|Red Sox lineup: Foot keeps David Ortiz out against Blue Jays||08.25.14 at 3:24 pm ET|
TORONTO — After leaving Sunday’s game with a contused right foot — having fouled a ball off himself in the fourth inning — David Ortiz is not in the Red Sox‘ starting lineup Monday against Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.
While an initial exam ruled out any fracture, Ortiz was noticeably sore following the Sox’ loss Sunday. Taking his place at designated hitter will be Mike Napoli, with Allen Craig getting his first start at first base as a member of the Red Sox.
Ortiz has more home runs (37) at Rogers Centre than any other visiting player.
Here is the Sox’ lineup with Clay Buchholz on the hill for the visitors:
Brock Holt SS
Yoenis Cespedes LF
Mike Napoli DH
Allen Craig 1B
Daniel Nava RF
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Mookie Betts CF
Christian Vazquez C
|Clay Buchholz says he’s ready to take his turn helping lead a starting staff||08.25.14 at 1:00 pm ET|
TORONTO — There have been times throughout Clay Buchholz‘s career when he was the best pitcher on the Red Sox‘ starting staff. But at no time was he perceived as the kind of leader all others should file in line behind.
Like it or not, that dynamic suddenly has shifted.
Buchholz is the last man standing in a rotation that was full of veterans. Gone are Jon Lester, John Lackey and Jake Peavy. Left behind is Buchholz, who just turned 30 years old 11 days ago, and a bunch of 20-somethings.
So, with that in mind, the obvious question should be asked of the righty: Are you ready to lead a staff?
“I’ve always been the best at what I’ve done. When I got to the big leagues it was the first time I wasn’t the best. So I always carried myself, I’m not the most vocal person ever, but I know what I need to do to get my job done,” he said during a recent sit-down at Fenway Park. “Sometimes it doesn’t happen but I know my thought process was right going into it. Having those guys, the Jon Lesters and the Lacks and Peavys and [Josh] Becketts and [Curt Schillings], that definitely helps a lot because you can pick their brains and learn a lot about the game, you sort of try to take everything you can that’s going to help you. I’ve been able to do that over the last six, seven years with a lot of great baseball minds. I feel like if that’s sort of what I’m slated to do is be the veteran guy on the team and help out.
“I’m feeling more and more comfortable with the role I have right now as each day goes by.”
There is the element of leading by example when put in the position as head of any starting staff. But there is also the reality that such a pitcher has to be consistently productive, which Buchholz is currently trying to establish after the worst season of his career.
If Buchholz does rediscover success, then the conversation is pushed toward his role in the midst what has become a uncertain group of youngsters.
It’s a dynamic he’s not unfamiliar with.
“Even before Lack and Lester and Peavy left, that’s a lot of years of baseball between a select number of guys. They would be sitting and watching video or something and they would ask me ‘What do you see right there?’ and another day I’d ask them. So everybody is helping each other, not just one person helping everybody out,” he said. “It’s sort of everyone going in and helping each other and I think that’s what makes a pitching staff stronger than maybe it should be because the guys trust each other and you build sort of what you’re trying to do. You’re scouting report goes off of what other guys are saying. That’s sort of how pitching can be difficult and make it a little bit easier at the same time.
“It definitely helps if they’re the guys that are the ones that can give you advice without it critical. I’ve had a good mix of just about everything. [Tim Wakefield] would be the first person to come up to me and tell me, ‘Hey, this is what I see.’ That helped me a lot because he’s been around the game a long time. Wake pitched with Pedro [Martinez], saw him, saw Schill. He knows what he’s talking about when it comes to pitching and he’s one I’ll always listen to even though he threw a knuckleball. He was really good a breaking down mechanics and he’s helped me out this year, too.
“There’s definitely good to having older guys on the club. But none of these guys are here because they just got lucky. They’re here because they throw good pitches and they deserve to be in the big leagues. That’s first and foremost for me.”
|Closing Time: Mariners sweep to make it 8 straight losses for Red Sox||08.24.14 at 5:45 pm ET|
Well, this time the Red Sox hit a bit. But it didn’t matter. They still lost.
The Sox, who hadn’t scored more than three runs in any of their previous seven games (all losses), put up a five-spot — along with 10 hits — against the Mariners in the teams’ series finale at Fenway Park. But thanks in large part to Allen Webster‘s ineffectiveness, the end result was still an eighth straight defeat for the Sox. The final this time: Mariners 8, Red Sox 6.
It’s now an eight-game losing streak during which time the Red Sox have been outscored 38-20, dropping them to 18 games below .500 (56-74).
Also staying consistent with the trend throughout the losing streak was the time of game. This time the duration of the nine-inning tilt clocked in at four hours and seven minutes. Entering Sunday, the Red Sox had averaged 3:29 per game throughout the homestand.
