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Clay Buchholz leaves with injury at same moment guy he was traded for hits home run 04.12.17 at 1:27 am ET
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Josh Tobias

Josh Tobias

It was noteworthy enough that in just his second start with the Phillies Clay Buchholz was forced from his start after giving up six runs over just 2 1/3 innings. Buchholz, as it turned out, was once again injured, this time suffering a forearm strain.

But then came news what happened at the exact same moment Buchholz was coming out of his game against the Mets.

Three hundred and 18 miles away, Josh Tobias, the player Buchholz was traded for, launched a three-run homer for the Salem Red Sox in Lynchburg, Virginia just as the Phillies pitcher was ending his night.

While Tobias wasn’t considered a top prospect when heading to the Red Sox in the Buchholz deal, the 24-year-old second baseman has impressed through his first six games. The switch-hitter is hitting .385 (10-for-26).


Red Sox 8, Orioles 1: After uneasy spring training, Drew Pomeranz dominates in season debut 04.11.17 at 10:25 pm ET
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Drew Pomeranz (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Drew Pomeranz had a great first outing of the season. (Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

Admit it, you didn’t see this coming.

Chris Sale? Sure. Rick Porcello? Maybe he wouldn’t be quite as good, but it sure seems like he would continue down that top-of-the-rotation path. And Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez left spring training carrying enough optimism that they weren’t considered concerns.

But Drew Pomeranz?

He was the guy who so many believed was not only not equipped to pitch in the American League East, but would most likely have to do so with a bad left elbow. And when news game down that his progression as Red Sox property had gone from inconsistent starter, to postseason reliever, to guy who was getting stem cells taken out of his hip and implanted into his elbow, there wasn’t a lot of belief that Pomeranz would be relied on in the Sox’ starting rotation for long.

The hope that the Red Sox would be able to get a return on their investment — which was sending their top pitching prospect, Anderson Espinoza, to San Diego — only diminished when Pomeranz’ delayed spring training was slowed further by a sore triceps.

But here he was Tuesday night, turning in one of his best games as a member of the Red Sox in his team’s 8-1 win over the Orioles. (For a complete recap of the game, click here.)

Pomeranz said throughout spring training the plan was going to work out, and sure enough, when it came to making his first start in fine fashion, it certainly did.

The Red Sox starter left his season-opener having gotten through six innings and one batter in the seventh without having allowed a run. In the 91-pitch outing, Pomeranz struck out six and walked just one, flashing a 95 mph fastball out of the gate. (He would be charged with a run after Heath Hembree failed to strand his inherited runner, Chris Davis.)

“I felt like I had waited forever to get that first start,” Pomeranz said. “I hadn’t thrown off a mound in eight or nine days, something like that. I just tried to do everything I could to stay ready and be ready for this day. I’ve been working hard and things clicked in warmups today. I felt really good out there.”

“I was feeling really good today,” he added. “I figured out some things mechanically, timing-wise. Things that I have been looking for, searching for all of spring and finally it all come together.”

While appearing on the Bradfo Sho podcast, he had suggested that last year’s 14 appearances with the Red Sox weren’t representative of what the All-Star was capable of.

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Can Drew Pomeranz be the pitcher Red Sox thought they were getting? 04.11.17 at 11:39 am ET
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Drew Pomeranz (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Photo)

Drew Pomeranz (Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Photo)

Colleague John Tomase wrote a great column Monday, pointing out the importance of Chris Sale to Dave Dombrowski’s legacy in Boston.

But there might be one move that rivals Sale when it comes to highlighting the good and bad of Dombrowski. That would be his trade for Drew Pomeranz last July.

All the particulars of the trade were well-documented:

– The Red Sox needed an starter, and Pomeranz, who was fresh off making the National League All-Star team, was considered one of the top two available candidates. In 17 starts with San Diego, he had totaled a 2.47 ERA.

– To get Pomeranz, the Red Sox were forced to give up their top pitching prospect, Anderson Espinoza.

– Pomeranz went to experience an up and down tenure with the Red Sox, managing a 4.59 ERA in 14 appearance (13 starts). He would end his season in the bullpen, having been drawn back due to lingering elbow issues.

