|Red Sox to call up right-hander Alex Wilson, option Daniel Nava||04.23.14 at 12:48 pm ET|
An industry source confirmed a report by WEEI’s Lou Merloni that, with the Red Sox pitching staff taxed by a combined 11 innings of work on Monday and Tuesday, the team will call up right-hander Alex Wilson from Triple-A Pawtucket for Wednesday night’s game. In order to make room on the roster for Wilson, Daniel Nava will be optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Shane Victorino will thus wait until at least Thursday for his activation from the disabled list.
Nava, a key contributor to the Red Sox‘ title run in 2013 when he hit .303 with a .385 OBP and .445 slugging mark while playing four positions, never enjoyed consistent production in the season’s first three-plus weeks this year. He hit .149 with a .240 OBP and .269 slugging mark.
‘We’re trying to get him going offensively,’ Sox manager John Farrell said on Tuesday. ‘He’s probably swung the bat a little bit more earlier in counts than we’ve seen in the past and that might be maybe some reflection of the current level of confidence. When he’s squared up some balls, he hasn’t seen the fruits of that too much. Like all players, they go through a little bit of a peak and valley and we’re trying to get him out of that right now. Fundamentally I can’t say it’s any one thing that he’s breaking down from a swing mechanic standpoint.’
Wilson, who made his big league debut last year, has made eight scoreless appearances in Pawtucket this year, most recently when he recorded a season-high four outs on Monday. He’s struck out nine and walked five while showing an ability to get a considerable number of outs on the ground, effectively employing the two-seamer he developed last year while favoring his injured thumb that denied him his typical power on his four-seam fastball.
Victorino completed his third rehab game on Tuesday in Triple-A Pawtucket, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He has gone 1-for-11 with an infield single during his rehab assignment.
The Red Sox thought that they might activate Shane Victorino from the disabled list as soon as Wednesday, following the third game of his rehab assignment in Triple-A Pawtucket (in which the outfielder went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts). But with the Sox having gotten just 2 1/3 innings from Clay Buchholz on Monday and 4 2/3 frames from Jon Lester on Tuesday, the team felt that a taxed bullpen that had worked a combined 11 innings over those two games might require reinforcements. As such, manager John Farrell said that the team might consider a pitcher instead of activating Victorino on Wednesday.
“We’ve got to take a look,” said Farrell. “We may have a pitching move because of how deep we’ve had to go in the bullpen the last couple of days, so Shane is not a given for [Wednesday].”
If the Sox make a move for a pitcher, an obvious choice would right-hander Allen Webster, who is the scheduled starter for Pawtucket on Wednesday. Webster is on the 40-man roster, and he has some experience in the big leagues as a reliever at the end of last year. He could provide the Sox with length if they endure another game that requires the services of the ‘pen. The other option would likely be Alex Wilson, who pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings on Monday to give him eight scoreless appearances (spanning eight frames) this year in Pawtucket. Wilson would be able to give more than three outs, though he’s unlikely stretched out to the point of being able to provide long relief if needed, at a time when both Chris Capuano and Burke Badenhop likely will be unavailable.
None of the other options on the 40-man roster seem to fit for a one-day callup. Drake Britton pitched on Tuesday, making him a less-than-ideal callup. Brandon Workman started on Monday, so would not be a consideration. Anthony Ranaudo has never pitched in relief, and he’d be pitching on three days’ rest. Rubby De La Rosa — the best pitcher in Pawtucket to date — started on Tuesday night.
As for a move to open a roster spot for a pitcher and then Victorino, the Sox haven’t announced any decisions, but outfielder Daniel Nava met with Farrell behind closed doors following Tuesday’s game. Nava’s endured a season-long struggle, hitting .149/.240/.269, and he’s been out of the starting lineup in two of the last four games, including Tuesday night against right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.
“We’re trying to get him going offensively and [Jonny Gomes] gives us a little bit more of that right now,” Farrell explained before the game of the decision to start Gomes over Nava. “He’s probably swung the bat a little bit more earlier in counts than we’ve seen in the past and that might be maybe some reflection of the current level of confidence. When he’s squared up some balls, he hasn’t seen the fruits of that too much. Like all players, they go through a little bit of a peak and valley and we’re trying to get him out of that right now. Fundamentally I can’t say it’s any one thing that he’s breaking down from a swing mechanic standpoint.”
