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Pablo Sandoval says he never gave ultimatum regarding playing time, MRI results ‘pretty bad’ 04.15.16 at 11:34 pm ET
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Pablo Sandoval will seek a second opinion on his injured left shoulder, Monday. (Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports)

Pablo Sandoval will seek a second opinion on his injured left shoulder, Monday. (Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports)

Speaking after the Red Sox 5-3 win over Toronto Friday night, Pablo Sandoval offered some clarity as to where he stood regarding his injured left shoulder, while responding to some of the recent reports portraying his displeasure with the situation with the Sox.

The third baseman refuted the Yahoo! Sports report that stated he had told the organization that he wanted to move on from the Red Sox if he wasn’t going to play on a regular basis.

“They can say whatever they want, it’s going to come from my opinion,” Sandoval said. “I’m just going to work and keep doing the things I’m doing. Keep working hard. I’m happy. I’m not happy. They can say whatever I want, but they aren’t going to get my happiness from me.”

He added, “I was talking the other day and they I told them, ‘I’m happy with all the decisions you guys made.’ The team is going to be better that way. I’m going to be happy. I’m going to continue to work hard, continue to do my job.”

As for the health of his left shoulder, Sandoval didn’t sound overly optimistic.

While he wouldn’t reveal the specific findings of Thursday’s MRI, Sandoval did says that after talking to his family throughout the night it was determined that the best course of action would be to visit Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion. That will take place Monday.

He reported that he was still very sore as of Friday night. Sandoval also said that it was the same sort of injury he had in 2011, although that MRI revealed far less damage.

“I don’t know. I’m just going there to see what’s going on,” said Sandoval when asked if he had an inkling what the end result might be. “I got the first opinion. I don’t want to tell you what’s going on, but it’s pretty bad so I want to get a second opinion. It’s going to take me some time to decide what we’re going to do.”

There were some video showing Sandoval may have hurt his shoulder on a dive in Toronto, Saturday afternoon. But the third baseman explained that most likely wasn’t the impetus for the pain Tuesday morning.

“I had at-bats in that game, so I don’t think it was on that play,” said Sandoval, who went on to pinch-hit Sunday. “We looked at it. We still looking at what caused that problem. After that play I was able to practice for three more days.”

Earlier in the day, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wouldn’t rule out surgery, while also not getting into specifics about the injury. It was the same tone taken by Sandoval.

“I don’t know if I’m going to have surgery,” he said. “I’m just going to see what happened. What’s the opinion? How can I get back at soon as possible? I just want to know what’s going on in there.”

Dave Dombrowski: ‘Great deal going on’ in Pablo Sandoval’s left shoulder 04.15.16 at 5:23 pm ET
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Pablo Sandoval

Pablo Sandoval

The Pablo Sandoval saga drags on.

Speaking before the Red Sox’ series opening game against the Blue Jays, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said an MRI taken Thursday revealed there was ‘a great deal going on’ in Sandoval’s left shoulder.

Dombrowski wouldn’t reveal any specifics in regards to the findings, but did reveal that Sandoval would be receiving a second opinion with Dr. James Andrews on Monday.

“I’m not going to speculate on anything, but I won’t rule out anything, either,” said Dombrowski when asked if surgery was a possibility.

As for the Yahoo! Sports report that Sandoval wanted to play every day or change organizations, Dombrowski said that it hadn’t been presented to him in that sort of cut-and-dried manner.

“It’s never been termed to me that way,” Dombrowski said. “I know he wants to play every day, but he also understands the situation.”

Sandoval was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday after revealing that he was having trouble lifting his left arm.

(Here is the play that Sandoval possibly aggravated his left shoulder on)

You might be surprised which former Red Sox Travis Shaw is trying to emulate 04.15.16 at 1:03 pm ET
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Travis Shaw (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Travis Shaw (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Travis Shaw is a pretty popular player these days.

The new Red Sox starting third baseman has played nearly flawless defense, while hitting .292 with an .810 OPS through the first eight games.