– Over the offseason, Pomeranz used stem cell injections to help get his arm back in shape, ultimately delaying his progress through spring training.

Now Pomeranz is ready to kick off his next big opportunity – showing the Red Sox he can be an All-Star pitcher in their rotation. That starts Tuesday night against the Orioles.

Why it’s tough to figure what Pomeranz might deliver, especially with such an uneven spring training, it is interesting to note what he said when appearing on the Bradfo Sho podcast.

When asked if he ever felt as healthy with the Red Sox as he had when dominating for San Diego Pomeranz said, “Everybody is dealing with something, and most of the time we’re the ones that know what’s going on. No one else knows what we’re dealing with. I’ve got my mind right to pitch every five days, and was recovering enough to feel good enough to pitch every five days and go out there and still feel good. it can be tough. Pitching in the big leagues in itself is tough enough, especially when you have other stuff going on. You just have to stay focused. You know yourself, so you have to stay within yourself, do what you’re capable of doing and not worry about the rest of it.

“It was an ongoing issue for most of the year. I’ll put it this way, I feel a lot better now than I did then.”

The first challenge will be to prove he is healthier than a year ago. Then will be the issue of pitching in Fenway Park, where he was pretty good for three starts, and pretty bad in the other three.

And, finally, just showing he can turn the kind of quality innings the Red Sox were banking on when moving on from Espinoza.

Do you think Drew Pomeranz will be good this season?

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What would life look like for Red Sox with injured Jackie Bradley Jr.? 04.10.17 at 8:13 am ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr. injured his knee in the ninth inning of the Red Sox's Saturday loss. (Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

Jackie Bradley Jr. injured his knee in the ninth inning of the Red Sox’s Saturday loss. (Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

After getting his cleat caught in the Comerica Park infield Saturday, Jackie Bradley Jr. finds himself with a banged up knee.

An MRI performed Sunday revealed the outfielder has a sprain. Considering the initial diagnosis, and news from MLB.com’s Ian Browne that Bradley Jr. was running around the clubhouse Sunday morning, it certainly seems like things could be worse.

“The MRI shows he’s got some inflammation and a little bit of, I guess you’d call it a sprain to the outside of the knee,” John Farrell told reporters after his team’s win in Detroit Sunday. “We’re going to send him back to Boston to get a full workup, a complete exam with Dr. [Peter] Asnis back there, so right now there’s no determination or decision about his roster status, but [it’s] precautionary. We want to be sure we take every measure available to us.”

But, as we’ve found out throughout the past few years, when it comes to timetables and optimism involving Red Sox injuries, you never know until you really know.

So, with that in mind, it’s fair to think about how big a blow it would be to these Red Sox without their center fielder.

Through the season’s first week, Bradley Jr. might be playing the best defense of his career, which is obviously saying something.

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Red Sox offered another painful reminder David Ortiz-less lineup can’t get sick 04.08.17 at 4:44 pm ET
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Eduardo Rodriguez (Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

Eduardo Rodriguez (Rick Osentoski/USA Today Sports)

To make a judgment about anything regarding the Red Sox following their 4-1 loss to the Tigers Saturday would be silly. (For a complete recap, click here.)

As Jerry Remy said immediately after the game, “You can only go so long while missing three of your best hitters.”

In this case, Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez and Xander Bogaerts weren’t available for a second straight game due to illness The result was a predictably painful offensive output for John Farrell’s team.

And with this sickness, and unfortunate family matters, putting a dent in the Red Sox’ plans early on, the struggles have been the norm. In four games, they have now scored in just four of their 39 innings.

It’s not exactly the proof that the Red Sox were looking for when trying to convince everyone that there is life without David Ortiz.

“There’s an old saying — you do what you can with what you have where you are, and that’s where we’re at right now,” Farrell told reporters. “We still have confidence in the guys we run on the field and put together a quality ballgame, and we’re back at it tomorrow.”

