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Red Sox lineup: Brock Holt at third, Daniel Nava in left 08.02.13 at 2:56 pm ET
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One day after his walkoff single to punctuate a spectacular 8-7 comeback victory over the Mariners, Daniel Nava is back in the Red Sox lineup, batting fifth against Arizona right-hander Randall Delgado. Nava is one of just five Red Sox position players to face the Arizona righty, having gone 0-for-1 with a walk in two career plate appearances against him.

Brock Holt will get another start at third base with a right-hander on the mound. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, one day after a rare day off, is back behind the dish to catch Jon Lester.

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

RED SOX LINEUP

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF

Shane Victorino, RF

David Ortiz, DH

Mike Napoli, 1B

Daniel Nava, LF

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C

Stephen Drew, SS

Brock Holt, 3B

Jon Lester, SP

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Red Sox minor league roundup: Xander Bogaerts making strides at third; Blake Swihart keeps impressing; Dan Butler’s home run binge 08.02.13 at 2:25 pm ET
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Dan Butler has been on a home run binge.

Dan Butler has been on a home run binge.

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

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 6-2 LOSS VS. NORFOLK (ORIOLES)

(BOX)

Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-4 with a double to extend his streak of consecutive games on base to 29 during which he is hitting .320/.433/.520 with four homers and eight doubles. Perhaps more significantly, he had his most active game at third base, starting a pair of double plays (one a step-on-third/throw-to-first move, another a round-the-horn double play for his first two twin-killings at the hot corner), getting challenged on a bunt (a single) and getting a number of new experiences under his belt at a position that he is still learning.

– Catcher Dan Butler remained on his midsummer tear, going 1-for-4 while mashing his fifth homer in nine games and 11th of the year. In 38 games since May 27, the 26-year-old, a member of the Sox’ 40-man roster, is hitting .326/.404/.583 with nine homers.

– Right-hander Brock Huntzinger continued his outstanding performance since getting to Pawtucket, tossing 1 2/3 shutout innings, walking one and striking out three. In 24 2/3 innings with the PawSox, he has a 1.82 ERA with 27 strikeouts and 11 walks in 24 2/3 innings. Opponents are hitting .173 against him in Pawtucket.

– Right-hander Alex Wilson worked around a hit to submit a scoreless inning of work in his second rehab outing. He’s given up a run on three hits and a walk while striking out one in two rehab games.

In a pair of notable transactions, Jackie Bradley Jr. landed on the disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow while Brandon Lyon opted out of his minor league deal with the Sox.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 6-5 LOSS (10 INNINGS) AT RICHMOND (GIANTS)

(BOX)

– Corner infielder Michael Almanzar went 1-for-4 with a walk but plated three runs on the strength of a two-run single (to right) and an RBI groundout. He continues to be a different hitter with runners on base (.315/.364/.462) than with the bases empty (.229/.304/.402), helping to explain how the 22-year-old is sixth in the Eastern League with 66 RBI. He’s hitting .269/.332/.430 for the year.

– Right-hander Noe Ramirez allowed a pair of hits, walked one and struck out two in 1 1/3 innings. After a four-outing, 10 1/3 inning string without walking a batter, Ramirez has issued a free pass in each of his last four appearances. Still, he has an impressive 19-to-5 strikeout-to-walk rate in 18 innings.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 5-0 LOSS AT LYNCHBURG (BRAVES)

(BOX)

Blake Swihart filled up a number of columns, going 2-for-4 with a double, a strikeout, a steal and a pickoff/caught stealing. He now has a six-game hitting streak during which he’s 10-for-24 (.417) with three walks and three doubles. Perhaps more intriguing, he continued to show evidence of the ability to shut down opposing running games. Swihart threw out one runner on an attempted steal and picked off two others. He is the runaway leader in the Carolina League in caught stealing percentage, having thrown out 39 percent of attempted thieves. Combine that with an offensive performance that suggests the ability to hit for average, doubles and on-base skill (his line is .275/.355/.409) and you have the makings of an above-average big league starting catcher.

– Though he gave up four earned runs (his most since July 5), right-hander Heri Quevedo punched out six and walked one, showing some of the swing-and-miss stuff and control that made him stand out as a pitcher who is making his pro debut (as a 23-year-old) in spring training. On the year, in 72 1/3 innings, he has 68 punchouts and 43 walks while holding opponents in the Carolina League to a .227 average.

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 4-3 LOSS VS. SAVANNAH (METS)

(BOX)

– Left-hander Brian Johnson, who had been dominant in his first two starts off his nearly two-month DL stint for shoulder tendinitis, got roughed up. He pitched just three innings, allowing two runs on three hits (including a homer) while walking five and striking out four. It was just the third homer allowed in 47 innings for Johnson this year in Greenville, but his 19 walks (3.6 per nine) represent a surprisingly high total for a pitcher who had a reputation as a strike thrower at the University of Florida.

