|No ligament damage for Clay Buchholz; Brian Johnson called up||07.11.15 at 4:11 pm ET|
“The information we have is that the MRI confirmed there is a strain to the flexor muscle,” Farrell said. “It did indicated the ligament was clean and there was no changes to that. We’ll get a better idea through the weekend here how long the initial shutdown period would be so that’s the extent of the information right now.”
Farrell added, “What it says is typically when you’ve got a ligament damage there’s been some deterioration or lack of strength or decreased strength that ends up putting more stress on the ligament and that’s when the ligament ends up getting damaged. To me it sounds like this has been caught early on where the changes have only been shown in that flexor muscle not the ligament so Clay’s health was first and foremost in this. Talking with him last night after the MRI, he was certainly relieved but still we’ve got to take the necessary steps to let this calm down and rebuild this.”
As for a timetable for Buchholz’ return, Farrell said that has yet to be determined.
“I think it’s going to depend on upon the extent of the initial injury and how long that shutdown period might take,” the manager noted. “I do know that however long that is it’s going to mirror the length of time to getting back on the mound so if there’s a seven-day shutdown you’re looking at an intial seven days to build back up.”
Taking Buchholz’ place on the 25-man roster is Brian Johnson, who will pitch out of the bullpen until after the All-Star break.
The 24 year old lefty totaled an 8-6 record and 2.73 ERA with Triple-A Pawtucket, having last pitched Monday in a start he gave up two runs over five innings. The outing against Syracuse was his first since having to exit an appearance due to illness.
“One thing he showed right in spring training was a willingness to attack the strike zone with three pitches,” Farrell said of Johnson. “He’s got a couple breaking balls he can get some swing and miss to. The experience at the higher level have allowed him to face older hitters, more experienced hitters that might sit on certain pitches but I think it’s his overall competitivness in addition to the repertoire mentioned that make him equipped.”
Johnson said he woke up his parents at 12:30 a.m. Saturday after finding out the news he would be called up.
“Since I was five years old, this is your goal, to get here,” he said. “Watching Eduardo [Rodriguez] go up there and have such success every outing is awesome and it gives you confidence.”
|Red Sox lineup: Mike Napoli, Alejandro De Aza start again||07.11.15 at 3:20 pm ET|
Making his second straight start at first base is Mike Napoli, who came away with a single in three at-bats Friday night.
Here is the Red Sox lineup for the series’ second game:
|David Ortiz not keen about playing first base going forward||07.08.15 at 5:22 pm ET|
While it sure sounds like the Red Sox would like to continue their integration of David Ortiz at first base, the 39 year old sounds less than enthusiastic about the proposition of making it a regular occurrence.
Speaking prior with WEEI.com prior to the Red Sox‘ game with the Marlins Wednesday — a game which has Ortiz starting at first base at Fenway Park for the second time this season — the lefty hitter appeared luke warm on the idea manning first.
“Hopefully not many,” said Ortiz when asked how many games he could envision himself playing at first going forward.
“To play defense you have to prepare yourself. I don’t know how this is going to go. I don’t know how this is going to play out. Tomorrow we have a day off and I agreed to play first base today. But if they plan on putting me out there more I have to sit down and talk to them about it because I don’t want to be playing out there, not being prepared to play out there, and now all of a sudden I end up getting injured and I lose it all. I have to sit down and talk to them to see what their plan is and go from there because I’m not a first baseman overall.”
With Ortiz playing first, Hanley Ramirez is allowed to slide into the designated hitter position where he enters Wednesday hitting .333 with five home runs and a 1.293 OPS in 30 plate appearances.
It also presents the Red Sox’ best defensive outfield, with Alejandro De Aza at left field, Mookie Betts in center field, and Shane Victorino manning right field.
“With the off-days and Alejandro only getting defensive-replacement innings, I didn’t want that,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “I felt like he’s certainly earned and has contributed when he’s been on the field, and we wanted to get him at least four at-bats before the other off-day and we go into a weekend series where there’s going to be another three righthanders thrown against us. Travis [Shaw], obviously a solid night last night, and looked very comfortable on the field in both places, but tomorrow’s off-day gives us a chance for David to be back at first base.”
Ortiz didn’t get a single put out in his start at first Sunday, having to field one ground ball. At the plate, he went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run. Shaw managed three hits playing first Tuesday night, with Mike Napoli still waiting to re-enter the lineup after time off to work on his swing.
“I’ll get through today, but I don’t know,” Ortiz said, who was asked to play first base by Farrell Tuesday night. “It’s surprising I’m playing first base again today. I don’t know what they’re thinking, but I’m going to discuss that with them at some point.”
