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What Rich Hill’s injury and DL stint mean to Red Sox trade deadline plans 06.09.16 at 12:14 pm ET
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Rich Hill

Rich Hill

The first non-waiver trade deadline swerve in the road has appeared.

Rich Hill, the player most consider the top starting pitching trade target, has been sidelined once again thanks to an injured groin. Hill had been recuperating, but experienced discomfort on the 33rd of what was supposed to be a 35-pitch bullpen session.

Hill was scheduled to undergo an MRI, with the A’s announcing Thursday that he was placed on the disabled list.

This should absolutely be of some concern to the Red Sox.

For one, Hill would be a logical trade option for the Red Sox considering they are still searching for a fifth member of the starting rotation (preferably a pitcher who could be top-of-the-rotation candidate). He is in the midst of a one-year, $6 million deal with Oakland.

In 64 innings this season, Hill has totaled a 2.25 ERA, having struck out 10.41 strikeouts per nine innings (10th best in the majors).

And even if the Red Sox don’t land Hill, the presence of the lefty, if healthy, would be a significant swing in the balance of power in the American League. Stick Hill with the Orioles, and it makes thinks a heck of a lot more dicey for Dave Dombrowski’s crew.

There be other names surfaced, such as Atlanta’s Julio Teheran, Minnesota’s Ervin Santana, Philadelphia’s Jeremy Hellickson or Houston’s Doug Fister (who has been really good lately). There will always be the dream of the A’s Sonny Gray, and the pipe dream of Miami’s Jose Fernandez.

But, for now, Hill remains the most intriguing of the bunch.

Should the Red Sox make Rich Hill their top trade target?

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Joe Kelly leaves start early with groin injury 06.08.16 at 1:40 am ET
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Joe Kelly

Joe Kelly

The competition for that June 18 start might have thinned out a bit.

Pitching in his first game for Triple-A Pawtucket since his demotion from the Red Sox, Joe Kelly was forced from his start against Toledo with two outs in the fifth inning after experiencing what is believed to be a right groin injury.

Kelly’s last batter was JaCoby Jones, who lofted a sacrifice fly to right field. The righty would gingerly run to back up home plate on the play, leading to Pawtucket trainer Jon Jochim escorting Kelly off the field.

“He felt some discomfort in his right groin,” PawSox manager Kevin Boles told the Providence Journal. “We’re going to reevaluate him and see how he comes in tomorrow.”

According to the ProJo, Kelly showed no signs of the injury prior to the Jones at-bat, with the paper reporting 15 swings and misses (10 on offspeed pitches).

Kelly finished his outing giving up three runs over 4 2/3 innings, striking out five while allowing six hits and a walk in his 79-pitch start.

Coming into the start, Kelly was thought to be competing with Clay Buchholz, Roenis Elias and Henry Owens for the opportunity to pitch June 18, which is believed to be the next time the Red Sox will use a fifth starter.

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Closing Time: Xander Bogaerts comes through again, leading Red Sox to extra-inning win 06.08.16 at 1:21 am ET
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It was pure Xander Bogaerts.

Bases loaded in the 10th inning, with one out and the game tied. San Francisco closer Santiago Casilla, carrying a two-strike count on the Red Sox shortstop, fired off one of his trademark sliders just barely out of the strike zone. Bogaerts somehow let it go.

Then, on the very next pitch, Bogaerts delivered a simple bloop single into center field, scoring both Marco Hernandez and Mookie Betts to hand the Red Sox a 5-3 win over the Giants on Tuesday night at AT&T Park.

The sequence encapsulated why Bogaerts has more hits than any major league player over the past two seasons and leads the American League with a .346 batting average.

The pivotal 10th was started in a most unexpected manner, with Sandy Leon leading off with a double against Casilla, who was on for his second inning. After a walk to pinch-hitter Hernandez, Betts put down a perfect bunt single to load them up. After a forceout at home on Dustin Pedroia’s ground ball to third, Bogaerts did his thing.

Craig Kimbrel came on to close things out in the bottom of the 10th for his 14th save in 16 tries.

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John Farrell on David Ortiz: ‘I don’t want to risk losing him’ 06.07.16 at 9:15 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

For the ninth game this season, David Ortiz began a game on the bench.

At first glance, the rest Tuesday night in San Francisco would seem to be a product of not having a designated hitter in the Red Sox’ interleague game against the Giants.

