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Red Sox lineup: Travis Shaw starts at third base in series opener against Blue Jays 09.09.16 at 3:20 pm ET
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Travis Shaw (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Travis Shaw (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

TORONTO — Travis Shaw has worked his way back into the Red Sox’ lineup.

With righty Marco Estrada on the mound for the Blue Jays Friday night, Red Sox manager John Farrell starts Shaw at third and Brock Holt in left field. Shaw’s presence is no surprise considering he is coming off a performance Wednesday in which the 26-year-old notched a pair of hits, including his 16th homer of the season.

Shaw had been sidelined with the presence of Yoan Moncada. But with the rookie striking out 10 times in his 17 at-bats, including his last seven plate appearances, the Sox’ Opening Day starter gets another crack at holding down the position against right-handers.

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

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

For all the matchups, click here.

What’s Yoan Moncada going through? Former top prospect Wil Myers can relate 09.09.16 at 10:49 am ET
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Wil Myers

Wil Myers

TORONTO — Wil Myers lived the life Yoan Moncada has found himself in.

Like Moncada, Myers was once classified as one of the top minor leaguers in baseball, climbing to No. 4 on Baseball America’s 2012 list of best prospects. He remembers the pressures, the talk and, finally, the moment the dream became a reality.

Myers’ introduction to the big leagues came on June 18, 2013, getting the start for the Tampa Bay Rays in right field against the Red Sox.

“I remember before my first at-bat, which happened to be at Fenway,” Myers told WEEI.com. “Everybody was like, ‘Oh, just because you’re the No. 1 guy doesn’t mean you aren’t going back after this game.’ That comes with it. That’s that added pressure. You just embrace it. This guy [Moncada] right here has played five games in the big leagues and everybody knows about him. That’s right where you want to be. Good for him.”

Moncada obviously was in the crosshairs from the minute he made his major league debut a week ago, having been proclaimed as Baseball America’s No. 1 prospect earlier this season. A $31.5 million signing bonus and gaudy minor league numbers will do that.

Myers was no different, having not only been slotted one spot ahead of Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez on the 2012 Baseball America list (hitting 37 homers in ’12), but also being identified as the guy the Royals surrendered prior to 2013 to secure top of the rotation starter James Shields.

Myers didn’t struggle out of the gate like Moncada has, managing a .331 batting average and .990 OPS in his first two months in 2013. But, now with his third big league organization, the Padres first baseman understands the value of continuing to keep the pressure on, no matter the initial results.

“There’s definitely pressure that comes with [being a top prospect], but as a competitor you want that pressure,” Myers said. “As good as [Moncada] is, you want that pressure on you. You don’t want to be a guy who doesn’t have any expectations. If you’re that good you’re going to have a lot of expectations and those are the ones you want to exceed. I think there’s definitely some pressure there, but if you look at in a good way it can only help.”

David Ortiz’s one request for his final few games? Make sure Dan Dyrek is close by 09.08.16 at 6:35 pm ET
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Dan Dyrek and David Ortiz will be inseparable for the season's final month or so. (John Tlumacki/Getty Images)

Dan Dyrek and David Ortiz will be inseparable for the season’s final month or so. (John Tlumacki/Getty Images)

TORONTO — Want to know who will be one of the most important people in that Red Sox clubhouse for the final three weeks of the regular season?

Hint: He’s a 63 year old, former championship collegiate swimmer from the suburbs of Buffalo, who was the reason Larry Bird was able to play on the “Dream Team” back in the 1992 Olympics.

His name is Dan Dyrek, and he is he man in charge of getting David Ortiz to the finish line.

How important is the Red Sox’ Director of Sports Medicine Services? For the final regular season month of his career, Ortiz had one request of the Sox’ owners. It wasn’t another car, more money, or any other kind of retirement gift. It was Dyrek.

“Huge. Huge,” said the Red Sox’ designated hitter when asked about the importance of the physical therapist. “When he’s not around I’m not feeling comfortable. My feet hurt when he’s not around, more than usual. I swear.

“He started traveling everywhere because everybody wanted a piece of him. But this last month I told the owner we need him around 24-7 [24 hours a day, 7 days a week] because he’s incredible.”

The impact Dyrek has had on not just one, but two, of the greatest icons in Boston sports history is truly remarkable. First it was managing Bird’s balky back for the final few years of his career, having been told by the Hall of Famer that he wouldn’t be punctuating his career with the ’92 trip to Barcelona if Dyrek didn’t come along.

And now, Ortiz.

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Andrew Benintendi may be ready for return during next homestand 09.07.16 at 8:05 pm ET
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Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

SAN DIEGO — Andrew Benintendi is getting close.

