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Brock Holt optioned back to Triple-A 04.24.14 at 11:59 pm ET
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After the team’s ugliest loss of the season on Thursday, Red Sox manager John Farrell announced that the team had optioned Brock Holt back to Triple-A Pawtucket in advance of the team activating third basemen Will Middlebrooks on Friday.

Holt went 0-for-3 with a walk and had an error at third during Boston’s 14-5 loss to the Yankees on Thursday. The hitless night was Holt’s first since he was called up on April 18 to replace Ryan Roberts and fill the void left by Middlebrooks’ calf injury. In seven games with the Red Sox, Holt hit .348 with a .429 on-base percentage and brought in four runs.

Before Thursday’s game, Farrell said that Holt gave the team “a jolt in the arm.”

“When he came to us, we hoped he would spark the bottom third of the order,” Farrell said. “He’s done exactly that. He’s been fine defensively at third base, he’s given us quality at-bats — even in situations where he’s made an out, he’s been working the count deep and he’s gotten on base at a high rate.”

Read More: Brock Holt, Will Middlebrooks,
Red Sox notebook: Boston comes closer to more stable lineup as Shane Victorino makes return at 6:36 pm ET
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As the Red Sox head into the rubber match of their series against the Yankees the team will take a step toward solidifying its lineup. In 23 games this season, including Thursday night’s contest, the Red Sox have had 21 different lineups as they dealt with injuries and an ongoing search for a player to take hold of the leadoff spot.

With the team finishing out the series against New York and getting on a plane to Toronto, though, some of its stability is returning.

Shane Victorino will return to the lineup Thursday night, making his regular-season debut after he suffered an injury to his right hamstring toward the end of spring training.

“This is something we’€™ve been waiting for for some time here,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “Shane’€™s return we feel like will help solidify our outfield defense particularly, and, in addition to that, the top of the order for us. It’€™s good to have him back in the lineup, there’€™s no doubt about it.”

Victorino, who will hit second in Thursday’€™s order, went 1-for-11 during a three-game rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket.

The Red Sox have spent the first month of the season without Victorino and the past three weeks without Will Middlebrooks.

“You deal with what you have in the moment and knowing that players are going to come back to you, that’€™s always a positive outlook,” Farrell said. “We don’€™t make excuses because guys have been injured or there’€™s been some performance that’€™s been a little less than. We’€™re setting out to compete and win every single night and sometimes that hasn’€™t always been the case.”

Farrell added that with Victorino back in the lineup, he hopes to keep Dustin Pedroia in the leadoff spot with Victorino hitting second.

“Hopefully with [Pedroia] and [Victorino] at the top of the order the on-base will be there at a higher, and at a more consistent rate,” Farrell said. “I think stability is what this team is in need of right now.”

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

– Middlebrooks has likely finished his own rehab assignment and will probably fly out to Toronto to join the team for its three-game series with the Blue Jays. Middlebrooks, who was placed on the disabled list after suffering a Grade 1 calf strain on April 5, joined Pawtucket on April 21. While the 25-year-old was hitless in 10 at-bats over three games with the PawSox, Farrell said Thursday that Middlebrooks€™ was swinging the bat better in his final appearance.

– Since joining the Red Sox on April 18, Brock Holt has accumulated a .400 average with a .458 on-base percentage while driving in four runs over the course of six games. The team called Holt up to the majors after Ryan Roberts struggled to fill the gap left by Middlebrooks’€™ calf injury.

“When he came to us, we hoped he would spark the bottom third of the order,” Farrell said. “He’€™s done exactly that. He’€™s been fine defensively at third base, he’€™s given us quality at-bats — even in situations where he’€™s made an out, he’€™s been working the count deep and he’€™s gotten on base at a high rate.

“He’€™s given us a jolt in the arm, and we’€™ll see where things go from there.”

Farrell added that the team is having an on-going discussion of what to do with Holt, who went 1-for-2 with two walks and an RBI during Wednesday’s 5-1 win over the Yankees, once Middlebrooks returns. The team will only need one utility player, and so either Holt or Jonathan Herrera would appear to be the odd-man out. Both have options remaining, though Herrera is considered the superior defensive shortstop, and Farrell said that his preference to get the most capable glove at that position remains unchanged.

– Farrell said on Thursday that Jonny Gomes and Grady Sizemore could potentially platoon in left field. Farrell added that Sizemore may also get playing time in center, so his playing time won’t necessarily be restricted to days in which right-handed pitchers are on the mound.

