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Chris Sale explains why the criticisms of David Price are unfair 05.25.17 at 6:01 pm ET
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Chris Sale (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Chris Sale (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Chris Sale is going to get a chance to finally share a rotation with David Price.

With Price scheduled to make his 2017 major league debut Monday in Chicago, Sale can appreciate the path his first-year teammate has taken to come back from his left elbow ailment.

“That’s not an easy road for anybody,” Sale told WEEI.com before Thursday nights’ game. “He’s got a lot of critics, too. It’s going to be fun to watch out there. Everybody knows he wants to be out there.

“If he’s not the first one here every day, he’s one of the first ones. That’s for damn sure. He’s been the same guy. A lot of times when you’re on the DL or hurt or something like that, you kind of get down a little bit and you kind of get a little closed off. I haven’t seen that one time.”

So, after witnessing Price over the past few months, does Sale agree with the narrative that Price is one of the game’s best teammates?

“No doubt,” the Sox ace said. “It’s true.”

That, of course, leads to the question if Sale is surprised by the aforementioned criticism of Price.

“It’s 2017, man. We’ve got Twitter. A lot of people with voices that don’t deserve it. I don’t think anybody in here is going to say anything bad about him,” he noted. “He’s worked his butt off. You look at his track record, it speaks for itself. Nobody is more excited than him, but we’re all in here in second-place waiting for it. It’s going to be fun. It’s been a long road. It’s been a long time. When you can’t do what your supposed to do, it’s tough. But he hasn’t’ changed throughout it all and that speaks a lot about his character and who he is as a teammate and who he is as a competitor.”

To read Price’s comments about making his first start of the season, click here.

Red Sox assistant GM Eddie Romero explains why Rafael Devers is still a ways away from majors 05.16.17 at 1:05 pm ET
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Rafael Devers

Rafael Devers

For those wanting Rafael Devers to come in and save the day at third base for the Red Sox, it sounds like you’re going to have to wait a while.

Appearing on the Bradfo Sho podcast, Red Sox assistant general manager Eddie Romero offered the reality when it comes to where Devers is in his progression toward becoming a major leaguer.

(18:40) “I don’t know what the plan is for him,” Romero said. “I know he is progressing very well. I think he is where he needs to be. As Dave mentioned last week, and we’ve said in our discussions over the past few days, he’s progressing well. He’s in a good spot. I think [Double-A Portland manager] Carlos Febles and the staff down there has done a great job developing. They know there’s another level to go to Triple-A and then the big league level, so he’s really only two notches away. Maturity. More at-bats. More games for him. And the fact that he’s still refining his approach which is a big thing. Our hitting coach, Lee May, is really emphasizing that with him. We’ve seen some results over the past month or so, or the past two weeks, that are encouraging in that regards where he’s refining his approach. That league knows who he is now, as well. He’s being pitched to difficulty and differently and now it’s his turn to make that adjustment and progress in that.”

Romero also explained that just because Andrew Benintendi made the jump from Double-A to the majors a year ago with some success, the organization isn’t looking at Devers’ situation in the same light.

(20:30) “I agree with that,” said Romero when it was suggested that Benintendi’s scenario was different than Devers because of age and experience. “Benny has played through high school and then he had his two years of college at a major school in probably the best conference of college baseball. Where Raffy comes from the riskiest and hardest to project and the market where he have the least experience before being thrown into professional baseball. We have to remember, he’s still 20 years old. He won’t be 21 until after the season. I know I keep saying it, but he’s in a good place developmentally. There are some things he needs to work on and he knows what those things are and that’s what he’s doing right now.”

So, what is Devers prioritizing?

(21:20) “I think it’s refining the approach,” Romero said. “I think that’s the biggest thing. He’s never been a guy to strikeout that much, but he also hasn’t walked that much. I think that’s one thing that more than walks or strikeouts, handling what pitchers are giving you and making sure you’re swinging at pitches you can do damage with. That’s something, especially at a young age, without that many minor league at-bats, he continues to work on. I think he knows the importance of that and that will only improve his numbers. That will allow to get to his power more. And I think that’s been the area of concentration for him. And I know chatting with him, he’s always working on his defense, as well. Whether it’s positioning, what he can get to with his range and coming in on balls and accuracy of his throws. That’s always on his mind, as well. It’s not always just about the bat.”

