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Lackey: Boos ‘won’t be forgotten, for sure’ 07.28.10 at 2:42 am ET
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Red Sox starter John Lackey, after his first outing in Angel Stadium as a visiting player, made no secret of his displeasure in the face of the wave of boos that greeted him at his former home ballpark. Lackey (10-5), who earned the victory on the strength of 7 2/3 innings in which he allowed two runs on seven hits while matching a season-high with 124 pitches, admitted that there were hurt feelings based on his reception by the fans of a franchise for whom he went 102-71 with a 3.81 ERA over eight seasons.

“Definitely heard a lot of [the boos]. … That won’t be forgotten, for sure,” said Lackey. “Nobody wants to get booed like that. Scoreboard talks the loudest.”

Lackey earned the praise of his teammates for his outstanding performance in a setting that was potentially emotionally charged.

“That’s what happens man. Good players always go to the top of their game when they are facing their ex-team,” said David Ortiz. “Lackey, man, he was on. It was on.”

With his win, Lackey became the third pitcher in the majors to reach 10 or more victories in each of the last eight seasons, joining CC Sabathia and Derek Lowe. Lackey is the only pitcher to accomplish that feat solely in the American League.

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Lowell goes deep three times for Pawtucket 07.28.10 at 12:17 am ET
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Red Sox corner infielder Mike Lowell hit three homers and drove in five in a rehab game for Triple-A Pawtucket against Toledo Mud Hens on Tuesday. It was his fourth rehab game. He is now hitting .471 with three doubles and three homers during his rehab stint.

Lowell became the first PawSox hitter with three homers in a game since both Jonathan Van Every and Brandon Moss accomplished the feat in 2008. Lowell also has a three-homer game to his credit in the majors, having accomplished the feat in 2004 with the Marlins.

Lowell, who played third base on Tuesday, could be activated by the Red Sox as soon as this weekend, when the team returns home.

The performance also no doubt will catch the attention of the teams that have been following the 36-year-old’s rehab. The Tigers scouted Lowell in Pawtucket last week, and the Rangers have been monitoring him as a potential fallback option depending on whether they are able to acquire another player prior to the trade deadline.

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Pedroia told to slow down in efforts to push his recovery 07.27.10 at 8:37 pm ET
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, out since fracturing the navicular bone on his left foot on June 25, visited with Dr. Lewis Yocum on Tuesday. While the 2008 MVP was told that he continues to progress well in his recovery, and remains ahead of schedule, he was also told that he will need to slow down his efforts to push through any discomfort to return to the field.

Pedroia was warned that he must let the injury fully heal before he begins playing. If he does not, then he would risk another, potentially worse break that would threaten the rest of this season and perhaps his future.

“It kind of scared me a little bit,” said Pedroia. “There’s nothing really I can do. It’s just time it’s got to heal. He kind of told me I can’t play unless I feel no pain, which isn’t good. He did say that when I do my next CT-scan, we’ll be able to tell a lot more. Hopefully that’s good. … Where I broke it, I didn’t realize how serious it was and how long it was going to take.

“I thought I could play, that if I feel hurt, you can just play through it. You really can’t do that with this injury. That’s hard to deal with. That bone will break off, then they would have to put pins in it. It would be a disaster. It could go into the offseason and then maybe next year,” he added. “I want to get back more than anyone in the world and play, but I don’t want to do anything stupid where I can never play again. I’ve got to lay out rockets, man.”

Pedroia tried doing some running on Monday, and still felt discomfort at the point of the fracture. Yocum cautioned him that he could not push through that sort of pain, and instead had to avoid activities that led to that sort of discomfort.

After the consulation, Pedroia said that he was unsure what the timetable of his return might be. He is still hoping that he might be able to make it back within the six-week prognosis that he was given (Aug. 6 represents the six-week mark), but he admitted that he was uncertain whether that remains realistic. He will find out more when he undergoes a CT-scan on Friday back in Boston.

“Everything looks great. I’m ahead of schedule. It’s just my schedule and their schedule were a little different,” said Pedroia. “I don’t really know how long it’s going to be. They said six weeks at the start, but I have yet to meet somebody who has come back in six weeks from this injury. I’m trying as hard as I can to do that.”

Pedroia is hitting .292 with a .370 OBP, .502 slugging mark, .871 OPS and 12 homers in 73 games.