But, as Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters prior to his team’s series opener, the move also is being made in an attempt to manage what has become a somewhat tenuous situation involving Ortiz’s Achilles tendon and heels.

“I don’t want to risk losing him,” Farrell told the media at AT&T Park. “David’s been great as far as days where he’s not felt 100 percent but he’s pushed it. That was even on the homestand just completed. I can’t say this is a situation that’s worsening, but we’ve got to be mindful of the wear and tear that he’s gone through as a 40-year-old.”

Farrell’s cautious approach toward Ortiz was on display in the ninth inning of the Red Sox’ game against the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon. Even with the Sox trailing by three runs and one out, the manager chose to pinch-run for the designated hitter after his run-scoring double.

“We’re in a situation right now where late in games we’re taking him out in maybe situations we wouldn’t have previous,” Farrell explained to reporters. “Just in communication with the entire medical staff, [such as] Dan Dyrek, who’s very hands-on with David. The volume that he’s increased to, we felt like he’s best-served for pinch-hit situations here.”

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Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz starts on bench against Giants 06.07.16 at 6:25 pm ET
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David Ortiz

David Ortiz

The Red Sox have managed to do just fine without David Ortiz in the starting lineup this season, going 6-2 while averaging more than six runs per game.

They will try their luck again Tuesday night in San Francisco.

With rookie righty Albert Suarez on the mound the Giants, and Sox starter Rick Porcello having to hit, Hanley Ramirez plays first base with Travis Shaw at third.

Here is the Red Sox lineup in the first of their two-game set:

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Travis Shaw 3B
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Chris Young LF
Christian Vazquez C
Rick Porcello P

For all the matchups, click here.

Jackie Bradley Jr. rises to top 3 in AL outfielders in All-Star voting 06.07.16 at 4:22 pm ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Fans around Major League Baseball are taking notice of what’s going on with the Red Sox.

The most recent results for All-Star balloting shows that Jackie Bradley Jr. has climbed into the top three in voting for the American League All-Star outfielders, joining the Angels’ Mike Trout and Lorenzo Cain of Kansas City.

Also climbing in the voting is Mookie Betts, who resides in sixth place, with Baltimore’s Mark Trumbo and Toronto’s Jose Bautista the others just out the top three.

The Red Sox are well represented at other positions, as well, with Xander Bogaerts and Alcides Escobar vying for the top spot at shortstop, and David Ortiz running away as the lead vote-getter for designated hitter.

The Red Sox have representatives in the top five at each of the other positions, as well, with second baseman Dustin Pedroia (4th), first baseman Hanley Ramirez (4th), third baseman Travis Shaw (5th), and catcher Blake Swihart (5th) all remaining in the upper-echelon of voting.

According to MLB.com, here is the up-to-date All-Star voting results for the American League:

CATCHER
1. Salvador Perez, Royals: 1,605,922
2
2. Matt Wieters, Orioles: 453,237
3
3. Brian McCann, Yankees: 376,605
4
4. Russell Martin, Blue Jays: 308,146
5
5. Blake Swihart, Red Sox: 217,030

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Closing Time: Orioles’ 7 homers help cut Red Sox division lead to 1 game 06.02.16 at 10:06 pm ET
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Adam Jones hits one of the Orioles five homers Thursday night. (Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports)

Adam Jones hits one of the Orioles seven homers Thursday night. (Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports)

BALTIMORE — On Wednesday the primary issue was the starting rotation. On Thursday the bullpen was added to the list of concerns.

While Red Sox starter Rick Porcello’s outing wasn’t one of his finest, it was what happened to the pitchers who came in after him that defined the Sox’s 12-7 loss to the Orioles at Camden Yards.

With two outs in the seventh inning, and the game tied at 5, Junichi Tazawa came on to face Manny Machado with the two runners put on by Robbie Ross Jr. standing at first and second. Machado came into the at-bat having gone 3-for-4 against the Red Sox reliever.

After getting Machado to swing and miss at a split-fingered fastball on the at-bat’s first pitch, Tazawa allowed threw another splitter than didn’t do much. The result was the Orioles’ fourth homer of the game, this one giving the hosts a three-run lead.

“I got a first strike on the split swinging, and we were planning to throw another split inside but [Christian Vazquez] called for a fastball. That’s why I asked him to come to the mound, to make sure that we were on the same page,” Tazawa said. “I just didn’t execute.”

Pedro Alvarez, Francisco Pena and Adam Jones each added eighth-inning home runs, sealing the deal for the O’s, who now reside just one game out of first-place in the American League East.