MRI shows Drew Pomeranz’s triceps hasn’t changed 05.15.17 at 8:03 pm ET
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Drew Pomeranz

Drew Pomeranz

Drew Pomeranz was hopeful he wouldn’t have to miss a start. After getting the results of Monday’s MRI, he might have a chance.

Pomeranz, who exited his start Sunday afternoon after just three innings due to left triceps stiffness, underwent an MRI at Mass General Hospital. According to the Red Sox, the exam showed no changes when compared to previous studies.

The lefty had experienced soreness in his triceps during spring training, setting his progress back enough for Pomeranz to start to the regular season on the 10-day disabled list. But since making his first start, the pitcher hasn’t missed any time until Sunday.

Pomeranz is 3-3 in his seven starts, totaling a 5.29 ERA. In Sunday’s start, he allowed two runs on three hits and three walks while throwing 57 pitches.

If he is to make his next scheduled start, it would come in Oakland, Friday night.

Drew Pomeranz comes out of Red Sox game with left triceps soreness 05.14.17 at 2:57 pm ET
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Drew Pomeranz

Drew Pomeranz

The Red Sox’ rotation has taken another hit.

Just after completing his warm-ups heading into the top of the fourth inning, Drew Pomeranz summoned for the team’s medical staff. After a quick visit from trainer Paul Buchheit and Red Sox manager John Farrell, the Sox starting pitcher was escorted to the dugout. He appeared to be flexing his left arm/shoulder just before exiting. It was announced that Pomeranz was dealing with left triceps soreness.

Pomeranz completed his 57-pitch, three-inning outing having given up two runs on three hits. Reliever Ben Taylor came on to pitch the fourth inning for the hosts, who trailed 2-1 after three frames. He walked three batters, while also fanning three.

Pomeranz began the season on the 10-day disabled list after having his spring training slowed by a left triceps ailment. The lefty was already eased into the exhibition season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left elbow in the offseason.

The starter currently holds a 5.29 ERA, having made seven starts.

More to come …

David Price’s first minor league rehab game was in a batting cage 05.14.17 at 2:36 pm ET
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He was wearing a minor-league uniform, but didn’t end up playing in a minor-league game.

The scheduled first rehab assignment start for David Price was derailed Sunday after the game between the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester at McCoy Stadium was postponed.

Instead, Price was forced to execute another simulated game, this one in the PawSox’s indoor batting cage. It was the third sim game for the lefty, who has shown good progress in his return from an elbow injury, possessing a fastball that has sat between 93-95 mph.

The next rehab start for Price is slated to come in Buffalo for the PawSox, Friday. It is uncertain if he will make another one after that, or jump back into the Red Sox’ rotation, which would pit him against the Rangers at Fenway Park May 24.

Red Sox lineup: Hanley Ramirez makes his return 05.14.17 at 11:07 am ET
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Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez

After injuring his right trap while playing first base in Milwaukee last Wednesday, Hanley Ramirez returns to the Red Sox’ starting lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the Rays.

Also getting the start is Christian Vazquez, who will catch Sox starter Drew Pomeranz.

Here is the lineup the Red Sox will be facing with Matt Andriese on the mound for the Rays:

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Andrew Benintendi LF
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Christian Vazquez C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Deven Marrero 3B

For more Red Sox news go to the team page by click here.

The day Chris Sale almost gave Red Sox fans a heart attack 05.13.17 at 6:06 pm ET
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Chris Sale (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Chris Sale (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Forget about John Wall nailing his game-winning 3-pointer Friday night. What we saw at Fenway Park Saturday afternoon during the Red Sox’ 6-3 win over the Rays was the kind of shocker we never saw coming. (For a complete recap, click here.)

Chris Sale allowed a go-ahead home run on an 0-2 pitch to a left-handed batter.

With the Red Sox leading, 2-1, and two outs in the fifth inning, Sale just missed on a 93 mph fastball to light-hitting Rays catcher Derek Norris, resulting in a walk. No problem. Kevin Kiermaier comes up and Sale pumps in two strikes. Up next was obviously going to be the kind of put-away pitch that had allowed the Sox lefty to strikeout eight of his first 11 batters.