The rookie outfielder, who has been sidelined with a left knee sprain since Aug. 24, continues to progress ahead of schedule, as was evident by his work prior to Wednesday night’s game. Using his new knee brace, Benintendi has picked it up to a pace where a return to the big leagues is now in sight.

“A good work day today,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “The work in the outfield, the change of direction, the increase in running, the intensity continues to climb, he’ll go through his normal BP here today. And I would suspect that once we get to Toronto and we get another work day under our belt, we may be at the point where if there’s at-bats to be had somewhere, that’s a possibility if a team is still in playoff activity. He’s responded very well to the work so far.”

Ideally, the Red Sox would like to get those minor league at-bats with either Single-A Salem or Lowell. But there are no certainties in using those organizations to get the lefty hitter at-bats.

But, no matter how he continues the rehab process, Benintendi appears to be on target for a return to the lineup before the next road trip comes around.

“Yeah, based on what’s transpired over the last three, four days, we would anticipate that he would be available at some point when we get off the road,” said Farrell, whose team starts a seven-game homestand Monday against the Baltimore and the Yankees.

In 21 games before his injury, Benintendi was hitting .324 with an .850 OPS.

Closing Time: Clay Buchholz cements spot in starting rotation with win over Padres 09.07.16 at 4:31 am ET
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Clay Buchholz received a hearty round of applause after his start Tuesday night. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz received a hearty round of applause after his start Tuesday night. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

SAN DIEGO — It took until Sept. 6 at Petco Park for Clay Buchholz to get the crowd reaction he had been banking on since getting his first start exactly five months before.

It was a boisterous standing ovation from the sea of red making up a good chunk of the 30,000 Southern California fans, celebrating Buchholz’s 6 2/3-inning outing against the Padres.

“Yeah, I hadn’t had one of those in a while,” Buchholz said of the applause. “It’s like I’ve said — good times, bad times. I still feel like I can pitch and help this team out. Regardless of the role, it’s a part of the game, and whenever my name is called, I try to go out there and give the team the best chance I can to win. I’m feeling good right now.”

He has officially made it back.

With no further clarification in regards to Steven Wright’s recovery, and just 24 games left in the regular season, Buchholz is a virtual lock to remain in the starting rotation the rest of the way. No more bullpen. No more bouncing back and forth. He has not only joined what has been the American League’s best starting rotation for the last month, but cemented himself as an integral part of the group.

Coming into Tuesday, Buchholz had already re-established his value both in the bullpen and when getting a crack at starting. Since July 27, the righty has totaled a 2.20 ERA. As a starter during that stretch he has a 2.31 ERA in four outings.

The latest might have been his best of the year, weaving in and out of a Padres lineup that boasted seven left-handed hitters using an equally effective changeup, curveball, cutter and mid-90’s fastball. When the 87-pitch evening was done, he had given up just one run while striking out six and not walking a batter.

“Very proud of him,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell, whose team drew even with Toronto for first-place in the American League East with the win. “Proud of the resiliency that he has shown. And he’s not stopped working. He could have … when you move to the bullpen, you can take it one of two ways. For him after maybe going through the news the first time, he’s taking it in the right way and has worked to get better. You know what, the results are showing.”

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After second opinion, Steven Wright optimistic but still uncertain about return 09.07.16 at 2:53 am ET
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Steven Wright is still uncertain if he will pitch again this season. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

Steven Wright still is uncertain if he will pitch again this season. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

SAN DIEGO — The trip to Los Angeles Tuesday for the second opinion on his ailing right shoulder was just what the doctor ordered for Steven Wright.

Dr. Neal ElAttrache agreed with the findings of Red Sox team doctor Dr. Peter Asnis when it came to Wright’s shoulder, reaffirming to the pitcher that there was no structural damage despite continued discomfort.

“I didn’t want them to find anything different from what they already found. They were just making sure there’s nothing more there,” Wright said. “[Dr. ElAttrache] was super thorough. We were there for two hours. He answered all of our questions and concerns and basically everything he said was the same thing that Dr. Asnis said. So that’s encouraging for sure.

“It’s definitely more peace of mind more than anything because having two doctors explain to you the same exact thing from looking at the same MRI, it’s definitely encouraging. So now it’s just a matter of tolerating the pain and taking it day by day and not getting too far ahead of ourselves. I’m just looking forward to that.”

Now comes the obvious next question: Does Wright expect to pitch again this season?