– Outfielder Aneury Tavarez went deep for the second straight game, going 2-for-4 with a double and his sixth homer of the year. The 21-year-old has four extra-base hits in his last four games.

SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 7-1 WIN VS. AUBURN (NATIONALS)

(BOX)

– Right-hander Teddy Stankiewicz, the Sox’ second-round pick this year, pitched two innings in which he allowed his first baserunners (three hits) and run (one) while also recording his first professional punchouts. Indeed, the 19-year-old struck out four in his two innings of work. Right-handers are 0-for-10 against him this year.

– Right-hander Sergio Gomez, 19, fired six shutout innings, allowing just one hit while walking three and punching out four. The 6-foot-3 19-year-old is fourth in the New York-Penn League with a 1.81 ERA and leads the league with 50 punchouts, a rate of 10.1 per nine innings.

ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 3-1 LOSS AT GCL ORIOLES

(BOX)

– Second baseman Sean Coyle went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his fourth rehab game, and he’s now 1-for-14 with five strikeouts and no walks in 14 plate appearances.

– Left-hander Randy Perez continued to get strikeouts and groundballs in volume. In five innings, the 19-year-old allowed a run on three hits while punching out five, walking none and eliciting six groundouts. He’s struck out 27 in 33 2/3 innings while holding opponents to a .169 average, in part because they don’t seem capable of elevating his fastball (which tops out at 93 mph). He’s eliciting 2.6 groundouts per air out.

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 7-3 LOSS VS. DSL INDIANS

(BOX)

Luis Alexander Basabe went 2-for-3 with a walk, an HBP and a strikeout. The 16-year-old is hitting just .199, but his OBP is now up to .376.

– Shortstop Javier Guerra went 2-for-4 with a double. He’s on a 10-for-18 run in his last five games, with the 17-year-old boosting his season line to .230/.354/.277 in the process.

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Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen: Potential bullpen deals got into ‘danger zone’; what Will Middlebrooks must work on; Sox won’t make ‘hasty decisions’ on Xander Bogaerts 08.01.13 at 4:07 pm ET
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Mike Hazen

Mike Hazen

Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen, in an appearance on WEEI’s Mut & Merloni show, suggested that a combination of factors convinced the team that a bullpen move in the days and hours immediately preceding the July 31 trade deadline was unnecessary. First, Hazen noted that the team did make a trade in July to add left-hander Matt Thornton. Beyond that, Hazen pointed to the emergence of left-hander Drake Britton and the promise of adding right-hander Brandon Workman to the bullpen (with the addition of Jake Peavy to round out the rotation) as factors that played into the team’s comfort level in the bullpen.

Beyond that, Hazen noted that the supply/demand bullpen dynamic was wildly unfavorable, with trade proposals for relief help pointing to a potential “danger zone” in which a team was at risk of giving up a significant prospect in exchange for a couple months of a middle reliever. (Cases such as Koji Uehara for Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter or Larry Anderson for Jeff Bagwell or Heathcliff Slocumb for Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe come to mind — though it’s worth noting that all of those pitchers had multiple years of team control prior to their free agency.)

“We looked at all those guys. We looked at the universe of relief pitching. As you saw, there weren’t a lot of relievers that got traded. There are a lot of teams on the fringes of contention to out of contention who held onto their relievers. I don’t think you’ve seen that as much in the past. We saw that this year, where some of those guys got held. Not only did they not come to us, they didn’t go somewhere else,” said Hazen. “What happens in that situation is, your asking price is somewhat out of reach because it’s not something that you necessarily want to do, getting a rental reliever where you’re overpaying significantly. Look, we’ll trade prospects, but those are some of those trades where you can get into the danger zone of getting two months of a seventh-inning reliever for a guy who shows up and pitches for another team for the next six years. Those are the types of moves you don’t like to watch for the next six years.”

To listen to the complete interview, click here. Here are some additional highlights:

On what the team wants Will Middlebrooks to work on in Triple-A: Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox option Brandon Workman to clear spot for Jake Peavy 08.01.13 at 7:08 am ET
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According to an industry source, the Red Sox optioned right-hander Brandon Workman to the minor leagues after Wednesday night’s game in order to clear a roster spot for newly acquired starter Jake Peavy. Workman, 24, is 1-1 with a 3.54 ERA in four appearances for the Sox, including three starts in which he has a 2.45 ERA with 18 strikeouts and just four walks in 18 1/3 innings. With the acquisition of Peavy, the Sox plan on having Workman serve as a contributor out of their bullpen.