But then came the bolt of lightning on what seemed like a perfectly sunny day. Sale’s 98 mph fastball (his hardest pitch of the season) was sent over the right field fence for a two-run homer and a Tampa Bay lead. This did not seem like it fit the script.

Not only was Sale cruising along while using his usual dominating array of offerings, having only allowed one hit (a Logan Morrison solo homer) to that point, but it was 0-2.

Just five times in his entire career had Sale allowed a homer on an 0-2 pitch, with batters having gone 2-for-32 with 21 strikeouts. That was just part of the surprise, however. The biggest impetus for our shock? The unrealistic expectations that have come with watching this guy pitch.

In his last start with the White Sox a season ago, Sale gave up five runs over five innings. Two outings before that, he surrendered six runs in just four frames. Considering what we’ve seen to date, that simply doesn’t seem possible. But that’s how good he’s been.

The way he was going Saturday, observers must have been a least a little surprised when a ball was in play against Sale. That isn’t normal.

“I don’t know how much better than you’re going to get than Chris Sale,” said Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts, who gave the Sox their first lead with a two-run homer in the third inning. “He goes out every day and competes and every day gives your team a chance to win.”

“He’s the toughest I’ve ever faced so I don’t think he can get any tougher than what I was thinking,” added Red SOx center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who contributed with two hits. “He’s very special. Like I said, I’m glad he’s on our side now.”

Thanks to the Red Sox’ four-run rally in the bottom of the fifth inning, Sale got his fourth win, ending up allowing the three runs on just two hits, striking out 12. It marked just the fifth start by a Red Sox pitcher since 1913 with 12 or more strikeouts an two or fewer hits, with Jon Lester last accomplishing the feat on May 3, 2014.

Opponents are now hitting just .160 against Sale, with the pitcher averaging 13 strikeouts per nine innings. Both of those are second-best in all of the major leagues.

He has become more than a luxury, and more like a necessity. He is the epitome of why a team needs an ace.

The win is one thing. But then there is the protection he gave a bullpen that has been taxed of late, with Red Sox starter having gone seven innings just once over the last nine games. This time all the hosts needed was one inning out of Joe Kelly, and another from Craig Kimbrel.

But there will be more moments like the one Kiermaier surprised us with. Four times last season he went five or fewer innings, losing every one of those games. For his career, it’s happened on 16 occasions.

For now, however, we’ll just have to keep expecting the status quo.

Red Sox lineup: Hanley Ramirez starts on bench, replaced by Chris Young 05.12.17 at 3:39 pm ET
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Chris Young

Chris Young

The Red Sox will head into a second straight game without Hanley Ramirez in the starting lineup.

The designated hitter, who injured his right trapezius muscle Saturday, starts Friday night’s game on the bench, with Chris Young getting the nod at DH.

With Young batting fifth, Jackie Bradley Jr. remains in center field, sliding down to the No. 9 spot against Tampa Bay righty Alex Cobb.

Here is the Red Sox lineup with Rick Porcello on the mound for the hosts:

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Andrew Benintendi LF
Chris Young DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Josh Rutledge 3B
Sandy Leon C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

For all the Red Sox news, go to the team page by clicking here.

Bobby Valentine responds to some of criticisms levied by David Ortiz in new book ‘Papi: My Story’ 05.11.17 at 5:53 pm ET
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Bobby Valentine

Bobby Valentine

It seems like 2012 all over again.

In the soon-to-be released book, “Papi: My Story”, written by David Ortiz and WEEI’s Michael Holley, the former Red Sox designated hitter opens up about some of the problems he had with former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine.

One incident Ortiz talks about in the book involving Valentine involved a pop-up drill in which the team took issue how the then-manager criticized infielder Mike Aviles. It was a passage highlighted in an excerpt released in Sports Illustrated:

One day we were doing his drills and the s— hit the fan. We were hitting pop-ups, and Bobby had said that he didn’t want infielders to say, “I’ve got it, I’ve got it. . . .” He thought that was an unreliable way of calling off a teammate because, in a noisy stadium, the player who’s being called off might not hear his teammate taking control. Well, all players have habits. And in American baseball, most infielders taking the play say, “I got it.”