The Red Sox had a chance to come all the way back in the ninth, loading the bases against Seattle closer Fernando Rodney. But Kelly Johnson — who had replaced in an injured David Ortiz in the sixth inning — fanned to end the threat, and game.
The Sox stranded 15 runners, going 6-for-19 with runners in scoring position.
Perhaps the most discouraging aspects of this loss for the Red Sox was Webster’s inability to hold what had become a 5-3 lead for the hosts.
Webster, who was coming off a decent outing against the Angels in which he allowed three runs over six innings, immediately gave up a single run in in the fourth and two more in the fifth following the Sox’ comeback.
The righty’s final line included six runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings, raising his ERA over six starts to 5.81.
Here is what went wrong (and right) for the Red Sox in their 74th loss of the season.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
— The Sox had a golden opportunity to at least tie the game in the seventh inning, putting runners at first and third base with one out. But Christian Vazquez‘s liner back up the middle was stabbed by pitcher Danny Farqhar, who then threw to first to double up Mookie Betts.
|Robinson Cano walks off field in middle of Yoenis Cespedes’ at-bat due to dizziness||08.24.14 at 2:50 pm ET|
Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano exited Sunday’s game against the Red Sox with nobody out, one on and the count 0-2 to Yoenis Cespedes in the third inning. The team announced Cano’s departure was due to dizziness.
Cano, who had lined to center field in his only at-bat, started walking off the field before any medical staff could leave the dugout. He eventually was met by Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon near the third-base line.
|Red Sox lineup: Brock Holt gets start at shortstop||08.24.14 at 10:16 am ET|
With Seattle sending Hisashi Iwakuma to the mound for its series finale against the Red Sox, the hosts will have Brock Holt as their starting shortstop.
With Allen Webster on the mound for the Red Sox, here is the lineup for John Farrell‘s club:
Brock Holt SS
David Ortiz DH
Yoenis Cespedes LF
Mike Napoli 1B
Allen Craig RF
Will Middlebrooks 3B
Mookie Betts CF
Christian Vazquez C
|Joe Kelly, Xander Bogaerts exit early due to injury, report no lingering issues||08.22.14 at 11:59 pm ET|
Xander Bogaerts, who was hit square in the head with Felix Hernandez pitch in the fifth inning, was forced to exit in the bottom of the sixth.
‘Xander, in the top of the following inning, started to not be able to hold his focus or his concentration as much toward the end of that half-inning,’ said Red Sox manager John Farrell. ‘Got him out of the game at that time.’
‘Once I got on defense, I mean, I was happy that I got no groundballs because I kind of lost my focus a bit,’ Bogaerts said. ‘I was looking at [second baseman Dustin Pedroia] a lot and he was asking am I OK. I knew I didn’t feel 100 percent right there.
‘I feel good. I’ll come to the park [Saturday] and see how I feel and take it from there.’
Red Sox starter Joe Kelly also had to leave prematurely, failing to come out for the sixth after throwing just 86 pitches. The pitcher’s issue stemmed from a feeling he felt in the fifth, that was short-lived but offered reason for caution.
‘He felt some kind of sensation in his shoulder on one pitch,’ Farrell said. ‘We went out and checked him. He couldn’t reproduce anything in the two warm-up throws he threw after that. He got through that inning. Precautionary, got him out of the game. Following coming out, no restrictions on range of motion, not ability to reproduce any of the symptoms, so we’ll certainly check him again tomorrow.’
‘It stinks,’ said Kelly, who allowed just one hit while striking out five and walking three. ‘I had a little minor tweak in my shoulder that I felt on a curveball in that first pitch of the at-bat. That was something I hadn’t felt. So I had a couple more warmup pitches where I thought I was okay enough to finish the inning. Then I was taken out due to precautionary reasons. It was something that me and the training staff will look over and we think it’s not too serious.’
After the game, Kelly reported no issues.
‘I feel good,’ he said. ‘Ran through some tests. Other than just pitching 88 pitches through five innings and having normal soreness and fatigue, there’s no signs of anything too big at all. I feel like I’m going to go out there and pitch my next start.’
|Sources: Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo nearing decision on Red Sox, others||08.20.14 at 10:13 am ET|
According to major league sources, Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo is expected to decide which major league offer he will be accepting in the next few days (by the end of the week).
The Red Sox are one of the teams to have made strong bids for Castillo, whom they held a private workout for Aug. 1.
One of the unique dynamics when it comes to guessing a landing spot for the 27-year-old — who has accepted blind bids from teams — is the lack of information from the baseball world. With most free agents, the players have relationships with a variety of people throughout baseball, leading to ideas regarding where he might be leaning toward. With the Cuban defectors, no such avenues are in play, resulting in quite a bit of guess-work.
Red Sox outfielder Yoenis Cespedes told WEEI.com that he has not recently spoken to his former Cuban teammate.
