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Blake Swihart (ankle) will focus on both catcher, left field during rehab, plans to be ready for spring training 08.28.16 at 6:47 pm ET
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Blake Swihart

Blake Swihart

It’s been a tough year for Blake Swihart.

After transitioning from catcher to left field early on this season, Swihart was injured going for a ball down the left field line at Fenway Park in early June. The plan was for him to return this season, but the ankle didn’t respond the way it was hoped to and thus he had surgery on Aug. 15, officially ending his season.

Swihart was in the Red Sox clubhouse before Sunday night’s game and indicated he would be getting his cast off on Monday.

“My ankle feels good. I’m not in any pain at all,” Swihart said. “I think in the middle of the offseason I’ll be able to get into baseball shape.”

Typically players who miss this much time during the season would be candidates to play winter ball, but given the length of the rehab process, manager John Farrell doesn’t seem to think that will be possible.

“It’s going to be rehab-based,” he said. “We expect him to be ready to go in spring training, but he’s in a pretty delicate phase right now allowing that surgery to mat down or bend down to heal. Once he comes out of being immobilized, then the next phase of that rehab and range of motion starts to kick in. I don’t that winter ball is likely to make up for any lost at-bats. An unfortunate injury that’s cost him quite a bit of time this season.”

Swihart said he will be working as both a left fielder and a catcher while rehabbing and doesn’t have a preference to one or the other.

“Whatever gets me on the field,” he said.

The 24-year-old is disappointed not being able to play down the stretch, but will be rooting on his teammates from the dugout.

“It’s hard, I want to be out there with them, but at least I get to come in and be there with them during the whole thing,” Swihart said. “It’s a lot of fun seeing them, the way they’re playing. It’s awesome.”

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Red Sox seeking base stealing threat off bench, Yoan Moncada in mix 08.28.16 at 6:04 pm ET
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Could Yoan Moncada help the Red Sox off the bench this season? (Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports)

Could Yoan Moncada help the Red Sox off the bench this season? (Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports)

One of the features of the Red Sox’ September and October rosters in recent years has been having a player who can come off the bench and be a base stealing threat.

In 2004 that was Dave Roberts and in 2013 it was Quintin Berry.

Manager John Farrell said the team is still looking for that player for this season.

“Yeah, and we’ve been on the look out for that,” he said. “Whether it’s external or someone internally that would serve that role that remains to be seen, but yeah, we’ve had discussions about that particular and specific role. Again, I don’t know who that name is going to be to fill that spot.”

One player internally who could fill that role is Yoan Moncada.

The 21-year-old has 44 stolen bases in 56 attempts this season — the most in the entire Red Sox organization. Also, last year he had 49 stolen bases in 52 attempts. Most of the talk around Moncada has been his recent transition to third base in Double-A, but Farrell did acknowledge the team has discussed calling him up once rosters expand, but haven’t made a final decision.

“I would say the talk around Yoan has been about moving obviously to third base,” Farrell said. “He’s just getting some reps at that position. Whether or not he comes up in a role that would be either mixed in, he’s obviously been much better as a left-handed hitter this year, if he’s mixed in that capacity. Does he give you a base stealing threat coming off the bench is a possibility. Those are the types of things we’ve talked about. Whether or not he comes up here is yet to be determined.

“We know he’s an exciting young player with tremendous talents. Whether that time is 2016 or sometime after, that’s yet to be determined.”

It’s also worth noting Berry is currently a free agent. In order for him to be eligible for the postseason, he would need to be signed by Aug. 31.

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Dustin Pedroia to miss Sunday night’s game due to family matter 08.28.16 at 3:31 pm ET
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Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia

According to the Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia will no be available for Sunday night’s game, with the second baseman having to attend to a family matter.

“He’s left the team to attend some services for a member of their family,” manager John Farrell said. “Our condolences go out to both Dustin and Kelli and their families. And we would expect him back later later tomorrow night — after the beginning of the game. We’ve not put him on the bereavement list. That requires a minimum of three games missed, so we’ll play a man short here.”

“Based on his texts, he’s envisioning a walk-off hit in the ninth,” Farrell added. “Much like Pedey fashion, that was his parting text this morning before he left.”

Pedroia has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball, having collected hits in 11 consecutive at-bats — one shy of the major league record — before grounding out to second in the eighth inning of the Red Sox’ 8-3 win over the Royals Saturday night.

In his last three home games, Pedroia has 13 hits, having become the first player since 1913 to notch four or more hits in three straight Fenway Park contests.

Brock Holt will start at second base for Pedroia.

Here is the entire Red Sox lineup with Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound for the hosts:

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

The Boston Herald was first to report Pedroia’s absence.

Sunday’s Red Sox-Royals matchups: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Yordano Ventura 08.28.16 at 8:27 am ET
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In Sunday night’s series finale at Fenway, the Red Sox will send Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound while the Royals will dispatch right-hander Yordano Ventura.

