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Dustin Pedroia bunts for first time in almost three years 04.20.15 at 4:25 pm ET
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It didn’t seem like a familiar sight, and, as it turned out, it wasn’t.

For the first time in almost three years Dustin Pedroia put down a sacrifice bunt, this time pushing a Wei-Yin Chen third-inning pitch down the first base line to move along Ryan Hanigan to third base and Mookie Betts to second.

After the bunt (which came with nobody out), David Ortiz popped out to shallow left before Chen issued walks to Allen Craig and Mike Napoli for the inning’s second run. The Red Sox four-run frame was capped when Betts and Craig came in after Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado couldn’t handle Shane Victorino‘s grounder.

The inning resulted in a 5-1 Red Sox lead heading into the fourth.

“Because it was negative-30 and raining,” said Pedroia when asked about the bunt, referencing weather conditions that ultimately ended the Red Sox 7-1 win after 6 1/2 innings.

The last time Pedroia executed such a play was June 19, 2012 game in Miami, his only sacrifice bunt of that season. In that case the second base moved over Mike Aviles from second base in the fifth inning of a tie game, leading to an Adrian Gonzalez sacrifice fly. It would prove to be the eventual game-winning run in a 7-5 Red Sox win.

Pedroia finished Monday’s win with two hits in his three at-bats, boosting his batting average to .280. He was coming a day off following the first two games of the Orioles’ series in which he went 0-for-7 with three strikeouts. The second baseman had gone 6-for-11 in the three games against Washington.

Red Sox lineup: Dustin Pedroia returns, Brock Holt to play 3B in place of Pablo Sandoval 04.20.15 at 9:51 am ET
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After getting the day off Sunday, Dustin Pedroia returns to the Red Sox starting lineup for his team’s series finale against the Orioles. It would seem like an opportune time for the second baseman to re-emerge for the Sox, as he is 14-for-27 (.519) against Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen.

Brock Holt, who carries a six-game hitting streak and a .500 season average (12-for-24), will bat seventh and play third base, with Pablo Sandoval getting his first day off of the season.

“There is no denying he’s earning playing time,” manager John Farrell said. “Versatility aside, he’s swinging the bat well, playing with good energy, running the bases well, we want to keep that involved as much as possible.”

With rain the forecast the team is optimistic they will at least get the game started.

“Everything right now points to us getting it started,” said Farrell. “How deep we get into it remains to be seen. Once the rain starts, every forecast says that it is probably going to be the end of it with how lengthy and the intensity of the rain.”

Here is the rest of the Red Sox lineup, with Justin Masterson on the mound for the hosts:

Mookie Betts, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, LF
Mike Napoli, 1B
Shane Victorino, RF
Brock Holt, 3B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Ryan Hanigan, C

For a breakdown of the pitching matchup, click here.

Hanley Ramirez not worried about adventures in outfield 04.18.15 at 9:12 pm ET
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It remains a work in progress.

There was an understanding that it was going to take time for Hanley Ramirez to grow accustomed to playing his new position, left field. But instances like the one that occurred during the Red Sox‘ 4-1 loss to the Orioles Saturday tests the patience of all involved.

With runners on first and second in the fifth inning, and Clay Buchholz trying to manage a 2-0 deficit against Baltimore, Jimmy Paredes lofted a high fly ball toward the left field wall. With the wind pushing the ball toward the left field line, Ramirez seemed to have the catch lined up.

As the ball arrived at the base of the wall, Ramirez executed what was probably an unnecessary small jump. The outfielder then saw the baseball bounce off the heel of his glove, resulting in a single to load the bases for the Orioles.

This came after Ramirez seemingly pulled up on a ball in the left field corner the inning before (also of Paredes’ bat), ending up as the only extra-base hit allowed by Buchholz. (For video of that play, click here.)

After the game, Ramirez insisted the wall was at least partly to blame.

“It hit the wall and then hit my glove so make sure you see the replay person and ask him about it,’€ he said. (Note: After further review, upon Ramirez’s suggestion, the ball never did touch the wall.)