This isn’t a second-guess. Throughout the offseason, heading into spring training, it was a genuine concern that the Red Sox didn’t have solutions for key elements in the lineup. Specifically, the bigger bats who can approach the punch they always leaned on Ortiz for.

You lose Ramirez and Betts, particularly, and the idea of manufacturing runs takes on an entirely new level of importance.

Guys like Andrew Benintendi (who was also throwing up mid-game), Mitch Moreland and Pablo Sandoval — the No. 3, 4 and 5 hitters Saturday — obviously are being relied on more than they should at this time of year. But when such scenarios presented themselves in years past, Ortiz usually allowed for a fail-safe.

Once again, it’s not fair to judge how good this team is after these four games, but the room for the kind of error (or sick days) for this club might not be as great as we’re used to.

Shattering Perceptions Game Note Image

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez didn’t turn in an inspiring performance, giving up four runs over five innings. Most discouraging, besides the home runs surrendered to James McCann and Jose Iglesias, was Rodriguez’s command, which resulted in him throwing just 41 of his 80 pitches for strikes.

“Some mislocated pitches found the middle of the plate that they didn’t miss,” Farrell told reporters. “For the first four innings, he had good power, good action to his secondary stuff, but most impressive was the fastball he could elevate against some quality hitters for some swing and miss, but in the fifth inning, pitches he was maybe getting off the bat head with some foul balls or swing and miss, they were able to get him that second and third time through the order.”

Red Sox sickness reaches new level after NESN’s Dave O’Brien leaves mid-game 04.08.17 at 3:24 pm ET
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Dave O'Brien

Dave O’Brien

This is now officially the worst bout of sickness the Red Sox have ever seen.

The sickness news of the day was thought to be limited to Joe Kelly having to stay back at the hotel, along with word that Hanley Ramirez was diagnosed with the flu back in Boston. But the issue reached new levels in the midst of the NESN broadcast Saturday afternoon.

Television play-by-play man Dave O’Brien was forced from the broadcast during the sixth inning of the Red Sox’ tilt against the Tigers at Comerica Park after feeling ill.

At first color analyst Jerry Remy executed the play-by-play. He then turned it over to studio host Tom Caron, who called the action remotely from NESN headquarters.

“I have to admit this is the first time in 30 years this has happened,” said Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy.

Mitch Moreland and some of the Red Sox’ coaching staff were first to experience the illness, with Mookie Betts, Robbie Ross Jr. and Ramirez also added to the list.

Red Sox lineup: Still no Hanley Ramirez, Mookie Betts 04.08.17 at 10:18 am ET
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Hanley Ramirez. (Jonathan Dyer/USA Today Sports)

Hanley Ramirez. (Jonathan Dyer/USA Today Sports)

The short-handed Red Sox didn’t get any healthier Saturday.

For the third straight game, Mookie Betts is out of the starting lineup due to illness, while the under-the-weather Hanley Ramirez misses is second straight start.

Xander Bogaerts was the one piece of the usual starting lineup that the Red Sox knew wasn’t going to be available, with the shortstop slated to miss the weekend games in Detroit while on the bereavement list.

With the Red Sox facing their fourth straight right-handed starter Saturday in Tigers hurler Jordan Zimmermann, Pablo Sandoval gets moved up in the order to the No. 5 spot.

Here is the Red Sox’ batting order with Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound for the visitors:

Brock Holt DH
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Andrew Benintendi LF
Mitch Moreland 1B
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Chris Young RF
Marco Hernandez SS
Christian Vazquez C

For all the Red Sox news, go to the team page by click here.

David Ortiz will be getting roasted 04.08.17 at 9:33 am ET
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It should be an interesting week.

We knew David Ortiz was having his number retired by the Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 23. But now, thanks to comedian Josh Wolf appearing on the Bradfo Sho podcast, there is another event to look forward to less than 24 hours before.

Wolf announced he will be hosting a celebrity roast for Ortiz at the House of Blues on July 22, with comedians Bill Burr and Lenny Clarke already joining actor Anthony Mackie and most of Boston’s top athletes already committed to participate.

All proceeds will be going to the David Ortiz Children’s Fund.