Rodriguez is 2-5 with a 5.11 ERA and a 1.398 WHIP in 13 starts. On Tuesday, Rodriguez threw a three-inning simulated game, as he works his way back from a hamstring injury suffered on Aug. 16. Part of Rodriguez’s rehab also has been making sure he is confident pitching despite suffering a injury.

“The thing is I had that experience before with my knee. I went out there and was just thinking about my knee and when I threw the ball, remember what happened here? I gave up nine runs because I was thinking of my knee and every pitch was right down the middle,” he said Monday. “I don’t want to think about it. Because I had that experience before with my knee.

“I want to feel 100 percent. And I don’t want to think about it. Like I do right now, now I’m not thinking about my knee and I just throw the ball so I can get 100 percent and I’m not thinking about it.”

Rodriguez missed his last start on Sunday, but the last time he was on a mound, Aug. 16 against the Orioles, he pitched four innings of no-hit baseball before leaving the game with the hamstring injury.

In two starts against the Royals, Rodriguez is 1-0 with 2.19 ERA and a 1.135 WHIP. The last time the 23-year-old lefty pitched against the Royals was in August of last season. In that start, Rodriguez threw six innings, allowing four runs (two earned), seven hits and no walks with one strikeout.

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Sunday Red Sox Farm Report: C Dan Butler 4-for-4 for PawSox; top draft pick Jason Groome allows 1 run in 2 IP for GCL Sox 08.28.16 at 7:39 am ET
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Here’s a look a the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday.

Dan Butler

Dan Butler

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (69-64): L, 7-2, at Syracuse (Nationals)

— Catcher Dan Butler had half of his team’s hits, going 4-for-4 with a double. The 29-year-old bumped his average 16 points to .305 in 43 games with the PawSox.

— Center fielder Ryan LaMarre and first baseman Chris Marrero had Pawtucket’s other hits, as they both went 2-for-4. LaMarre hit a solo home run in the third inning, his 10th of the season.

— Left-hander Brian Johnson started and pitched four innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits (three home runs) with two strikeouts. He was touched up for five runs in the fourth. Right-hander Chandler Shepherd relieved and pitched three innings of shutout ball, allowing one hit and a walk with four strikeouts. Lefty Robby Scott pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning.

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Read More: Dan Butler, Jason Groome, rafael devers, rainel rosario
Red Sox slated to open 2017 season at home against Pirates 08.27.16 at 11:35 pm ET
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The schedule is still subject to change, but the original blueprint for the 2017 Red Sox regular season should be a conversation-starter.

According to Major League Baseball sources, the Red Sox are slated to kick off next season at home against the Pirates. They would then head to Detroit for the second series of the year.

It would be the first time the Red Sox began their season at home since 2010, when they played the Yankees in an April 4 meeting. It would mark just the fourth time since 1996 the Red Sox have kicked off the schedule at Fenway Park.

The meeting with the Pirates would mark the Sox’ second National League Opening Day opponent, having played the Phillies in Philadelphia in 2015.

While the 2017 schedules have been presented to the teams in MLB, the plans could change, particularly with time of games and scheduling being a focal point for the players in the upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations.

Closing Time: David Price, streaking Dustin Pedroia get Red Sox back on track in win over Royals 08.27.16 at 10:13 pm ET
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Dustin Pedroia remained on fire against the Royals on Saturday. (Bob DeChiara-USA Today Sports)

Dustin Pedroia remained on fire against the Royals on Saturday. (Bob DeChiara-USA Today Sports)

David Price looked like a Cy Young candidate. Dustin Pedroia looked like an MVP.

The Kansas City Royals didn’t have a chance.

With Price delivering one of his most encouraging outings of the season and Pedroia extending his consecutive-hit streak to 11 with his second straight four-hit night, the Red Sox cruised to an 8-3 victory that ended their modest losing streak at three games and dealt the Royals just their fourth loss in 20 games.

Staked to an immediate 2-0 lead against Royals starter Danny Duffy, Price gave it back in the second on a homer by Salvador Perez and an RBI double by Alcides Escobar. But the Royals advanced no further, because Price locked in.

Featuring perhaps his best fastball of the season, Price didn’t need to fool the Royals so much as overpower them. His final pitch — a 95 mph fastball at the knees over the outside corner — froze Alex Gordon looking as Price’s seventh strikeout victim.

“Everything was working for me in the first two innings,” Price said. “It’s just, I didn’t make pitches. I felt good, I left a cutter in the middle of the plate to Salvador with some fastballs as well as to Escobar and Alex Gordon as well. But after that I just moved forward and made pitches.”

Meanwhile, the offense teed off on Duffy, who had won 10 straight decisions dating back to June 11. The American League’s ERA leader was tagged for seven runs on nine hits in five innings, including home runs by Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez that prompted Duffy to mouth, “No way,” on the mound. His ERA climbed from 2.66 to 3.01.

The offensive star was once again Pedroia. He recorded three singles and a double while lifting his average to a team-high .321. He reached base in 12 straight plate appearances (11 hits, one walk) before grounding into a double play to end the eighth.