“With [Victorino's] return there’s still going to be some managing of that playing time there,” Farrell said. “I can’t say he’s solely going to be in left field, particularly in Fenway where we might see Grady in center and Jackie [Bradley Jr.] in right on any given day. We’ve got to remain open to not only who’s available to us, but where we’re playing — home or on the road.”

Read More: Brock Holt, Shane Victorino, Will Middlebrooks,
Red Sox Marathon Monday notes: Mike Napoli, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey have a sleepover, Napoli ‘a little sore’ but ready to go 04.21.14 at 10:25 am ET
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Whenever you can hear an injury from the dugout, you immediately fear the worst.

But John Farrell can breathe a little bit easier after Mike Napoli came downstairs from spending the night in the Red Sox clubhouse and reported he was good to go and bat cleanup for the Red Sox after taking a Darren O’Day pitch to the outside of his left kneecap Sunday night.

“A little sore but ready to go,” Farrell reported Monday morning. “He and a couple other guys spent the night here with the quick turnaround but we’re at full strength, ready to go today. That’s why it’s there. They’re taking advantage of it.

“The way he went down, it didn’t look promising. You could hear it from the dugout. It was clearly on the bone. But once he got some feeling back, while the soreness was there, he was good to continue. We were somewhat anxious to see how he was going to respond this morning. But walking around after the game last night, he was mobile. It remained loose so while there’s some soreness, he’s still ready to go.”

Joining Napoli in sleeping over at Fenway were Monday’s starting pitcher Clay Buchholz and fellow starter John Lackey. Did Farrell need to spend the night at Fenway, too?

“No, I didn’t. I have my own sleeping room,” Farrell quipped.

Farrell acknowledged Monday morning that the schedule “is what it is” and even showed some humor when one reporter asked if he could judge the mood of the clubhouse after such a short night.

“How do you feel this morning?” Farrell replied. “We’re on short rest but the game goes on and we’ll be there, I can’t say with bells on, but we’ll be raring to go.”

Brock Holt was penciled into the starting lineup as the leadoff hitter Monday, marking the fifth leadoff hitter the Red Sox have used this season.

“He’s had very good at-bats, both [against] lefties and righties,” Farrell said. “We’ve had a number of different guys in that leadoff spot. I recognize that. I think the priority becomes keeping some continuity, 2 through 6, which we’ve been able to do with this alignment. That’s where we are today.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Marathon, Boston Red Sox, Brock Holt
Closing Time: Brock Holt, Felix Doubront lead the way in Red Sox win over Orioles 04.19.14 at 4:24 pm ET
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Brock Holt turned in quite a game Saturday afternoon. (AP)

Brock Holt turned in quite a game Saturday afternoon. (AP)

It’s just been two games, but Brock Holt is certainly making his presence felt.

The newly-promoted third baseman followed up an impressive Friday night with the biggest hit of Saturday’s tilt between the Red Sox and Orioles at Fenway Park. Holt rifled a one-out triple into the right-center field gap in the seventh inning, scoring Mike Carp with the go-ahead run from second.

Holt proceeded to race in for the Red Sox’ fourth run on a perfectly executed bunt single down the first base line, getting in under the tag of Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters.

The end result was a 4-2 win for the Red Sox.

Earlier in the seventh, there was some spice added to the day when the benches cleared after David Ross took exception with Orioles pitcher Bud Norris coming close to his head on three bunt attempts. Neither collection of players got near each other, with Ross ultimately striking out two pitches later. The next batter up, Holt, however, offered the ultimate payback for the Red Sox.

Felix Doubront bounced back and gave the Red Sox a solid start, allowing two runs on five hits over 6 2/3 innings. Doubront threw 106 pitches after tossing 33 in the first inning in the seven-strikeout, two-walk outing.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ eighth win of the season:

WHAT WENT RIGHT

- The Red Sox knotted the game at 1-1 thanks in part to the Jonathan Schoop mishandling a grounder off the bat of Mike Napoli. If fielded cleanly, the Orioles might have been able to execute a 5-4-3, inning-ending double play. Instead, Dustin Pedroia — who drew his fourth walk in the last four games — came across to score.

-Holt continued to play stellar defense, this time charging and short-hopping a slow roller off the bat of Steve Lombardozzi to end the second inning.