So when he reveals that his favorite player growing up was Yankee Alex Rodriguez, Red Sox followers will be happy to give the almost-26-year-old (his birthday is Saturday) a pass.

And baseball-following folks in New England will also be OK when Shaw identifies which major league player has had the biggest influence on the way he swings the bat — former Red Sox Adrian Gonzalez.

“Approach-wise, it probably started my junior year of college,” said Shaw of his infatuation with Gonzalez’s swing. “I kind of started thinking more along the lines of trying to hit with power, driving it into the left-center field gap. And then in Double-A, that’s when my leg kick started. With that leg kick, and the way I placed my hands, I know I watched a ton of video on him before my leg kick … To me, how calm my leg kick is, and how early I start, that was something I really focused on when watching him. It seemed like he was so calm, calm, calm with his swing. It took a couple of years for it to develop into that.”

While Gonzalez’s exit out of Boston in August, 2012 tarnished the perception of the first baseman in these parts, Shaw points to the one full season Gonzalez had in Boston as what he zeroes in on.

In 159 games in 2011, Gonzalez had a monster year, hitting .337 with a .957 OPS. And while the 27 home runs seemed plenty for the corner infielder, it was the doubles that stood out.

“If you watched him hit at Fenway, he hit like [45] doubles. That’s what I want to do,” Shaw said. “Not so much home runs, but more along the lines of 30 or 40 doubles.”

Considering Gonzalez’s continued success, having totaled an .846 OPS in a major-league-best 3,388 plate appearances since the beginning of ’11, it probably isn’t a bad idea for Shaw to try and emulate the lefty hitter. (For what it’s worth, Gonzalez is off to another solid start, hitting .375 with a .972 OPS after 10 games.)

“He’s just a guy he’s always looked at,” said Shaw of Gonzalez. “That’s what I’m trying for.”

Dave Dombrowski: Pablo Sandoval undergoes MRI, results Friday 04.14.16 at 5:56 pm ET
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In a text to WEEI.com, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wrote that Pablo Sandoval would be undergoing an MRI on his strained left shoulder Thursday, with the results of the evaluation most likely surfaced Friday.

Sandoval was placed on the 15-day disabled list with the shoulder ailment Wednesday without the team conducting an MRI.

The third baseman said after being placed on the DL, and meeting with Dombrowski, general manager Mike Hazen and manager John Farrell, “I wake up and I can’t even move my arm.”
For more on Sandoval’s comments, click here.

Closing Time: Red Sox get enough from Joe Kelly, bullpen to hand Orioles first loss 04.13.16 at 10:23 pm ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr. tears into his fourth-inning triple, Wednesday night at Fenway Park. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Jackie Bradley Jr. tears into his fourth-inning triple Wednesday night at Fenway Park. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

It certainly was a step in the right direction for the Red Sox, and their starting pitching rotation.

The team carrying the highest starting pitching ERA in the majors got just enough from Joe Kelly in its 4-2 win over the Orioles on Wednesday night at Fenway Park. Kelly got the win, allowing two runs over five innings while throwing 116 pitches.

While the righty failed to get a single 1-2-3 inning, walking five, his only significant miscue came when he allowed a two-run home run to Chris Davis in third inning. Kelly lowered his ERA to 10.13 after two starts.

(For more on Kelly’s outing, click here.)

Kelly’s counterpart, Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez, experienced similar issues when it came to pitch efficiency, needing 104 pitches to get through five frames.

The Red Sox did just enough to hand Jimenez and the O’s their first losses of the season. In the third inning, immediately after the Orioles took the lead on the Davis homer, Xander Bogaerts knotted things up with a two-run double.

The following inning the Sox took the lead for good, mainly thanks to Jackie Bradley Jr. The Red Sox outfielder tripled in Brock Holt with a blast to the base of the right-field wall. A Betts ground out would score Bradley for the insurance run.

Closing Time note

The triple by Bradley was clocked by StatCast at 109 mph, the fastest ever clocked off his bat.