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Sources: Sox, Ranaudo have yet to start talks 07.27.10 at 8:08 pm ET
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — According to multiple industry sources, the Red Sox and supplemental first-round draftee Anthony Ranaudo have yet to begin contract negotiations. The right-hander recently concluded a summer pitching for Brewster of the Cape Cod League, having accomplished his goal of demonstrating that he was once again healthy. In 29 2/3 innings for the Whitecaps, he did not allow an earned run while striking out 31, walking eight and allowing just 10 hits.

Ranaudo, who is advised by Scott Boras, entered 2010 regarded as the best college pitcher in the draft, but his stock slipped due to a stress reaction in his right forearm that resulted in both time missed and then a performance setback, as the 6-foot-7 hurler went 5-3 with a 7.32 ERA. That struggle left him available for the Sox with their third overall pick, the 39th in the draft.

After being drafted, Ranaudo went to the Cape and rebounded, showed low- to mid-90s velocity, a strong breaking ball and a changeup. A report in the Cape Cod Times this summer suggested that if he did not receive a bonus commensurate with a top 10 draft pick, the 20-year-old would be willing to return to LSU and re-enter the draft in 2011.

Because Ranaudo is certain to seek an above-slot bonus, any deal would be unlikely to be reached until shortly before the Aug. 16 deadline for picks to sign. Boras and his advisees typically do not begin negotiations until close to that deadline.

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Red Sox bullpen in a state of flux 07.27.10 at 2:26 pm ET
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Clearly, the Red Sox bullpen is in a state of flux.

The team has been exploring the trade market, trying to see if there is a midsummer cure to its middle relief crisis. Thus far, however, signs are not promising that the Sox will match up with the Blue Jays on a deal that might net the most attractive reliever known to be on the market, Scott Downs.

At the same time, the Sox have explored the possibility of dealing some of their current relievers. The Sox have talked with the Mets about the possibility of shipping Ramon Ramirez to Queens, although that, too, appears unlikely to take place, though it is noteworthy that other clubs are viewing a pitcher like Ramirez as a change-of-scenery candidate whose stuff represents a kind of lottery ticket, capable of becoming an impact arm in a new environment.

The Sox are also engaged in a period of internal experimentation. Michael Bowden – currently in Triple-A Pawtucket – is being groomed to work out of the bullpen down the stretch this year. In the interim, the roles of the team’s current middle relievers appear to be in a state of change. In Monday’s 6-3 Red Sox victory over the Angels, the Sox needed just six outs of relief after Clay Buchholz delivered seven innings of one-run ball. Daniel Bard, the most reliable Sox reliever, was unavailable after having thrown in five of the previous seven days.

“As much as we like Bard, our goal is not to have him leading the league in appearances and innings,” manager Terry Francona said later. “Some nights you’ve got to win without him.”

Monday was such a night. Yet instead of turning to longtime mainstays Hideki Okajima or Manny Delcarmen or even Ramirez to start the eighth inning, the Sox went instead to Scott Atchison, whose recent strong performance (9 1/3 innings without allowing an earned run prior to last night) at a time when the aforementioned non-Bard middle relievers have struggled has resulted in a role of growing importance.

Turning to Atchison for the eighth inning may have represented an effort to see whether another member of the bullpen might be able to step up in support of Bard and Jonathan Papelbon, given the significant struggles of both Okajima and Delcarmen. On Monday, the experiment did not work as hoped.

Atchison surrendered a two-run homer to Hideki Matsui, necessitating the entry of Papelbon into the game with two outs in the eighth. Though Papelbon delivered a four-out save – his first save of more than three outs since last September – the Sox were less than thrilled that his services were needed for that duration, particularly given an lengthy top of the ninth that required the closer to stretch and struggle to stay loose in the dugout.

“I’d rather [the save] have been three [outs],” mused Francona. “As soon as the tying run came to the plate, Pap knew he was in the game. Three is a lot better. That’s a long inning in between, a lot of waiting, but sometimes you’ve got to do it.”

Increasingly, as was the case on Monday, the Sox’ management of the bullpen appears to be driven by necessity, rather than choice. That, of course, is an uncomfortable position for a club. That has made the team’s interest in aggressively exploring the market for relievers natural.

It has become, at least in passing, a topic of conversation among players whether the Sox might make a move for a reliever. Asked whether the team needs to make such a move, Bard answered cautiously.