So when our shortstop, Mike Aviles, got under a ball, he instinctively said, “I got it.” Bobby snapped. It was unlike anything I had ever seen in the majors. He went off on Aviles, cussing and verbally tearing him down in front of everyone. If it had been me, I would have gone up to him, right in front of the fans and dropped a punch.

After that workout, I talked with Dustin Pedroia and Adrián González. We decided to meet with Bobby in his office and attempt to tell him how he was being perceived. It was a waste of time. We tried reasoning with him, and it was like communicating with a wall. All he did was roll his eyes and look everywhere but at us. It could not have been more obvious that he didn’t care what we had to say. We left his office shaking our heads.

Well, Valentine has evidently seen the passage in the book, and took to CBS Sports Network to respond …

Red Sox 4, Brewers 1: Give John Farrell some credit for using Craig Kimbrel in a weird way 05.11.17 at 4:55 pm ET
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Craig Kimbrel. (Neville E. Guard/USA Today Sports)

Craig Kimbrel. (Neville E. Guard/USA Today Sports)

When Milwaukee slugger Eric Thames came up to bat in the eighth inning Thursday afternoon with a runner on first base and the score tied at 1-1, there was a few ways John Farrell could go. (For a complete recap of what would be a 4-1 Red Sox win, click here.)

The Red Sox manager might have stuck with the team’s proclaimed eighth-inning guy, Matt Barnes, who had kicked off his outing by walking Orlando Arcia with one out in the frame.

Or perhaps Farrell might have gone to one of the three lefties sitting out in the Red Sox’ bullpen. One of the problems with that, however, was that Thames came into the at-bat hitting .400 (12-for-30, 5 homers) against left-handers.

So, Farrell did something off the beaten track. He brought in Craig Kimbrel.

“Knowing that they’re going to have [Ryan] Braun or Thames ready to go in the pitcher’s slot, felt like whether we’re in a two-out, nobody on situation or the situation that unfolded, we’d go to Kimbrel there,” Farrell told reporters. “Whether it was going to be four or five outs, that was to be determined, but he’s been so efficient and had only thrown I think 11 pitches over an eight-day period. Well-rested, knew that today was a possibility to get him into the eighth inning.”

It was the second time on the six-game road trip the manager brought in Kimbrel to get the last five outs of a game, having done so Sunday in Minnesota. But in that game the Red Sox actually had the lead, and ultimately they wouldn’t need the closer’s services in the ninth thanks to a 10-run inning.

But, with it becoming very clear Kimbrel has become the kind of weapon a team can’t just use in a conventional manner, the move could be justified.

Not only was Farrell using his best pitcher to not allow the runner on first to score, with one of this season’s best hitters in Thames coming to the plate, but there was some confidence that the Red Sox could push across a go-ahead run before Kimbrel exited. Even with the bottom of the batting order coming up, the visitors were going to go up against a bad Milwaukee bullpen, which in this case was represented by a struggling Neftali Feliz.

The whole thing worked out for the Red Sox.

Kimbrel struck out Thames, and, after an infield hit by Jonathan Villar, ended the eighth with another punch-out, this one against Keon Broxton.

Then, sure enough, Feliz imploded. First came a walk to Christian Vazquez, which was followed by a subpar bunt from Deven Marrero (who had come in when Kimbrel arrived as part of a double-switch). Fortunately for the Red Sox Arcia dropped the throw from Felix on the sacrifice, putting runners on first and second and paving the way for Mookie Betts’ game-winning three-run homer.

From there, Kimbrel closed things out by striking out the side. When it was all said and done, not only did the reliever pick up his second win of the season, but has now retired 37 of his last 39 batters, 26 by strikeout.

Shattering Perceptions Game Note Image

Eduardo Rodriguez pitched very well once again, allowing one run on three hits over six innings, lowering his ERA to 2.80. The only reason he came out after 87 pitches was because Farrell chose to pinch-hit for him in the seventh inning with the potential go-ahead run on base.

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