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Red Sox lineup: Mike Napoli sits, Daniel Nava at first vs. LHP Mark Buehrle 08.15.13 at 3:27 pm ET
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Daniel Nava

Daniel Nava

One day after his two-run, ninth-inning homer sent the game into extra innings, Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli will sit for the series finale against the Blue Jays and left-handed starter Mark Buehrle. Though Napoli typically would represent a player whom the Sox tried to get into the lineup against a southpaw, he has relatively modest numbers (.211/.273/.368) against Buehrle, while Nava is 2-for-6 with a homer against the veteran.

Ryan Lavarnway will be behind the plate for Jake Peavy‘s third start with the Red Sox. Lavarnway will bat seventh.

For complete batter vs. starting pitcher histories, click here. For comprehensive Red Sox coverage, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.

RED SOX LINEUP

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF

Shane Victorino, RF

Dustin Pedroia, 2B

David Ortiz, DH

Jonny Gomes, LF

Stephen Drew, SS

Ryan Lavarnway, C

Daniel Nava, 1B

Will Middlebrooks, 3B

Jake Peavy, SP

Ben Cherington discusses Cuban defector Jose Abreu 08.15.13 at 10:01 am ET
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Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, in an interview on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show, was asked for a scouting report on first baseman Jose Abreu, one of the most renowned sluggers in the history of Cuban baseball who recently defected to Haiti.

Abreu, 26, is months away from being open for bidding to the highest paying big league team, as he needs to establish residency in a country and then get cleared to play by both Major League Baseball and the U.S. government. But, given that the Sox do not have an everyday first baseman signed beyond this year (Mike Napoli is wrapping up a one-year deal and will be free-agent eligible again; Daniel Nava and Mike Carp are under team control, but neither has been an everyday first baseman for the Sox), the potential fit of a player like Abreu is apparent.

Cherington, however, could offer little information on Abreu, who will be eligible for unfettered free agency — costing the team that acquires him only money rather than a draft pick. Abreu hit .382 with a .535 OBP, .735 slugging mark, 13 homers, 37 walks and 21 strikeouts in 42 games while playing for Cienfuegos in the Cuban Serie Nacional season.

“I can’t give you much of a scouting report,” Cherington said of Abreu. “We just don’t know him well enough yet. And of course until he’s gone through the process of getting cleared and all that, there’s really not much to say. As with any player that comes out of Cuba and has a chance to help us, we’ll certainly do the work that we need to do. In a few months, I may be able to answer that question better. But the numbers in Cuba certainly were impressive.”

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Red Sox minor league roundup: Impressive showing for Xander Bogaerts at third; Deven Marrero’s solid debut; big day for Travis Shaw; Brian Johnson dominates 08.14.13 at 12:16 pm ET
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A brief look at the action in the Red Sox system on Tuesday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 5-1 WIN VS. LOUISVILLE (REDS)

(BOX)

First baseman Travis Shaw (Salem Red Sox)

First baseman Travis Shaw went 4-for-4 in Portland on Tuesday. (Salem Red Sox)

– Catcher David Ross, whose rehab moved to Pawtucket after a pair of games with Portland, went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts on Tuesday. However, he successfully caught knuckleballer Charlie Haeger for five innings without a passed ball and he also combined with Haeger to gun down burner Billy Hamilton on a stolen base attempt. One observer had Ross with a 1.92 second time on his throw from home to second, and with Haeger having gotten the ball to the plate in 1.17 seconds, Hamilton — who is second this year in the minors with 69 steals — had no shot.

Xander Bogaerts had his eighth start at third base in 55 games since his promotion from Double-A Portland, and went 3-for-4 (all singles) while also playing a solid defensive game that included a 5-4-3 double play (described by PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina to reporters, including Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, as “outstanding”) and an impressive play in which he backhanded a ball behind the third base bag and offered a considerable display of arm strength to gun down the runner at first.

Though Bogaerts is learning third base, the undertaking has not impacted his offense adversely. In his eight games at that position, he’s hitting .355/.429/.548 in 35 plate appearances. He’s hitting .270/.349/.425 as a shortstop.

– Outfielder/1B Alex Hassan added to a recent hot stretch, going 2-for-2 with a pair of singles and two walks in four plate appearances. In his last five games, he’s hitting .467/.619/.467. Interestingly, all eight of his outs during the stretch have come via strikeout. On the year, he’s now hitting .315/.430/.461.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 5-2 WIN AT ALTOONA (PIRATES)

(BOX)

– In his Double-A debut, Deven Marrero went 2-for-4 with a walk. It was his fourth multi-hit game in his last six contests (with the first three having come with High-A Salem before his promotion), a span in which the 2012 first-rounder is hitting .409/.552/.545. In 86 combined games between the two levels this year, the 22-year-old is now hitting .259/.345/.336 — numbers that are largely in line with the .268/.358/.374 he posted in a 64-game pro debut last year with Lowell. Read the rest of this entry »

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Koji Uehara reaches guaranteed 2014 contract option with 55th appearance 08.14.13 at 7:40 am ET
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Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara

Red Sox closer Koji Uehara earned more than a win on Tuesday night. With the 38-year-old’s 55th appearance of the season — a 1 1/3 inning scoreless effort in which he retired all four batters he faced and struck out one — Uehara reached a vesting option that calls for him to return to the Red Sox in 2014 for a $4.25 million deal, with incentives that could push the value of the deal to $5 million based on the number of games he finishes.