- David Ortiz launched his third home run of the season in the fourth inning, giving the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. The blast curled around the right field foul pole and marked the designated hitter’s second hit of the day, having singled off the left field wall in the first.

- Pedroia reached base three times via a single, double and walk. It marked the third time this season the second baseman has reached that many occasions.

- The bullpen came through again for the Red Sox, with Junichi Tazawa holding the Orioles hitless through 1 1/3 innings and Koji Uehara picking up the save, striking out the side.

WHAT WENT WRONG

- Doubront allowed his first first-inning run of the season, giving up a two-out RBI single to Nelson Cruz, scoring Nick Markakis. After reaching via a leadoff singled, Doubront has allowed the leadoff hitter to face seven of 10 times.

- Doubront was cruising after the first until the sixth inning when the Orioles knotted the game at 2-2. Initially it appeared as though the lefty might escape his bases-loaded, two-out jam. But Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter was successful in his first challenge of the season, disputing Nelson Cruz initially being called out on a close play at first after his grounder down the third base line. It was the second RBI of the day for Cruz.

Read More: Brock Holt, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, felix doubront
Red Sox minor league roundup: Brandon Workman builds back; Drake Britton dominates; Kevin Heller going Howdy Groskloss on the Carolina League 04.17.14 at 11:51 am ET
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Drake Britton recorded a save for Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday. (AP)

Drake Britton recorded a save for Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday. (AP)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 7-6 WIN AT ROCHESTER (TWINS)

(BOX)

– In his first start in Triple-A after being optioned to Pawtucket last week, right-hander Brandon Workman dominated early (three shutout innings in which he allowed a single, walked no one and punched out two) before hitting a bit of a wall in his fourth inning of work, in which he permitted a groundball single, a double and a walk before being lifted after 3 1/3 innings. All three of the runners whom he put on base scored, resulting in a line of three runs allowed in 3 1/3 innings. Still, overall, the outing represented an exercise in building arm strength with the late struggles not unexpected given that it had been more than three weeks since Workman had pitched into a fourth frame.

– Given that the Sox want to avoid shuttling Workman back and forth between the rotation and bullpen, the early-season dominance of left-hander Drake Britton is noteworthy, as the 24-year-old could emerge as the first line of bullpen depth from Triple-A. Britton recorded a two-inning save on Wedneday, allowing one hit and punching out four. He worked around a pair of ninth-inning walks by recording all three outs by strikeout in a one-run win. It was Britton’s second save of the year. While his control (five walks in 8 1/3 innings) has been spotty, he has a 1.08 ERA, with opponents hitting .226 against him so far.

– Outfielder Alex Hassan went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles. Since going 0-for-7 in the first two games of the season, the 26-year-old is hitting at a .351 clip (13-for-37) with a .442 OBP and six doubles in his last nine games.

– In a striking reversal from a year ago, Brock Holt remains among the hottest hitters in the International League. He went 3-for-5 with a double to improve his line (in 10 games) to .415/.489/.610 with five doubles and a homer among his 17 hits. Last April, in twice the number of games, he hit .149/.234/.149 with no extra-base hits among his 10 knocks. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brandon Workman, Brock Holt, drake britton, howdy groskloss
Red Sox minor league roundup: Would Mookie Betts be a consideration for an injured Dustin Pedroia?; the riddle of Allen Webster; Wendell Rijo shows some pop 04.14.14 at 12:22 pm ET
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Right-hander Allen Webster got tons of groundballs but continues to struggle to throw strikes. (AP)

Right-hander Allen Webster got tons of groundballs but continues to struggle to throw strikes. (AP)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 7-5 WIN (12 INNINGS) AT BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)

(BOX)

– If Dustin Pedroia lands on the disabled list, Brock Holt would be in line for a call-up, with the possibility that the Sox could entrust everyday second base duties to him while keeping Jonathan Herrera in his current third base platoon/utility role. After all, Holt is off to a scorching start for Pawtucket — though 1-for-6 (with a double and walk) on Sunday, he’s now hitting .389/.476/.583 with five extra-base hits, four steals (in four attempts), five walks and two strikeouts in nine games. While Holt made little impact in the big leagues last year, hitting .203/.275/.237 in 59 plate appearances, he performed well in his only everyday opportunity in the big leagues, hitting .292/.329/.354 in 24 games with the Pirates at the end of 2012.