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With Blake Swihart’s uneven performance, Christian Vazquez conversation heats up 04.13.16 at 12:26 am ET
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Blake Swihart

Blake Swihart

It was not a good night for Blake Swihart.

The Red Sox catcher not only was behind the plate for another subpar Sox pitching performance in their 9-5 loss to the Orioles, Tuesday night, but suffered through a key miss on Mark Trumbo’s foul pop-up in the sixth inning.

The misplay on the pop-up was highlighted, of course, because Trumbo came back and launched a two-run homer to center field which gave Baltimore a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

“It’s my fault,” Swihart said. “We should never have been in that situation. That should have been an out right there, a 4-2 lead.

“I’m not going to make that an excuse, the wind. I need to catch that ball. That’s my ball to make. I’ve got to make that play.”

While Swihart’s batting average (.281) and on-base percentage (.421) are certainly adequate, he has caught six of the Red Sox’ seven starts, with the team’s starters totaling a major league-worst 7.32 ERA.

And, with a catcher in Christian Vazquez, who the pitchers have continuously professed their admiration for when it comes to receiving and calling a game, seemingly ready to re-enter the big leagues, the conversations about a possible switch have begun.

“You know, that’s part of discussions that are ongoing,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell of a possible Vazquez promotion. “There’s nothing imminent right now. If we were to make any kind of decision we’ve got to have further conversation with him.”

Vazquez, who continues to return from Tommy John surgery while playing for Triple-A Pawtucket, still hasn’t caught in three straight games, but has been behind the plate for four of the last five PawSox contests.

Offensively, Vazquez appears locked in, hitting .462 (6-for-13) with seven walks, while showing improved accuracy and velocity with his arm.

Ryan Hanigan is expected to get the start Wednesday, with Joe Kelly on the mound.

David Ortiz is urging everybody not to panic about Red Sox 04.12.16 at 11:53 pm ET
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David Ortiz trots around the bases after his two-run homer Tuesday night. (Mark Baer/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz trots around the bases after his two-run homer Tuesday night. (Mark Baer/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz has gone through relatively slow starts before.

In 2009, the Red Sox began going 2-6 in what turned out to be a playoff team. A year later, they started 3-4 before slumping to 4-10. And in 2011, Terry Francona’s last Sox club began 0-6.

There was the 1-5 start in 2012. The encouraging 5-2 beginning to 2013. And then the uninspired 3-5 beginning to 2014.

Last year? The Red Sox started 6-2, and how did that work out?

So when asked about the possibility of him panicking following the Sox’ 9-5 loss to the undefeated Orioles, dropping John Farrell’s team to 3-4, Ortiz was incredulous.

“No. Why should I be? We have 150-some more games left,” the designated hitter said when asked if he was nervous about the start. “Things are going to change. It’s early. Don’t panic.”

He added, “You think I am [nervous]? Look at my face.”

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Travis Shaw has good explanation why he likes hitting off lefties 04.12.16 at 4:56 pm ET
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Travis Shaw. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

Travis Shaw. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

Travis Shaw has been pinch-hit for three times this season with a lefty on the mound. After Monday’s loss, in which the replacement came in the sixth inning with little pay off, the conversation about the strategy only amped up.

Shaw isn’t about to buy into the controversy.

“It’s still early. It’s the first week,” said the third baseman, who has seen just five plate appearances from the seventh inning and on despite starting every game. “I’m not reading too much into it. I know that’s what Chris Young is brought here to do. It just tends to be my spot.”

But considering Shaw is a hitter who totaled a .329 batting average and .975 OPS in 85 plate appearances last season, there is a curiosity about what he might be able to do, and if his success against southpaws is a sign of things to come.

Shaw has the explanation as to why his ability to succeed off of left-handers is a very real thing.

“I started changing my approach in A ball, kind of what I was looking to do against lefties. [Minor league coach] Rich Gedman told me to try something different and it worked,” he said. “I’ve kind of stuck with that the whole time. For me it’s more approach based. What I try to do helps me lay off of the sliders.

