young ages.
Romero, meanwhile, is a 6-foot-3 right-handed pitcher who throws 89-91 mph who turned 16 in April. He also features a curveball and changeup, with the curve being considered the more advanced pitch. He has an advanced delivery for his age.
“He is very young and moldable,” said Shipley. “And he is very projectable.”
|07.08.11 at 8:43 pm ET|
It has been a couple of days since Triple-A right-hander Kyle Weiland received word that he would be making his major league debut on Sunday for the Red Sox against the Baltimore Orioles. The 24-year-old, a third-round pick of the Sox in 2008, has been sitting uncomfortably on the news for a couple of days, unable to share it with anyone — including his wife and family.
But the decision to have Weiland start on Sunday became public on Friday, and the right-hander — who is 8-6 with a 3.00 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 93 innings for the PawSox — admitted to PawSox play-by-play man Dan Hoard that he is elated for the opportunity.
“It’s something that I’ve been working for for a long time. It’s everybody’s dream and goal since they were little kids,” said Weiland. “The fact that I’m getting the opportunity on Sunday is a tremendous honor, and I’m really excited about it. I can’t wait for it.”
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said that the Red Sox are excited about the opportunity to call up a pitcher who has had as good a first three months of the season as anyone in the organization. Weiland has shown a four-pitch mix — a heavy, sinking two-seam fastball, a swing-and-miss curveball that he uses to both sides of the plate, a cutter that has become a difference-maker for him against left-handers and a changeup — to perform with tremendous consistency. Read the rest of this entry »
|07.08.11 at 7:05 pm ET|
Josh Beckett will look to close out his All-Star first half with a bang against the Orioles. He is 7-3 with a 2.12 ERA, in what has arguably been his best half-season ever. The Sox are 11-5 when he’s taken the mound. He’ll oppose left-hander Zach Britton.
For all the latest news, updates and analysis from the game, join the live blog, below.
|07.08.11 at 6:22 pm ET|
“We saw him run balls down this spring in BP and he was doing it [well],’ Francona said. ‘A lot of guys do do it. But it seemed like – as an organization – maybe we ought to think about doing this. We wanted him to get his feet on the ground in Triple-A first. He started out hitting real well and then he got hurt. Then they moved him to both left and then right. They say he’s been really good.”
Indeed, Navarro handled 27 chances without an error in the outfield.
“He’s got a good clock, defensively, like when the ball’s hit to him at short or third, and it helps to have a arm like that,” Francona said. “You never see him rush, he’s got a real good idea, a real good awareness of where the runner is. And it seems like that’s translated to the outfield, also.’
Clocking is something the Red Sox have seen Navarro do with the bat, hitting .286 with one homer in two starts at short and one at third base.
He hit .283 last year with Pawtucket before being called up in August, collecting just six hits in 42 at-bats. He was off to a hot start this year with the PawSox before a strained oblique forced him to miss time. When he came back, the Red Sox wanted to see if what they saw in the spring would translate to games that counted. So, the PawSox played him in the outfield 11 times, including eight times in right, three in left and once in center.
Francona said he’s not worried about Navarro learning how to play the Green Monster behind him.
“It’s his first time but he’s a really good athlete so no more than anybody else,’ Francona said.
Navarro has been a work-in-progress for the Red Sox, a player with loads of raw talent, both at the plate and in the field but Francona said is being very careful not to overload the 23-year-old native of the Dominican Republic about his aggressive hitting approach.
“He’s kind of a hard guy,’ Francona said. ‘He doesn’t speak a ton of English and I don’t know how comfortable he is in the early part of his career here opening up too much. Last year when he got cold and he swung at everything in sight and he was nervous and trying to be too aggressive. Just harness that a little bit because if he does he’s got great bat speed, a little bit like [Josh] Reddick. That ball comes off his bat like something special.”
Meanwhile, Francona confirmed that Clay Buchholz will throw on Sunday for the first time to test his strained lower back, which received a cortisone injection this week. Francona, however, said the team is still a ways from committing to a timetable for a post-All Star return.
‘We’ll send him home because we don’t want him throwing on his own too much without supervision,’ Francona said of the plan following Sunday’s flat-ground session. ‘When we get back, hopefully we can get him on that throwing program and ramp him up a little bit but again, it’s all going to be according to how he feels.”
|07.08.11 at 4:56 pm ET|
Righthander Kyle Weiland will make his major league debut on Sunday in the pre-All Star break finale against the Orioles at Fenway Park. The 24-year-old will be taking the place of Jon Lester in the Red Sox rotation, as Lester went on the disabled list this week with a left lat strain suffered in Tuesday’s start against the Blue Jays.
One of the factors figuring in for the Red Sox is that Weiland will be well-rested, having come off an impressive start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday, allowing six hits and two runs over 6 2/3 innings against Rochester in a win over the Red Wings.
“He’s really been doing well,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said in making the announcement before Friday’s game. “So as much as has gone wrong with some health, this is the flip side where it’s really exciting. Kind of looking forward to it.”
Weiland is 6-2 this season, with a 2.33 ERA in 10 starts. He impressed the Red Sox in spring training with his live arm and earned his first big league assignment by showing consistent control at Triple-A, striking out 59 and walking 19 in 58 innings for Pawtucket.
The Red Sox decided not to go with Alfredo Aceves, who has already made four spot starts for the Red Sox this season.
“We certainly could’ve but again, the way our bullpen is situated, he gives us such a luxury of pitching short, pitching long and again, he may start again sometime but this kid is lined up and has been pretty hot and would like send him out there and see how he does,” Francona said.
The team also passed on Kevin Millwood as an option, which would’ve meant calling him up from Triple-A and adding him to the 40-man roster.
Francona has been a big believer in the Red Sox rookie development program, held every winter in Boston to teach young players the Red Sox way. Weiland is a product of that program.
‘He went through our rookie development program, and that’s good, too,’ Francona said. ‘But he’s throwing the ball really well, missing a lot of bats. He’s come up with a cutter along with his breaking ball and fastball, he’s having a lot of success there. He came to camp this spring, which is good, because now that it’s time for him to pitch he won’t be introducing himself to everybody. I’m sure he’ll have butterflies and be nervous but guys know who he is and our catchers have caught him.
“He’s just starting to mature and sometimes that happens at different rates but he’s always had a good arm.’
|07.08.11 at 3:54 pm ET|
Former Red Sox player and current MLB Network and NESN analyst Kevin Millar joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday afternoon to talk about the state of the Red Sox. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
With floundering outfielder Mike Cameron shipped off to Florida, J.D. Drew has taken even more criticism for his lack of production this season. When asked what he would do with the struggling 35-year-old, Millar stepped into the role of general manager.
“I would call the Mets if I’m Theo [Epstein],” Millar said. “This is just me. I’m being the GM. Theo’s my assistant now. I call the Mets, I say, ‘Hey Sandy [Alderson]. You take my stuff, I’ll take your stuff, your dead weight.’ J.D. Drew is dead weight for me, and I’ll take Carlos Beltran right now because I think he can help me in a run down the second half of the season. You’ve heard the Mets trying to get rid of Beltran the last couple of years.
“That’s what I try to do. I try to get creative, because the bottom line is ‘ I mean, personally, I like J.D. Drew. He’s a nice human being. He’s just a nice man, but it’s hard for me to watch sometimes.”
Added Millar: “He’s a talented kid, but I think we’ve waited around. He should have been 30 [home runs] and 100 [RBIs] for the last 10 years. You’re never going to see it. He plays good defense. He’s got a good eye. He gets on base. But .230 and whatever it is in right field, there’s got to be an adjustment.”
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