While some have suggested Castillo might be better served easing into his career as a minor-leaguer, that scenario isn’t likely. Considering his age, and his experience in Cuba, the thought among those committing to the outfielder is that he is ready to contribute to the majors right now.
Many of the teams involved are eyeing Castillo to be a contributor for a postseason run, hence the importance of adding him to rosters before the Sept. 1 cut-off for playoff eligibility.
“He’s a player we’ve seen and we’ve talked to, but we’re just one of several teams that have done that,” Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said Tuesday at Fenway Park. “There’s nothing more I can say.”
Speaking to WEEI.com, Cespedes said of Castillo, “If he’s not a five-tool player, he’s a least a four-tool player. He’s very comparable to [Dodgers outfielder Yasiel] Puig. Obviously a different height and size, but very similar qualities.”
|Dustin Pedroia leaves game after fouling ball off foot||08.16.14 at 12:05 am ET|
The second baseman left what resulted in the Sox’ 5-3 loss after running out a ground ball in the bottom of the eighth inning.
‘He fouled a ball off the right foot. He came out, obviously, he’s sore,’ said Red Sox manager John Farrell. ‘We’ll check him in the morning to see, or when he reports tomorrow, to see if he’s available. He’s a little bit sore after [Saturday night].’
After the game, Pedroia underwent a Fluoroscan that proved negative. In 2010, he underwent surgery after fouling a ball off his left foot.
|Jon Lester explains not going to highest bidder, John Henry hug||08.15.14 at 10:02 am ET|
Appearing Friday morning on “The Hill-Man Morning Show” on WAAF, former Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester explained the thought process behind his recent comments to the Boston Herald regarding not necessarily taking the highest offer as a free agent in the upcoming offseason.
“The whole point behind that was ‘¦ The question behind it was, ‘Hey, are you going to be basically wooed by the highest bidder?’ My point behind that is that I don’t need to go to the highest bidder if that isn’t going to make me happy,” he said. “I’m not going to just take the highest bid, the money, the most years just because it’s in front of you. To me, that’s not how I make decisions. I make decisions based on me and my family and is this place ‘whether it’s Boston or one of the other 29 teams ‘ is this place going to be good for me and my family? If that’s the case, you leave money on the table for that decision. That being said, it may be the highest bidder you end up going to. But for me you make the informed decision of, ‘Hey, is this place going to make me happy? Is this the right situation for me?’ And then you just go from there. If it’s the most years and the most money than that’s what it is.”
Some other topics discussed by Lester …
Any hard feelings with Red Sox?
“I understood where the starting point was. It wasn’t like they offered that and things stopped. The offer was closer to end of spring training so we had a little bit of time to negotiate, we used that time to the best of our ability and just couldn’t come up with a deal from there. No, there’s no animosity. There’s no hatred or anything like that. Those guys didn’t get to own the Boston Red Sox by being stupid and just starting at a point where you kind of laugh at them as far as too high or too low. They know what they’re doing and that’s how they wanted to start negotiations. But there are no hard feelings behind that.”
On comments made by Red Sox that they were going to make aggressive offer
“You can only hope at this point what they say is true, and that they want to be competitive and they want to make an offer and they want me back.”
On the hug with Red Sox principal owner John Henry upon leaving Fenway Park
“A little awkward. It was a weird gig. I was pulling out of the lot, had the truck in drive, went to move and he was just standing next to my car. I didn’t know where he came from, didn’t see him walk up. He kind of surprised me. So I get out of the truck and I thought he was just coming to shake my hand, and give me a hug and say goodbye. I kind of went in for the hug before he wanted the hug. He pulled me aside. He wanted to talk to me, which I thought was very nice. I appreciate everything he told me. Behind close doors, where there were no photographs or bystanders, we actually shook hands and had kind of a normal hug. But at that time, yeah, it was a little awkward.”
Is his cable still active in his Boston home?
“That is accurate. We’re still paying bills at the house”
|Allen Craig didn’t feel foot injury was going to be serious||08.10.14 at 4:39 pm ET|
Red Sox outfielder Allen Craig shared Sunday that he didn’t feel his foot injury was serious at the time that he suffered it in his first game with the Red Sox. Craig jammed his foot on first base on Aug. 1 after being acquired from the Cardinals in a trade that sent John Lackey to St. Louis.
“I think that my gut kind of told me that everything was going to be fine and that I just kind of tweaked my foot a little bit on the base,” he said. “I wasn’t necessarily worried about it, I just saw it as an opportunity to get some reassurance and check that off the list and make sure that everything is fine so we can move forward with the new team I’m on here.”
Craig, who dealt with a foot/ankle injury last postseason, said that his current injury — which he termed a mid-foot sprain — is a “pretty similar deal.” He added that he has felt ‘great’ all season, though he understands that people might speculate that his foot is to blame for what’s been a down year offensively for him.
Craig is eligible to come off the disabled list on Aug. 17.
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