“If it’s hard it’s running back into me. I noticed when I was trying to stay inside the ball against lefties I would just get blown up on fastballs, and then I would chase that slider. So I completely revamped my strategy in what I was looking for, so I looked to pull lefties so that way the fastball in I’m on time and I can hit it that way because it’s coming in. Then the sliders that are off the plate they look so bad because I’m looking to pull, so I’m able to lay off for the most part.

“There are going to be times I get fooled, and times I get blown up. But for the most part, it’s helped me a lot.”

Then there is how he has continued to keep the numbers trending in the right direction, as was evident when hitting .391 (9-for-23) in spring training.

“I like hitting lefties,” Shaw said. “If you notice, every day in BP at home I hit off a lefty. Every day. I don’t ever hit off a righty in BP at home.

“It’s something that developed. I didn’t used to be very good off of lefties, but in the past two or three years my comfort level has gotten pretty good.”

Red Sox lineup: Blake Swihart catches Clay Buchholz 04.12.16 at 3:38 pm ET
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Blake Swihart

Blake Swihart

With another righty on the mound for the opposition — as Mike Wright starts for the Orioles Tuesday night at Fenway Park — John Farrell sends out the same lineup he executed in the home opener, Monday.

With Buchholz on the mound, Blake Swihart once again gets the start at catcher, with Ryan Hanigan slated to team up with Wednesday’s starting pitcher, Joe Kelly.

Here is the Red Sox’ lineup in the second game of the three-game set:

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Brock Holt LF
Blake Swihart C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

For all the matchups, click here.

Will John Farrell keep pinch-hitting for Travis Shaw? 04.12.16 at 11:32 am ET
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John Farrell

John Farrell

Forget about David Price, Craig Kimbrel or the pomp and circumstance that came with the 2015 Fenway Park Opening Day. It was John Farrell’s late-inning approach that dominated the conversation after the Red Sox’ 9-7 loss the Orioles heading into Tuesday.

For the third time this season, Farrell chose to pinch-hit Chris Young for Travis Shaw. It was also the second time this season he has executed the maneuver as early as the sixth inning.

The first time the move worked perfectly, with Young doubling off of Cleveland lefty Ross Detwiler in the sixth. Friday night, the results weren’t as positive, with the righty hitter striking out with the two men on against Toronto southpaw Brett Cecil. (It was a move that Blue Jays manager John Gibbons later admitted he didn’t expect.)

And that brings us to Monday.

With the Orioles holding a one-run lead in the sixth, and Baltimore manager Buck Showalter choosing to start the inning with lefty T.J. McFarland, Farrell chose to replace Shaw with Young once again. The outfielder would pop up to first. But that was just started the debate.

With the game tied in the seventh, Farrell elected not to use Pablo Sandoval to pinch-hit for Young against Baltimore right-hander Mychal Givens.

This was Farrell’s explanation after the game: “With the left-handed closer in [Zach] Britton, that was the swing decision. It’s an aggressive move in the sixth inning but the way the wind is blowing, the way the ball is carrying, looking for spots for Chris Young against the left-hander, that was it, knowing that Britton is going to close that game out, if they were to take the lead.”

Would it have been worth it to let Shaw get the two more at-bats and then bring on Young vs. Britton if the occasion came up in the ninth (which it didn’t)? Or how about the idea of using Rusney Castillo, who hit .318 against lefties in 94 plate appearances last season, in that spot against the Baltimore closer?

Farrell clearly identifies Young the kind of weapon against lefties he previously has never had, which is why the manager came out of the gate proclaiming the outfielder would start against every southpaw starter.

And even though Shaw hit .329 with a .975 OPS in 85 plate appearances against left-handers last season, Farrell prioritizes keeping lefty-hitting Brock Holt and Jackie Bradley Jr. in the game, particularly since both also hit better than .300 against lefties in 2015.

But the question now has to be surfaced: Will Farrell continue this strategy?

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