Red Sox lineup: No Hanley Ramirez, Mookie Betts to start series opener 04.07.17 at 9:37 am ET
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Hanley Ramirez. (Steve Mitchell/Getty Images Sports)

Hanley Ramirez. (Steve Mitchell/Getty Images Sports)

The Red Sox are starting their four-game series in Detroit without their usual cleanup hitter in the lineup.

John Farrell’s batting order against Detroit right-handed starter Michael Fullmer Friday afternoon is without Hanley Ramirez, with Brock Holt seeing his first action of the season, starting at DH and leading off.

Also not in the lineup for a second straight day is Mookie Betts, who is dealing with the sickness that has impacted various corners of the Red Sox’ clubhouse. Ramirez is also reportedly dealing with the flu, and is not at the park, per the Providence Journal’s Brian MacPherson.

Here is the Sox’ lineup with Steven Wright on the mound for the visitors:

Brock Holt DH
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Andrew Benintendi LF
Mitch Moreland 1B
Chris Young RF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Marco Hernandez SS

For all the Red Sox news, go to the team page by clicking here. Also, listen to Friday’s game on the Red Sox radio broadcast.

Give Red Sox credit for seemingly having handle on what they had after leaving Fort Myers 04.06.17 at 2:12 pm ET
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Carl Willis (Kim Klement/USA Today)

Carl Willis (Kim Klement/USA Today)

After the Red Sox’ second win in as many tries, Wednesday night, pitching coach Carl Willis was presented with the notion that he, along with the rest of the team’s decision-makers, had properly identified what they were working with coming out of spring training.

“I hope so,” Willis deadpanned.

It’s been just two games, but Willis and Co. should feel good about how things have worked out so far.

“We did,” said Willis when asked if the Red Sox felt they had a pretty good handle on what each player could do coming out of spring training. “And, you know, spring training, especially this spring training, is so long through the natural course of spring training you might see guys early in camp throwing the ball really well then they have a hiccup and they have to recover. Sometime that hiccup occurs late and they’re trying to figure it out and get out of it. It can be difficult.

“The one thing about our, aside from [Craig] Kimbrel, no one had a really defined inning-type of roll they had experience in for two years in the big leagues. We had guys with experience, but they hadn’t locked down a specific role. We talked about it after Game 1, going with the hot-handed guys in spring training. But I do feel like the experience they have, getting back to Boston, getting to Fenway, that focus gets a little stronger.”

With just two weeks to go in spring training, the narratives had already been formed. Most were under the assumption that Joe Kelly was going to be the lock-down, eighth-inning guy, with Robbie Ross Jr. being perceived as the next known entity in the bullpen.

Robby Scott, Heath Hembree and Matt Barnes were all having good Grapefruit Leagues, but considering them for high-leverage situations didn’t seem a priority.

Mixing and matching, while pushing three virtual unknowns — Scott, Hembree and Barnes — to the front of the line, the Red Sox’ relievers have gone 7 2/3 scoreless innings while allowing just four hits and a walk, striking out five.

Kelly was finally offered another chance to show his worth when pitching two shutout innings Wednesday night, while Ross Jr. and the pitcher who was supposed to be the lead lefty, Fernando Abad, still haven’t made an appearance.

And then there was the catching position, where Sandy Leon, the player John Farrell anointed the starter in the offseason and stayed with the proclamation throughout February and March, wasn’t exactly tearing it up. On St. Patrick’s Day, the switch-hitter was hitting just .188 in Grapefruit League play.

Next thing you know, Leon is duplicating his performance of last season, getting hits in five of his first eight at-bats, including Wednesday night’s walk-off, three-run homer.

It’s just two games, but the importance of figuring out what the Red Sox have at positions that there wasn’t much of a track record to go on, shouldn’t be understated.

“As hard as we try, it’s hard to get away from guys saying, ‘Oh, it’s spring training.’ But spring training counts. You can’t just flip a switch,” Willis said. “I think we have seen guys are prepared and ready to go.”

Do you agree with how the Red Sox have used their bullpen so far?

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