“It’s not my decision to make. We’ve got a good group of arms that when we’re playing up to our full ability, we’ve got a really good bullpen. It’s a matter of finding some more consistency,” said Bard. “Whether or not we have the personnel there to do it is not up to me. I think we have some talented guys who have proven themselves for a long time. If we can get back as a whole like we’re all capable of, I think we’re a really good bullpen. I guess we’ll see in the next few days if they feel like we need some more arms out there.”

The answer is almost certainly that the front office does feel like the team needs more — or perhaps different — arms. The bullpen’s 15 blown saves are tied for the most in the American League, the group’s 4.47 ERA ranks 11th and the 43 homers allowed are easily the most in the AL. So, the desire for change — internal, external or both — is apparent. The next few days will reveal the cost that the team is willing to pay in order to change the group’s composition.

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Pregame Notes: Red Sox vs. Angels, July 26 07.26.10 at 11:09 pm ET
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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Here’s the latest on the injury front:

Victor Martinez came through all of his tests in Seattle without a setback, and so, he was activated for Monday’s game. He has been slotted initially in the sixth spot in the lineup, but that is a temporary measure until the Sox “get him some games under his belt and get him back somewhere in the middle [of the order],” said manager Terry Francona.

Martinez’ return is timely. He entered the night with a career .500 average (8-for-16) against Angels starter Dan Haren, and delivered an RBI single on the first pitch he saw in the top of the second inning. That surpassed the total number of RBIs by Dusty Brown, Gustavo Molina and Kevin Cash in the month of July.

Dustin Pedroia was scheduled to be seen by orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum prior to Monday’s game. For the first time since suffering the fracture of a bone in his left foot on June 25, he did some running prior to Monday’s game.

“I think Pedey was disappointed. I shouldn’t speak for him. But I think he thought he was going to be like game ready,” said Francona. “I don’t know how realistic that was. I think [trainer Mike Reinold] actually thought he did pretty good. Just not ready. That thing’s got to heal.”

–The Sox are likely to have Kevin Cash catch on Wednesday as Martinez works to regain his baseball legs after sitting out for the past four weeks.

“It’s like going into spring training, I don’t know if we would catch somebody three days in a row for nine innings. I don’t know how well that’s going to work for his health,” said Francona.

–Brown was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket to clear a roster spot for Martinez.

–The Sox featured a modified lineup on Monday. With J.D. Drew hitting in the second spot in the order for the second straight game, the Sox nudged David Ortiz down to the cleanup spot and had Kevin Youkilis batting third. In doing so, the Sox spread out their left-handed hitters so that the Angels would not be able to employ reliever Brian Fuentes against back-to-back lefties.

“There’s been some struggles against lefties. They’re better against righties,” said Francona. “Rather than make it easier on the other mananager, try to slide somebody in between.”

Jacoby Ellsbury went 1-for-3 in a rehab game in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League while serving as a designated hitter. The Sox plan to have him play in the outfield on Tuesday. After that, they’ll evaluate him to see whether a reassignment to a higher level (most likely Triple-A Pawtucket) would be appropriate.

“It depends how he does [Tuesday],” said Francona. We’ll see.”

Mike Lowell took Monday off after playing in back-to-back games. He will play again with Pawtucket on Tuesday, and Francona acknowledged that there is a decent chance that he could be activated by Friday.

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Source: Ramirez to Mets ‘probably not going to happen’ 07.26.10 at 10:03 pm ET
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Ramon Ramirez

A major league source confirmed a report by Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com that the Red Sox and Mets discussed a potential deal that would have sent Sox reliever Ramon Ramirez to New York. One of several possibilities discussed, the source said, included sending catcher Rod Barajas (who landed on the disabled list on Monday with a mild left oblique strain) to Boston.

The source said that the two sides had discussed different scenarios (some including Barajas, some not) in a potential swap, but indicated that a deal sending Ramirez to the Mets was “probably not going to happen at this point.”

The talks, which fizzled late last week, were driven chiefly by the Mets’ interest in Ramirez, who is 0-3 with a 4.69 ERA in 42 appearances for the Sox this year, but whose stuff has some clubs believing that he could become more effective with a change of scenery.

Barajas is hitting .228 with a .266 OBP, .419 slugging mark, .685 OPS and 12 homers in 73 games this year.

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