“I’m just trying to take it day by day and working on getting all the strength back,” he said. “If it happens, great. If not, it’s one of those things I’m not going to say yes and know that I’m going to pitch because I don’t know. It’s day by day. Hopefully, but you never know.”

Wright still wasn’t planning on getting any kind of cortisone shot, although he also didn’t know of any drastic from what he had been doing during the recovery process.

After coming off the 15-day disabled list, the knuckleballer continued to have tightness in his shoulder throughout his last two starts, with the issue failing to improve with time.

“People heal different,” Wright said. “It’s one of those things where bursitis is definitely in there and he didn’t really know. As long as though there is no structural damage and just inflammation, sometimes it takes a little more time than others.”

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Yoan Moncada to get Wednesday off after striking out 7 straight times 09.07.16 at 2:36 am ET
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Yoan Moncada's first week in the big leagues has been rough. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

Yoan Moncada’s first week in the big leagues has been rough. (Jake Roth/USA Today Sports)

SAN DIEGO — It’s time for the Red Sox to call an audible when it comes to the integration of Yoan Moncada into the big leagues.

After the third baseman struck four more times Tuesday night, making it seven straight at-bats he has fanned, Red Sox manager John Farrell confirmed that the original plan to play Moncada in all three games against the Padres has been altered. The rookie will sit the series finale out, with Travis Shaw likely to get the start against San Diego righty Jarred Cosart.

“He’s getting pitched to,” said Farrell after his team’s 5-1 win. “He’s seeing some things here for the first time. Three-two breaking balls for strikes. Backdoor breaking balls from left-handers that I’m sure in Portland and in the Eastern League, he’s not going to see all that often. Not uncommon that some of these firsts are going to be challenges for him. These are growing opportunities for him.”

“These won’t be my first strikeouts and they won’t be my last,” said Moncada through translator Daveson Perez. “Just got to keep moving forward and know that the players that strike out are players that are actually playing in the game. Just take each game individually and I’ll move forward from there.”

After the game, Moncada received words from encouragement from various corners of the Red Sox’ clubhouse, including president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and designated hitter David Ortiz.

“[Dombrowski] just told me to keep my head up and keep working hard because the big leagues are tough for someone who’s knew this is something that happens,” Moncada said.

As for Ortiz, the infielder said, “He just told me that first of all, that happened to him when he first broke into the league, he struck out four times in one game. And that the game’s not easy, it’s a process and to just stay focused on getting better and playing my game.”

During Monday’s game, only three of the 17 pitches Moncada saw were fastballs. Tuesday, there were a few more fastballs (11 of the 20 pitches he saw), but the results weren’t any different. The switch-hitter was left guessing, watching seven strikes while swinging and missing three times.

“They’ve thrown a lot of them and it’s been throwing me off a little bit but just have got to work on seeing them better and making contact,” said Moncada of the offspeed pitches.

“It’s probably a day to kind of take some things in,” Farrell said. “Give him a little bit of a breather and begin to rebuild and regroup a little bit.”

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Yoan Moncada explains why it took so long to show off throwing arm 09.06.16 at 1:29 pm ET
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SAN DIEGO — There was a lot about Yoan Moncada that people were anxious to witness.

Hitting from each side of the plate. Speed on the basepaths. Ability to field his new position.

But after four games, there has been one aspect of the third baseman’s game that stands out: his throwing arm.

So, now that we have seen what appears to be a Manny Machado-esque arm, the question has to be — Why was a player with this kind of ability to throw a baseball playing second base? With the help of translator Daveson Perez, Moncada explained.

“The only reason I was at second base was because the Cuban team needed me to be there,” he said. “But now that I’m at third I get the chance to show the arm that I’ve always had.

“I’ve always had a good throwing arm, it just so happened they moved me to second base so I was throwing a lot softer. But the arm has always been there.”

Moncada, who did pitch as an 11 year old, seems genuinely relieved to play a position where his throwing arm can be highlighted.

“I’ve always liked third base and now that I’m there I get a chance to showcase the arm that I’ve always had,” he said. “Third base has always been a position I’ve enjoyed. Now is a chance to show what I’ve got.”

“Previous, you’re always seeing it from a different arm angle, a different arm slot, because of the position of second base,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “Seeing it across the field, seeing it carry and the power to the throw, he’s explosive. And it plays out in a number of different ways, including his arm strength.”

John Farrell explains approach to saving David Ortiz for 9th inning 09.05.16 at 9:11 pm ET
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David Ortiz opportunity to pinch-hit Monday didn't go well. (Neville E. Guard/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz’s opportunity to pinch-hit Monday didn’t go well. (Neville E. Guard/USA Today Sports)

SAN DIEGO — Welcome to National League baseball.