“There was nothing I could do on that play,” he added. “I jumped and the ball just hit the wall. I went back inside and saw the replay.

“You just have to come back tomorrow and win the game. We’€™re playing pretty good baseball right now. There’€™s nothing we have to be concerned about.We take everything as a positive Everybody is just happy we’€™re here, we’€™re going to keep working and give 100 percent every game. There’€™s nothing we have to be concerned about right now.”

After the game, Red Sox manager John Farrell reiterated the evolution of Ramirez’s defensive existence would take some time to get comfortable with.

“We knew it was going to be a transition for him,” he said. “There was going to be work to be done. The wall here is going to be different than what we had the ability to work with in Fort Myers just because of the way it’€™s constructed. To me, there’€™s nothing alarming and the more games played, the more comfortable he’€™s going to get.”

Closing Time: Clay Buchholz better, but still not good enough; Red Sox lose to Orioles 04.18.15 at 7:30 pm ET
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It was hard to tell how much of the perception regarding Clay Buchholz was altered Saturday.

The result of the starter’s outing was clearly better than what transpired the last time out, yet much of the six innings in which Buchholz was thick with uneasiness.

The end result of Buchholz’ third start of the season was a Red Sox 4-1 loss to the Orioles at Fenway Park. The righty took the loss, giving up 11 hits and a walk while striking out seven and stranding nine baserunners.

Only one of the hits off Buchholz was of the extra-base variety, and that one — coming off the bat of Jimmy Parades — probably should have been caught by left fielder Hanley Ramirezin the left field corner. (Click here for video of the play.)

Also, seven of the outs Buchholz got on balls put in play were on ground outs.

“Like I said after that outing, the last thing you want to do is just let them hit the ball around,” the pitcher said. “It definitely didn’t feel like I gave up 11 hits. It felt like I won a couple of those battles, and balls just ended up falling in. It didn’t affect me near like it did the other day in New York. I was able to get out of a couple of tight spots. The name of the game is keep your team in the game. They had a couple of chances that they did a good job of pitching out of, too, so you’ve got to tip your cap sometimes.”

Despite Buchholz’ ability to escape major damage, his slow pace and reluctance to use his fastball in key spots later in the game (after using it liberally out of the gate) didn’t paint the exact picture the Red Sox were hoping for coming off 3 1/3-inning, 10-run start in New York.

At the end of the day, Buchholz did keep pace with Baltimore starter Chris Tillman, who cruised through much of his 5 1/3 innings in which he allowed one run on six hits.

Buchholz came away feeling especially good about his cutter, which he broke out multiple times during the uncomfortable fourth and fifth innings.

“Best cutter I’ve had all year,” he said. “I tweaked a couple of things here and there with it over the last two or three days. It had a lot more depth today. I was able to get those swings to the lefty and the balls away from the righty. It was moving regardless of how high or low it was. That’s really the cutter that I had in 2010 and 2013.”

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Tillman. The Orioles hurler kept the Red Sox off-balance for much of his outing. In 17 starts against the Red Sox, the righty has now allowed more than three runs just twice.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pablo Sandoval, Xander Bogaerts may be available for series finale 04.14.15 at 10:42 pm ET
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Pablo Sandoval

Pablo Sandoval

Upon leaving the Red Sox clubhouse after the Red Sox‘ 8-7 win over the Nationals on Tuesday night, Pablo Sandoval peered into the manager’s office and gave a thumbs up.

Considering how things had unfolded during the Sox’ sixth win of the year, that was a huge step (albeit sore one) in the right direction.

After the game Red Sox manager John Farrell reported that both Sandoval (contusion on left foot) and Xander Bogaerts (sore knee) could possibly be in the team’s lineup for its series finale against Washington.

Bogaerts had missed Tuesday’s game after reporting knee soreness from an awkward baserunning turn Monday. And Sandoval was forced to leave the Sox’ latest win in the sixth inning after being hit by a Stephen Strasburg curveball on the left foot in the third.