The seven homers allowed by Sox pitching tied a club record for most homers given up in a game, with the last occasion coming on Aug. 8, 2004.

Prior to the late-inning meltdown, Porcello’s problems almost exclusively were a product of homers, specifically two from Mark Trumbo and another by Jones.

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Xander Bogaerts extends hitting streak to 26 games 06.02.16 at 8:40 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — Xander Bogaerts made this hit count.

After going hitless in his first two at-bats Thursday night, Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 26 games in style. The Red Sox shortstop rifled a line-drive off the left-center field wall with the bases loaded in the sixth inning.

The single, which came against Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez with nobody out, scored both Christian Vazquez and Mookie Betts, while sending Dustin Pedroia to third.

Bogaerts’ hit drew the Red Sox to within a pair of runs, with David Ortiz following up the shortstop with a three-run homer to give the Sox a 5-4 lead.

Bogaerts’ hit came in his third at-bat, having grounded out to shortstop and struck out in his first two plate appearances.

To follow all the game action, click here.

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Red Sox pregame notes: 5th starter won’t be needed until June 18; Jackie Bradley Jr., wife welcome daugther 06.02.16 at 6:10 pm ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

BALTIMORE — John Farrell said before his team’s series finale against the Orioles on Thursday that sending Joe Kelly to Triple-A after Wednesday night’s game came somewhat out of nowhere.

But now, with Kelly going to Pawtucket after giving up seven runs over 2 1/3 innings, the team is forced to make some decisions about who will be filling in the pitcher’s spot in the starting rotation.

“I can tell you that probably wasn’t thought of [Wednesday] night,” the manager said. “We needed to get another arm here. We have a break in the schedule that allows us to do that. We need better, bottom-line.”

According to Farrell, that decision can wait a while.

With three days off over the next two weeks, the Red Sox don’t plan on adding a fifth starter until its June 18 game against Seattle at Fenway Park.

Farrell said that the candidates for the spot will be pitchers who are all internal options, with Clay Buchholz, Roenis Elias and Kelly serving as the leading candidates.

Buchholz has pitched in two games out of the Red Sox’ bullpen since losing his spot in the rotation, throwing 69 pitches over 3 1/3 innings Wednesday. Elias has pitched better of late, allowing seven earned runs over his last 20 innings (3 starts) for a 3.15 ERA. During that stretch he has struck out 25 and walked six.

“We’ll take the next two-plus weeks to evaluate that,” Farrell said. “In Clay’s situation, it’s going to be when has he most recently pitched and will he be eligible to make that first start at that date, so we’ve got some time to work through that.”

Noe Ramirez has joined the club to help in the bullpen until another starter is needed.

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Red Sox send Joe Kelly to Triple-A, recall Noe Ramirez 06.01.16 at 11:53 pm ET
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Joe Kelly is headed back to Triple-A. (Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports)

Joe Kelly is headed back to Triple-A. (Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports)

BALTIMORE — The Red Sox couldn’t keep things status quo, so Joe Kelly finds himself back in Triple-A.

After Kelly allowed seven runs over just 2 1/3 innings in the Red Sox’ 13-9 loss to the Orioles, he was told he would be rejoining Pawtucket. Taking his place on the big league roster will be reliever Noe Ramirez.

Since flirting with a no-hitter in his first start off the disabled list, Kelly has given up 12 runs over just seven innings in his last two outings. The righty’s ERA stands at 8.46.

Kelly said he was surprised by the news.

“Yeah, a little bit,” he acknowledged. “Obviously I didn’t see it coming, but it’s the move they decided to make, and I’m just going to go down there and try to continue to get better at what I do. Commanding the baseball. And just work on all my stuff and try to get back as soon as I can.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the game there is no immediate plan to fill the spot in the rotation, with the team not needing a fifth starter for nine days due to two days off next week.

“When he came back, he didn’t look like he was overthrowing,” Farrell said of Kelly. “He was staying in his delivery well. There was a consistent effort and energy within it that allowed him to command the fastball. That has not been the case these last two times out. That’s an area that has been kind of the nemesis of Joe. Blessed with a golden arm and tremendous stuff, but the execution of it has not been as consistent in those games than what he showed previously. … The pursuit to get him back on track is clearly there. We’ve got off days in the schedule coming up. We can do some things. We have some flexibility in the rotation. You exit early, it taxes a bullpen deep, and we’ve got to get another arm here.”

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