“The focus with David at first is today only,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “The approach with that is more day-to-day in his availability.”
|How Rick Porcello is approaching this start||07.08.15 at 10:28 am ET|
For the Red Sox and Rick Porcello, it would seem to be an uncomfortable situation leading up to his Wednesday night start.
Would the club’s highest-paid pitcher be forced to skip a start heading into the All-Star break in an effort to uncover what has been sending Porcello down the right path?
He hasn’t won since May 16 and is coming off one of the worst starts of his career, giving up seven runs over two innings.
But Porcello is pitching against the Marlins, and he’s confident that the decision will be the right one.
“That’s something that’s between me, John [Farrell] and Carl [Willis],” Porcello said when asked about the conversations regarding making his start this week. “I want the ball.”
The last time Porcello went through the kind of ordeal experienced at Rogers Centre was April 20, 2013, when he allowed nine runs over two-thirds of an inning. The following start resulted in a win, with the righty allowing three runs over 6 1/3 innings. In fact, he ended up totaling a 2.73 ERA over his next five starts after the disaster vs. Atlanta.
Along with being reunited with catcher Ryan Hanigan — Porcello has a 3.79 ERA and .200 batting average against when teaming with the backstop — the 26-year-old is confident he has taken the right approach heading into Wednesday.
“It’s just a matter of going out there and executing pitches. I’m going to do that, keep it simple, and do my thing,” Porcello said.
“To me it’s just relaxing and executing pitches under control. I’ve practiced in the bullpen trying to simulate game situations and doing different things to prepare mentally. I feel really positive about that. That’s all it is. Just go out there and do it now.”
|Xander Bogaerts one year removed from life as third baseman: ‘I just had to live with it’||07.07.15 at 10:54 am ET|
Xander Bogaerts is officially a shortstop, and judging by 2015 returns it appears that’s the way it’s going to stay for a long time.
He has played well enough to be a candidate for the All-Star Game’s Final Vote, leading all American League shortstops in hits, doubles, RBI, slugging percentage, times on base and Wins Above Replacement.
A year ago, what Bogaerts was identified as was a question mark.
That was because, thanks to the midseason acquisition of Stephen Drew, the only existence he had ever known (except for a short postseason run) ‘ that of a shortstop ‘ was being stripped from him.
What a difference 365 days makes.
“Yeah, that was the toughest part for me, but I just had to live with it,” Bogaerts said when he was moved from shortstop to third base for the final four months of the season. “I’m just here to help the team win, and obviously that was what the team thought was best.”
As it turned out, it wasn’t best for anybody.
Bogaerts went on to play 44 games at third base, hitting just .182 with a .517 OPS while at the position. In those contests he manned third, the Red Sox went just 35-54.
“I just felt the comfort level was never the same,” Bogaerts said. “That said, I just had to play that way and I was blessed to have a chance to play every day.”
Two important things did unfold for the 22 year old, leading to his current success. First, he finished 2014 with confidence, hitting .313 with an .806 OPS in September.
“I finished the season on a good note,” Bogaerts remembered. “That was important.”
Then he made the commitment to attending EXOS (former Athletes Performance) in Phoenix for the offseason, resulting in an increased quickness and overall improved confidence in his physical capabilities.
|David Ortiz on All-Star voting: ‘We need to take this more serious’||07.03.15 at 11:57 am ET|
That’s why he doesn’t like what he’s witnessed this year.
“We need to take this more serious when it comes to picking guys for the All-Star Game,” the Red Sox designated hitter said.
Like the rest of baseball, Ortiz has witnessed how fan voting (which closed Thursday night) has unfolded, with Royals players either leading, or close to leading, virtually every position on the AL roster.
According to the most recent results, second baseman Omar Infante (.231 batting average, .547 OPS) and Alcides Escobar (.273, .664) of the Royals would be starters if the game was played today.
Other KC players garnering enough votes to start at last glance are outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon, and catcher Salvador Perez. In second place at their positions are DH Kendrys Morales, first baseman Eric Hosmer and third baseman Mike Moustakas.
Ortiz joins the voices saying enough is enough.
“I know that MLB always wants to get the fans involved in this because as a fan you want to see your favorite players. But the reality is the way I know All-Star Games are for whomever is playing the best in the first half. Now you see all these things that’s happening with Kansas City and their players. I saw that coming. I saw that coming a long time ago. I knew it was going to happen,” the DH said.