“Pablo started to continue to get more tight and sore as the night went on after being hit by the pitch, we got him out of there,” Farrell said. “Xander’€™s MRI is clean. He’€™s day to day. Not ruling out his availability for tomorrow.”

With Sandoval out, the Red Sox were forced to turn to Hanley Ramirez to play third base, a position he hadn’t manned since 2012. After the game Ramirez said Farrell gave him the option of playing shortstop or third base, having not worked out at either position in spring training.

“We won the game,” Ramirez said. “If I have to catch, I’ll catch. If I have to pitch, I’ll pitch.”

When asked if he played any third base in spring, Ramirez responded, “Yeah, I did. PlayStation. In reality, no. … We didn’t have anybody else. I had to do it for the team.”

Pablo Sandoval leaves with foot injury; Hanley Ramirez plays third base 04.14.15 at 8:25 pm ET
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Pablo Sandoval

Pablo Sandoval

The injuries are starting to pile up on the Red Sox.

After not having Xander Bogaerts available Tuesday night due to right knee soreness, the other part of the left side of the left side of the Red Sox‘ infield, third baseman Pablo Sandoval, was also forced from the lineup.

Sandoval was hit in the left foot by a Stephen Strasburg curveball in the third inning, was taken out of the game to start to the sixth inning with a left foot contusion. Replacing him at third was Hanley Ramirez, who hadn’t worked out at the position at all throughout spring training.

Ramirez last played third base in 2012, when he manned the position for eight games.

Daniel Nava moved over to replace Ramirez in left field, with Shane Victorino coming on to play right field.

The Red Sox were losing, 7-5, to the Nationals at the time of Sandoval’s departure. The third baseman was 0-for-2, grounding out to second base in his only at-bat after the injury.

Shane Victorino on sporadic playing time: ‘I get it’ 04.14.15 at 4:21 pm ET
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For the fourth time this young season, Daniel Nava got the start over Shane Victorino in right field, hitting seventh against Washington and its righty starter Stephen Strasburg.

Victorino has now started half of the Red Sox eight games, totaling 23 plate appearances. (He did enter the lineup halfway through the Sox’ 19-inning game in New York, resulting in four at-bats.)

The 34-year-old said the approach toward playing time isn’t what he anticipated, but it’s a dynamic he has come to understand.

“We talked about it,” said Victorino regarding conversations with manager John Farrell. “Obviously we discussed what was going on because the first couple of times I did get that call or text that, ‘€˜You’€™re down tonight,’€™ what’€™s my reply? But it was explained to me what was going on. And even from a medical standpoint they’€™ve spoken to me about it. I get it. Every athlete or every human being who wants to play every day is saying, ‘€˜No, no, no. Let me go.’€™ But I’€™m getting to the point in my career where I kind of understand. Of course people are going to think if this is going to be a platoon, or is this going to be a situation. If that is what people want to think … I’€™m not looking at this way.”

The Red Sox had wanted to remain conservative in regards to Victorino’s playing time early on in the season, even with the outfielder showing no ill effects from last season’s back surgery.

Helping that approach has obviously been the production of Nava, who is 4-for-9 against right-handed pitching entering Tuesday.

“They say I’€™m the type of player you have to put the reigns back on, so if they don’€™t do it I’€™m just going to keep going. That’€™s their biggest fear is breaking down,” Victorino said. “Getting my body and back into physical shape slowly but surely, and then riding into the sunset.

“I didn’€™t know what the plan is. Obviously now I have an idea. Going into it it wasn’€™t discussed that this was going to be our plan, this is what we’€™re going to do. That just shows the depth on our team that they’€™re able to say, ‘€˜We’€™re going to play you but we don’€™t want to break you down, have you break down June or July.’€™”

With his health staying steady, Victorino’s biggest concern at this stage is finding the at-bats needed to rediscover his way as a full-time right-handed hitter.

He heads into Tuesday with just two hits and three walks, with both singles off righty pitchers during the third game in Philadelphia.

“It’€™s hard to get in a rhythm, but I’€™m not going to use that as an excuse as a reason why I’€™m not swinging the bat or feeling good at the plate,” Victorino said. “It will happen for me. It’€™s just 20 at-bats, that’€™s all.”