However, after he started on Tuesday night, he would be unavailable for bullpen duty until at least Saturday. At a time when the Sox bullpen will be depleted by its eight innings of work in Wednesday’s 15-inning, 5-4 walkoff win over the Mariners, the decision was made to send Workman down. Still, he’s expected to be back in the big leagues soon — perhaps as soon as he’s spent the minimum 10 days following an option in the minors — to contribute to the Sox in relief.

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John Farrell on WEEI: Red Sox wanted to avoid repeat of September 2011; team hasn’t lost faith in Will Middlebrooks 07.31.13 at 3:18 pm ET
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The Red Sox have not lost faith in Will Middlebrooks, said manager John Farrell. (AP)

The Red Sox have not lost faith in Will Middlebrooks, said manager John Farrell. (AP)

In the event that someone else were to go down and we continue to keep Brandon Workman in the rotation, I think what was relived was Sept. 2011, where starting pitching became short. And given where we are today, we didn’t want to take that risk.Red Sox manager John Farrell, in his weekly appearance on WEEI’s Salk & Holley show, said that the Sox’ decision to enact a three-way deal with the White Sox and Tigers to acquire right-hander Jake Peavy was motivated by a need “to bolster our pitching staff.” He said that the team didn’t know if that would come in the form of a starter — particularly after the market for rental starters was set high by the Rangers’ move for right-hander Matt Garza — but that the Sox were thrilled to land Peavy from Chicago thanks to the Tigers’ late-emerging interest in Iglesias.

“We knew we got a very successful, proven right-handed starter to add into our mix,” said Farrell. “Tremendous competitor. Fearless. Going to be able to put the ball on the ground, got the ability to get a strikeout against a lefty and a righty because of the breaking ball and the sinker that he throws. He’s got a changeup also that he can mix in there. … He is ecstatic about coming into this environment and a chance to compete not only for a playoff berth but also hopefully deep into October.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Red Sox promoting Henry Owens to Double-A 07.31.13 at 1:42 pm ET
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Left-hander Henry Owens' no-hit streak reached 19 1/3 innings before he gave up a hit on Sunday. (Salem Red Sox)

Left-hander Henry Owens’ no-hit streak reached 19 1/3 innings before he gave up a hit on Sunday. (Salem Red Sox)

According to an industry source, the Red Sox are promoting left-hander Henry Owens to Double-A Portland. Owens just had a string of 19 1/3 no-hit innings spanning parts of four starts for High-A Salem, a stretch in which opponents were 0-for-55 against him. Owens, who turned 21 this month, is 8-5 with a 2.92 ERA, 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings and 4.6 walks per nine innings this year.

The 2011 supplemental first-rounder has a startling .180 opponents’ batting average, fourth lowest among all starters in full-season minor league baseball. He’s 21, he’s left-handed, he’s 6-foot-7 with an angle and release point that opposing hitters have almost never seen. At this point, now that he had his breakthrough with pitch efficiency, there’s virtually nothing left for him to prove in High-A. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why it is Brock Holt — and not Xander Bogaerts or Will Middlebrooks — getting the call 07.31.13 at 10:56 am ET
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Xander Bogaerts is starting in Triple-A Pawtucket -- and not in Boston -- on Wednesday. (DVM Sports)

Xander Bogaerts is starting in Triple-A Pawtucket — and not in Boston — on Wednesday. (DVM Sports)

The Red Sox seemed to clear a giant lane to the big leagues for Xander Bogaerts and/or Will Middlebrooks with the trade of Jose Iglesias. And indeed, they very well may have done just that — for next year.

Any questions about whether the Red Sox consider Bogaerts their shortstop of the future were erased when dealing the chief obstacle to that role. Iglesias will now practice his defensive wizardry (in some Medieval cultures, anyone who had his defensive skills might have been thrown into a lake to see if he floated) in Detroit, and Bogaerts has a clear path to being the Sox’ shortstop for perhaps years to come (with a chance that in a couple years’ time by perhaps 2016 or so, Deven Marrero could claim the starting shortstop role). With Bogaerts at short, that would seemingly position Middlebrooks to reclaim his role as the Sox’ everyday third baseman for next year if he can reproduce some of the promise he showed as a rookie in 2012.

But for now, both Bogaerts and Middlebrooks remain in Triple-A, with Bogaerts batting third and playing short in Pawtucket’s noon game and Middlebrooks occupying the third slot in the lineup. While those two remain in the minors, Brock Holt is getting summoned to the big leagues.

So: why?

For starters, Holt is the only player of the three who can contribute in a true utility role. He can play short, second and third, giving the Sox coverage in case anything should happen to Dustin Pedroia. Iglesias had offered the Sox protection at all three positions. Holt can serve that function. Bogaerts (who is just starting to get acclimated to third base after spending his entire pro career at short, and who has never played second in a game) cannot. Nor can Middlebrooks, whose next game at a position other than third will be his first as a pro. Read the rest of this entry »

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