“I think the reality is that they need to go back to the old days and choose the players who are playing the best in the first half. Even us as players are like, ‘These guys are making the All-Star Game with these numbers?’ It’s questionable. I don’t think it’s fair to some of the players.”
|Source: Red Sox eyeing younger pitchers under club control beyond this year||07.02.15 at 6:20 pm ET|
TORONTO — As we head into the final few weeks until the non-waiver trade deadline, the Red Sox‘ approach seems to be taking shape heading toward the end of the month. And at this moment, it doesn’t appear to include a pursuit of Cole Hamels, or even Johnny Cueto.
According to a major league source, the Red Sox‘ priority leading up to the July 31 deadline is to find younger pitchers who are under team control beyond just this season. Also per the source, it isn’t likely the Red Sox would be chasing pitchers already owed a substantial chunk of money.
This would suggest that Hamels wouldn’t be in the Red Sox’ cross-hairs, with the lefty under team control for the next four seasons but turning 32 later this year. The Philadelphia starter is owed $67.5 million from 2016-18, with a $20 million club option for ’19.
Cueto, who may be the most coveted pitcher on the trade market, is due to become a free agent after this season. The 29-year-old has totaled a 2.84 ERA in 15 starts this season, including an eight-inning, one-run gem against the Twins on Wednesday.
Both starters and relievers are being looked at by the Red Sox.
Of the starters currently in the Red Sox rotation, Rick Porcello ($20 million), Clay Buchholz ($13 million club option) and Wade Miley ($6 million) seemingly are locked in for next season’s rotation.
|Red Sox lineup: Ryan Hanigan makes return, Jonathan Aro sent down||07.02.15 at 3:57 pm ET|
To make room for Hanigan on the 25-man roster, the Red Sox sent down reliever Jonathan Aro to Triple-A Pawtucket having thrown 44 pitches in his three-inning stint Wednesday. It leaves the Sox with three catchers, with both Blake Swihart and Sandy Leon remaining with the club.
Here is the Red Sox’ lineup against Toronto starter Matt Boyd:
|John Farrell not pleased after another Red Sox outfielder forgets number of outs||07.01.15 at 5:45 pm ET|
TORONTO — If losing 11-2 to the Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon wasn’t bad enough, along came the punctuation for the Red Sox‘ blowout loss.
With two outs in the sixth inning and Josh Donaldson at third base, Edwin Encarnacion lofted a fly ball to center field, which Mookie Betts camped under. But instead of simply catching the ball and running into the dugout Betts launched a throw home.
Betts had become the second Red Sox outfielder in the last four games to lose track of the number of outs, this time thinking Donaldson was tagging up from third.
“I just lost focus for a second,” Betts explained. “At least I caught it, so that’s three outs.” When asked about the miscue again, the center fielder said, “It was three outs. Sometimes you have mental breakdowns, especially after a long game. I messed up.”
“There’s no excuse for that,” said Farrell of Betts’ mistake. “Losing track of the outs in the inning is not something – it can’t be accepted.”
|Day games clouding Koji Uehara’s optimism||07.01.15 at 1:58 am ET|
TORONTO — Koji Uehara is cruising.
With his third save in as many days, Tuesday, the Red Sox closer is 18 for 20 in save opportunities this season with a 2.89 ERA. In his last five outings, Uehara has allowed just one baserunner, averaging just 12.6 pitches per inning.
So, what keeps him up at night? Having to pitch early in the day.
“I think the games that I have pitched well are night games, not day games,” Uehara said through a translator when asked what has been key in his recent run. “I think that’s the only difference. I think my ERA shows I pitch better in night games.”
The logical follow-up: Why?
“Because I’m old,” he said. “Older guys need to sleep in.”
All joking aside, the difference in results has been of some concern for the 40 year old. He has allowed 10 runs on 13 hits over 8 2/3 innings during his 10 appearances in day games, compared to just three runs on nine hits over 19 1/3 frames at night.
“What I’m figuring could be in the sunlight can see better and that’s why I’m getting hit a little bit more in day games. That’s the only reasoning I can think of,” Uehara surmised. “Also the fact that my body is not awakened as night games.”
It’s an issue that isn’t lost on Uehara’s pitching coach, Carl Willis.
“That’s where the communication comes in, and the trust factor,” Willis noted. “It’s good to hear him say that because you don’t want that false positivity when you’re not 100 percent, or you are dragging that day. We need to know those things.
“It’s more difficult [when you’re older]. But I think in his case he does everything he can to combat that. He’s very routine oriented and understands what he needs to do. But there are times you can’t avoid it, either.”
The Red Sox and Uehara almost certainly won’t get a chance to see if the trend can be reversed during Wednesday’s day game considering he has worked three straight days.
But perhaps the reliever can find his payoff this weekend at Fenway, when the Red Sox play back-to-back day games.
“There are a couple of things that I’ve tried,” Uehara said.
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