As was expected, John Farrell was presented with an interesting decision when it came to using David Ortiz in a tight game. In this case the choice came down to whether or not pinch-hit Ortiz in key spots in either the eighth inning or ninth inning against the Padres on Monday.

Farrell went for the latter.

The Red Sox manager opted to pinch-hit Sandy Leon for lefty-hitting Brock Holt with southpaw reliever Brad Hand on the mound, the Red Sox trailing, 2-1, one out and Aaron Hill representing the tying run at third base. Leon came into the at-bat hitting .404 vs. left-handed pitching, while managing two hits in six pinch-hitting at-bats this season.

The move didn’t work out, with Leon striking out on a big curveball from Hand, whose pitch actually hit the batter in the foot. While the ball bounced back to the backstop, Hill couldn’t advance since it was correctly deemed a dead ball. Xander Bogaerts struck out looking to end the threat.

“With a left-hander on the mound, to stay right-handed and knowing they’re going to close with a right-hander, that was a pretty clear-cut decision at the time,” said Farrell when asked about the decision after the Red Sox’ 2-1 loss.

Sure enough, Ortiz would get his chance against the Padres’ right-handed closer, Brandon Maurer, an inning later.

After a fly out to lead off the ninth by Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez reached on an infield single to represent the game-tying run. Then, after a strikeout by Jackie Bradley Jr., Ortiz came to the plate in the place of Yoan Moncada (who had struck out in all three of his at-bats).

With the sold-out crowd at Petco Park crowd on its feet, Maurer eventually got Ortiz to fly out to center field on a 97 mph fastball to end the game.

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Don Orsillo ready to move on from Red Sox: ‘It was good to see everybody — now it’s like another series’ 09.05.16 at 4:04 pm ET
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Red Sox broadcaster Don Orsillo acknowledges the crowd against the Orioles at Fenway Park last September (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

Red Sox broadcaster Don Orsillo acknowledges the crowd against the Orioles at Fenway Park last September (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

SAN DIEGO — Don Orsillo needed to cross this reunion off his list.

The former NESN broadcaster, let go last summer, will call his first Red Sox game from the opposing booth on Monday when the Red Sox open a three-game series with the Padres in San Diego.

Orsillo, 47, spent Monday morning renewing acquaintances with everyone from Red Sox players to manager John Farrell to behind-the-scenes NESN folks and clubhouse workers.

“I needed to get in the clubhouse, I needed to get in the NESN truck to see the guys,” Orsillo said. “I needed to see John. I hadn’t seen John, he wasn’t here for the All-Star Game. The clubhouse guys, Tommy [McLaughlin], all those guys. It was good to see everybody. Now it’s like another series.”

Orsillo has made a home for himself in picturesque southern California.

“I really didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “I didn’t know much about the National League, interleague maybe, but it’s not the same thing, obviously. I love it here. The ballpark’s beautiful, the city’s beautiful — they call it America’s finest city. The weather is tremendous. Every day it’s 75. What you see today is what it is. It’s a great division. I love going to the ballparks, San Francisco is terrific, we went to Dodger Stadium for the third time this year. The biggest challenge to me this year has been learning the National League. It’s been different. It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve enjoyed it very much.”

Orsillo, whose broadcast partner is former big leaguer and Holliston native Mark Sweeney, shares the same wish with Padres fan, that his new team was playing better. The Padres began the day in last place in the NL West, 20 games out of first.

“We’re in different places,” he said. “This team is heading in a different direction. The last couple of years were hard. Last place three out of four, right? It’s kind of similar to what we had there. The intensity of a playoff race, which you guys are having right now, is something that’s different. For me, I didn’t know anywhere else. That’s all I had ever known my whole childhood was that. Now, down here, it’s different. Of course it’s different.”

Orsillo has understandably had this series circled for a while.

“I saw it on the schedule, and you spend 20 years in an organization — five in Pawtucket, 15 in Boston — it’s going to be different seeing these guys across the field,” he said. “But I will say, having seen a lot of these guys at the All-Star Game really helped. David [Ortiz] and I spent some time at the All-Star Game, Mookie [Betts], Xander [Bogaerts], I saw a lot of these guys when they were here here and I hadn’t seen them at all this year. That was good to see those guys then. That certainly made it less weird now that they’re here again a couple of months later.”

As Orsillo spoke, a stream of well-wishers with Boston ties interrupted him to welcome him back.

“It’s definitely different to be on the visiting side and to walk in there and know so many faces, lot of hugs, lot of handshakes,” he said. “It’s great to see those guys.”

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