In terms of pitchers approaching him differently now that he’s not a switch-hitter, the outfielder said, “I noticed it last year, so now it’€™s just an adjustment I have to make. My timing’€™s not there. I’€™m still trying to work on that process. I’€™m still trying to work on being comfortable at the plate. I’€™ve been away from the game for a year, so it’€™s just a matter of working on things and feeling comfortable and then seeing it all fall into place. That’€™s important for me. That’€™s the biggest thing is the health. The rest of it I feel is going to come.”

Read More: Shane Victorino,
Red Sox lineup: Daniel Nava gets start in right field, Brock Holt at shortstop 04.14.15 at 2:32 pm ET
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Daniel Nava

Daniel Nava

With Washington putting right-hander Stephen Strasburg on the mound for its second game against the Red Sox, Red Sox manager John Farrell starts lefty hitting Daniel Nava in right field. It marks the third start of the season for Nava.

Last season Strasburg finished with slightly reverse splits, with lefties hitting .234 and right-handed hitters coming in at .254.

Here is the Red Sox’ lineup against the Nationals with Justin Masterson on the mound for the hosts:

Mookie Betts CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez LF
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Mike Napoli 1B
Daniel Nava RF
Ryan Hanigan C
Brock Holt SS

Rusney Castillo to go on minor league disabled list, will need ‘little bit of time’ 04.14.15 at 10:48 am ET
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Rusney Castillo

Rusney Castillo

Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo is going on the disabled list, manager John Farrell confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

After diving for a ball and leaving Saturday’s game while playing for Triple-A Pawtucket, Castillo returned to Boston on Monday to be examined further. The exam determined he needs “rest and rehab.”

“With Rusney, he made a diving play a couple a nights ago with Pawtucket and jarred the right shoulder,” Farrell said. “He has some inflammation in the right shoulder. The MRI has revealed no structural issues. It’s going to be a little bit of time with rest and rehab. What length of time remains to be seen. That is not to suggest this is long-term thing — he’s going to need a little time to get back to 100 percent.”

Castillo didn’t make the 25-man Opening Day roster as the Red Sox currently have Hanley Ramirez, Mookie Betts, Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava and Allen Craig in their outfield. Castillo was 5-for-12 in the three games he’s played so far this season with Pawtucket.

A team source earlier in the day said the prognosis is good. It is not expected to be a lingering problem.

Alex Speier of the Boston Globe was first to report the news of Castillo expected to go on the DL.

This isn’t the first injury Castillo has dealt with in his short time in Boston. He has sustained injuries to his thumb, oblique, and now shoulder.

“He’€™s an aggressive player,” Farrell said. “We see the movements. It’€™s an explosive type of player. I can’€™t speak to his body type and does that pre-dispose him to a greater injury of risk or risk of injury? He went and dove for a ball and unfortunately he’€™s got to take some time down right now.”

Ryan Hannable contributed to this report.

Read More: Rusney Castillo,
Red Sox lineup: Sandy Leon to catch Rick Porcello in home opener 04.13.15 at 11:39 am ET
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Sandy Leon

Sandy Leon

Sandy Leon is slated to catch Rick Porcello in the Red Sox‘ home opener Monday, as the Sox take on the Nationals in a 3:05 p.m. start at Fenway Park.

Leon, acquired from the Nationals just before the start of the season, is 0-for-4 with a walk in two games this season.

Shane Victorino will play right field and bat seventh for the Sox, who, despite coming off Sunday night’s 14-4 loss to the Yankees, are tied with the Blue Jays for first in the American League East at 4-2.

The Nationals, expected to challenge for the National League pennant this season, are 2-4 after snapping a three-game skid with Sunday’s 4-3 victory over the Phillies.

Here is the Red Sox lineup that will face Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann.

Mookie Betts, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Hanley Ramirez, LF
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Shane Victorino, RF
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Sandy Leon, C

For the pitching matchups, click here. For a series preview, click here.

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