The Sox certainly won’t complain about the prospect of another year from the pitcher who has emerged as their closer, as Uehara has been one of the most dominant relievers in baseball this year. He has a 1.32 ERA with 75 strikeouts and just nine walks in 54 1/3 innings. Among American League pitchers with at least 50 innings, Uehara is the league leader in strikeouts per nine innings (12.35), ERA, strikeout-to-walk rate (8.3-to-1), WHIP (0.68), opponents’ batting average (.147) and opponents’ OBP (.190).

“He is more than deserving,” manager John Farrell told reporters of Uehara’s vesting option. “He’s been an outstanding pitcher for us from Day 1. We don’t’ forsee that changing because of the competitor he is and how talented he is and how he prepares. He’s done one hell of a job in the roles that he has filled.”

Red Sox minor league roundup: Taking stock of Mookie Betts’ breakout year; Daniel McGrath recognized; progress for Henry Ramos 08.13.13 at 10:32 am ET
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A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Monday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: OFF DAY

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: OFF DAY

– Shortstop Deven Marrero has been promoted to Portland and will make his Sea Dogs debut on Tuesday. More on the 22-year-old’s move up the ladder here.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 7-3 LOSS AT WILMINGTON (ROYALS)

(BOX)

Mookie Betts is 32-for-34 in stolen base attempts this year. (John Corneau/Lowell Spinners)

Mookie Betts is 32-for-34 in stolen base attempts this year. (John Corneau/Lowell Spinners)

– Though Mookie Betts went 0-for-2 to end his nine-game hitting streak, the 20-year-old coaxed a pair of walks, giving him as many walks (14) as strikeouts since his promotion to High-A Salem last month. In his last 10 contests with Salem, the 20-year-old is hitting .394/.512/.606, improving his overall line in 31 games with Salem to .278/.363/.463 with 14 steals in as many attempts after successfully swiping another bag on Monday.

On the year, between Greenville and Salem, the 2011 fifth-rounder is now hitting .291/.403/.473 with 12 homers, 43 extra-base hits and 32 steals. Of the 88 players with 25 or more steals for full-season minor league affiliates this year, Betts leads them all with a 94.1 percent success rate on his stolen base attempts, having gone 32-for-34. Of that group, he’s also tied for ninth in homers on the year. In short, in a year where he was two years younger than the average position player in Single-A and three years younger than the average player in the Carolina League, Betts has distinguished himself this year with one of the most impressive combinations of speed, power and plate discipline, a player whose across-the-board skill set projects to make him a valuable big leaguer.

– After a scorching mid-summer stretch, outfielder Henry Ramos has lapsed into less consistent results, but he nonetheless continues to show progress compared to where he was a year ago. The 21-year-old went 1-for-5 with a double on Monday, with the two-bagger representing his 37th extra-base hit of the year — one more than he had in 122 games in 2012 while playing in a more favorable hitting environment in Greenville. A few markers of his progress this year: Ramos has bumped up his walk rate from 8.9 percent in 2012 to 11.0 percent this year; his strikeout rate has dipped from 20.4 to 18.8 percent; and he’s collecting extra-base hits in 8.0 percent of plate appearances, up from 7.3 percent last year. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ryan Kalish to undergo another surgery; hoping for spring 2014 return 08.12.13 at 10:07 pm ET
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Ryan Kalish will undergo season-ending surgery on Tuesday. (AP)

Ryan Kalish will undergo season-ending surgery on Tuesday. (AP)

The Red Sox announced that outfielder Ryan Kalish will undergo cervical fusion surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that repairs damaged areas of the vertebral column in the neck. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles, the same orthopedist who performed season-ending surgery on his neck at the end of the 2011 season.

According to multiple sources familiar with the situation, Kalish, 25, plans to continue to pursue a playing career after this latest surgery. The recovery time should permit him to be healthy, barring a setback, by spring training in 2014. Still, this latest health issue continues a staggering run of injuries that have largely cost the outfielder the last three years of his career.

In 54 big league games as a 22-year-old rookie in 2010, Kalish hit .252/.305/.405 with four homers and 10 steals. However, he opened 2011 in Triple-A Pawtucket after the Sox signed Carl Crawford during the prior offseason. In April that year, he suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder while making a diving catch. During the rehab, he first encountered the neck woes that would necessitate surgery with Watkins at the end of that season. Then, following the year, he had another procedure to repair the labrum. Read the rest of this entry »

Deven Marrero moves up to Double-A Portland 08.12.13 at 1:31 pm ET
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According to multiple industry sources, shortstop Deven Marrero — the Red Sox’ top first-round pick (No. 24 overall) in the 2012 draft — will be promoted from High-A Salem to Double-A Portland on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old went 1-for-4 with his second homer of the year for Salem on Sunday. He’s moved beyond an 0-for-15 rut to start this month by going 7-for-18 (.389) with six walks and three strikeouts in his last five contests, improving his season-long marks to .256/.341/.334. Given his experience as an elite college performer at Arizona State, the fact that he has posted a line score that fails to distinguish itself from the league-average offensive line (.254/.333/.381) represents something of a surprise.

Though his offensive numbers appear modest, however, Marrero’s standing as one of the better position prospects in the Sox system is predicated more on his all-around game than on an offense-first profile. The 2012 first-rounder has 21 steals in 23 attempts and he’s looked excellent at short, committing just four errors in 85 games. There’s plenty of room for offensive growth (though it is worth noting that Marrero has posted solid walk rates and strike zone management, taking a free pass in 11.2 percent of plate appearances with whiffs in 16.0 percent of plate appearances), but the overall maturity of his game would appear to lend itself to challenging Marrero at a higher level.

News of the promotion was first reported by Will Woodward of SoxProspects.com.

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