If Pedroia doesn’t end up on the DL and the Sox decide they need to make their bench deeper for the White Sox series with both Ryan Roberts and Herrera pressed into everyday duty, then utility man Mike McCoy — who can play virtually anywhere on the field — would become a consideration, as Holt cannot be called up until at least Thursday given that he was called up on April 7; barring a position player landing on the D.L., he needs to spend at least 10 days in the minors before he can return to the big leagues.

– Right-hander Allen Webster is at an interesting career stage, seemingly in a cocoon from which it is unclear if he will emerge as a butterfly or a moth. The 24-year-old had an outing that showed both his considerable potential and underscored the questions of whether he will be able to reach his ceiling, logging five innings in which he allowed four runs (three earned) on just three hits (one of which was a homer). He recorded a whopping 12 groundball outs, underscoring the degree to which his two-seam fastball can be a devastating offering, but he also had just one strikeout and walked four, while throwing a modest 58 of 96 pitches (60.4 percent) for strikes. He threw first-pitch strikes to just half of the 24 batters he faced.

In three starts this year, the 24-year-old has seen last year’s strikeout rate of 9.9 per nine innings cut roughly in half to 4.9 per nine innings, and he’s also walked an identical 4.9 per nine innings. But he’s once again getting groundballs at a tremendous rate that had characterized much of his career prior to 2013.

If Webster can execute his two-seamer consistently in the strike zone, then it’s such a powerful weapon that it permits the possibility of opening up the rest of his arsenal and permitting him to have a starter’s pitch efficiency. But if he struggles to throw the pitch for strikes, then the possibility exists that concerns about his inability to give reliable innings will result in a move to the bullpen. Thus far in 2014, there are few indications of which outcome is more likely. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: allen webster, Brock Holt, Dustin Pedroia, mookie betts
Red Sox sign versatile Ryan Roberts to help fill Will Middlebrooks void 04.07.14 at 10:57 am ET
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The Red Sox have reached an agreement with Ryan Roberts, his agency announced. (AP)

The Red Sox have reached an agreement with Ryan Roberts, his agency announced. (AP)

With Will Middlebrooks on the disabled list, the Red Sox sought to make their roster deeper and more balanced by agreeing to a deal with utility man Ryan Roberts. News of the agreement was announced on twitter by Roberts’ agency, the Beverly Hills Sports Council, which announced that Roberts was added on a major league deal. (UPDATE: BHSC deleted the tweet. Nonetheless, an industry source confirms that there is an agreement between Roberts and the Red Sox does appear to be close, pending a physical for the 33-year-old.)

UPDATE 2: Per an industry source, Roberts will receive a $1 million base salary in the big leagues. He has no minor league options remaining.

The Red Sox initially called up Brock Holt with Middlebrooks landing on the disabled list on Sunday. However, Holt represented something of a roster redundancy with Jonathan Herrera. Both are utility infielders who can play short, second and third, though Holt’s best positions are short and second; he was introduced to third base by the Sox last spring. While Holt is left-handed and Herrera is a switch-hitter, both have significantly better splits against right-handed pitchers while struggling against lefties, something that led Sox manager John Farrell to acknowledge that the team might pursue more complementary options at third base.

“Right now, Brock is the one on the roster to get someone here currently to fill that spot and in response to need to put Will on the DL. Whether we look to find a better fit, that’€™s something we’€™re always looking for, not just in this case but every other case,” Farrell said on Sunday. “We’€™ll see what transpires over the two week period Will’€™s going to miss.”

Roberts, who has played third, second, left, right, first and short in his career — with the majority of his big league time coming at third base — is a career .245/.321/.392 hitter in 510 games spanning parts of eight seasons with the Blue Jays, Rangers, Diamondbacks and Rays, with a .266/.341/.444 line against left-handed pitchers, including a .305/.345/.500 line in 87 plate appearances against southpaws in 2013 for the Rays (when he hit .247/.295/.377 overall). He hit .237/.310/.342 in spring training with the Cubs, and opted out of his minor league deal at the end of camp. Throughout his career, his defense has graded as mostly average at second, third and first.

Roberts has gained a measure of fame for the saturation of his skin with ink. Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times offered an excellent profile of “Tatman” — and how his tattoos support noble causes — in this article.

While the Red Sox’ 40-man roster is currently full, the team does have the ability to place knuckleballer Steven Wright — currently working his way back from sports hernia surgery in extended spring training — on the 60-day disabled list to open up a spot.

Read More: Brock Holt, Ryan Roberts, Will Middlebrooks,
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