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Read More: David Ortiz, David Price, Dustin Pedroia, hanley ramirez
Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright feels good one day after return to mound 08.27.16 at 8:29 pm ET
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Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright felt good a day after his return to the mound. (David Butler/USA Today Sports)

Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright felt good a day after his return to the mound. (David Butler/USA Today Sports)

Steven Wright’s first hurdle was returning to the mound, which he did in Friday’s 6-3 loss to the Royals. He cleared his second hurdle on Saturday.

Pitching is one thing, but recovering is another, and Wright sounded cautiously optimistic after making his first start in three weeks following a stint on the disabled list with a sore shoulder.

“Obviously I can’t go too crazy, I still had my first game in three weeks, I don’t want to go too crazy thinking I’m out of the woods just yet, but with inflammation, it can come and go,” Wright said. “But today, normal soreness, a little bit more than I’ve had, but I hadn’t thrown in three weeks, so it was kind of expected.”

Wright’s outing didn’t go as planned. He allowed five runs in the first inning before finding his groove and shutting out the Royals on three hits over his final five innings. At that point, the damage had been done.

“The issue with the first inning was that I felt so good, and it was the first time I had felt good in three weeks, first time I threw with no pain,” Wright said. “Bullpens I threw with pain, but just a matter of trying to get through it. So the first time throwing with no pain, plus first time facing live hitters in three weeks — first a lot of things in three weeks — I just got a little antsy, little too much adrenaline, overthrowing a little bit.

“The thing that hurt me were the walks. The home run that [Eric] Hosmer hit, anywhere else it’s a pop fly out. [Alex] Gordon probably the same thing, but the walks killed me. After that, man, I was able to just concentrate more on pitching, because there’s a part of me that’s like golly, finally feels good to throw with no pain.”

Wright (13-6, 3.18) believes his next start will be Wednesday at home against the Rays.

“We’ll see how tomorrow goes in my bullpen, just try to get ready for Wednesday,” he said. “It’s just normal soreness, just more sore because I didn’t have the reps. I felt pretty good for taking that much time off.”

(Rob Bradford contributed to this report)

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Red Sox lineup: Jackie Bradley Jr. dropped to 9th 08.27.16 at 3:12 pm ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr. isn’t getting the night off, but he is being dropped in the lineup.

The Red Sox center fielder is hitting ninth against Royals’ lefty Danny Duffy Saturday, having been mired in a fairly vicious slump. Bradley Jr. has seen his batting average drop to .269, having hit .167 with a .557 OPS in August.

Of late, Bradley Jr. has gone 3-for-34 in his last nine games with 14 strikeouts.

Here is the Red Sox’ lineup with David Price on the mound for the hosts:

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Sandy Leon C
Chris Young LF
Aaron Hill 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

For a breakdown of the pitching matchup, click here.

Before Clay Buchholz could become an effective reliever, he realized he had this one big thing to learn 08.27.16 at 1:29 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz is ready to transition back to the bullpen. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz is ready to transition back to the bullpen. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Clay Buchholz didn’t believe a situation existed that he hadn’t seen as a starter. Then he moved to the bullpen and realized he was missing a big one — learning how to enter a game with runners on base.

Through conversations with his fellow relievers, Buchholz has grown to appreciate the art of stranding runners who aren’t of his making.

And as he transitions back to the bullpen with the potential of becoming a factor in the eighth inning, Buchholz believes this knowledge will be pivotal.

“You start talking more baseball stuff from the bullpen’s perspective, rather than the starting perspective,” Buchholz said. “It actually allows you to learn a little more about what you’re doing in different situations. With runners on, you come into a game, what you have to do to keep that runner form scoring, and it’s not like going into a clean inning as a starter and setting up hitters for their second, third, and fourth at-bats. You’re going in to get them out at that point in time, and you can use all your stuff to do that. It’s a side of the game that I thought I knew a little bit about, but I never really did, because I was never really in the bullpen.”

As fellow reliever Brad Ziegler noted, entering a game with a runner on first is very different from walking the leadoff hitter.

“I’ve spent my whole career getting double play balls with guys on base,” he said. “That’s a lot easier to do whenever I’ve got into the feel of the inning a little bit. I let the guy on base, but I’ve already thrown four or five pitches at that point. It’s hard to go in and try to get a ground ball on the very first pitch.”
Buchholz has a better feel for this now, and is looking forward to pitching meaningful innings after being buried during his first stint in the pen.

“It’s all role-based in the bullpen,” he said. “I didn’t really have a role down there for an extended period of time. That’s probably harder than pitching in close games. If it’s a blowout game, [Craig] Kimbrel knows he’s probably not going into that game unless he hasn’t pitched in five or six games. But in the situation I was in, I’d probably be pitching in those games. It’s hard to pitch to major league hitters when you’re down a whole lot or up a whole lot, because one, two, three runs doesn’t really mean a whole lot, but you have to treat it as if they do. It’s easy to let down.

“But pitching in situations as far as having a role, you know when you need to be ready, and you can start preparing in the innings leading up to that. It’s fun to pitch when the game’s on the line. Everybody in here is a competitor, and everybody likes going out and having some situations that it’s going to help the team win a game.”

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