Nava has two options remaining, and so he can be sent down without exposing him to waivers.
|Red Sox notes: John Farrell explains switch for Grady Sizemore||04.10.14 at 7:37 pm ET|
NEW YORK — Prior to his team’s series-opening game against the Yankees Thursday night, John Farrell explained why Grady Sizemore had been pushed over to left field, with Jackie Bradley Jr. manning center.
Farrell said the move had more to do with the venue then anything else.
“With the ground that’s going to be covered here in Yankee Stadium is almost the reverse of what we deal with at Fenway,” he said. “To keep Jackie in center field and Grady over in left is for that particular reason — to cover the vast space that’s on the left side of the field.”
The manager then added, “As we sat down and talked with Grady about this, well aware that he has defensively only played center field at the big-league level, he’s played a number of games at the minor league level in left field. The alignment being here at Yankee Stadium, that’s what we’re looking to cover.
“It’s an alignment we’ve talked about internally. It’s best fitting here with the ground to cover. Whether or not this is something we do, I’m not going to say on a permanent basis because we’ve shown we’re going to rotate Jonny Gomes through there and he’s going to get ample time in left field as well. This is the way we’re going at it tonight. This isn’t something that we’re looking to pencil in every day going forward.”
Then there was the matter of where Sizemore was hitting in the lineup.
For just the second time this season, the outfielder found himself at the top of the batting order, with Farrell moving Daniel Nava — who had gotten the majority of time at the top of the order against right-handed starters — down to fifth.
“It’s as much trying to get Daniel going,” Farrell said. “We still value the on-base, which Daniel has a strong track record of that, and yet right now we feel like we’ve got to give him an opportunity to get his feet on the ground offensively. Once he does, we feel like he’ll be in that spot. Just trying to make the most of the current streaks or the way guys are swinging the bat right now.”
The Red Sox have stated the primary goal for their leadoff men is to get on base. Plain and simple. The thinking is that you have to get on base in order score runs.
Well, thus far this season, the Red Sox‘ replacements for Ellsbury at the top of the order haven’t gotten on base a whole bunch, have scored just four runs, and haven’t even attempted a stolen base.
Daniel Nava has hit in the top spot a team-high five times, going 3-for-20 with a walk and two runs.
Jonny Gomes has hit in the leadoff spot in three games, managing two hits in nine at-bats with three walks and one run scored.
Grady Sizemore has gotten the chance to lead off once, going 0-for-4 with a walk while scoring a run.
Red Sox leadoff hitters carry the third-worst OPS (.539) in the majors, hitting a combined .176. On the bright side, they are seeing the third-most pitches per plate appearance of any group of leadoff men in the game (4.38).
So, what has Ellsbury meant to his new team? The center fielder has been moved to the third spot in the batting order, with Brett Gardner sliding up. But in his four games leading off, Ellsbury went 6-for-16 (.375) with three walks, three runs and three steals.
Gardner has been almost as good in his five games leading off, hitting .300 (6-for-20) with three walks and two runs while seeing 4.39 pitches per plate appearance.
What to do? Your thoughts …
|Why David Ross and tired Red Sox are glad first week is over||04.06.14 at 6:56 pm ET|
The mere thought might provoke snide laughter among skeptics.
One week into the season and the Red Sox are a tired group. How else to explain sloppy play and mental lapses on Friday, Saturday and Sunday? The Red Sox not only lost their home opener, spoiling the ring ceremony glow a bit, they were swept at Fenway by a Milwaukee team that is coming off a 74-win season and was picked for next-to-last in the National League Central by many experts.
But upon further review, you can see why. The Red Sox played a night game Thursday, traveled back early Friday morning and then got up early to get to Fenway and prepare for their ring ceremony before a 2:05 p.m. game Friday. They were allowed to sleep in Saturday, only to play a tedious 11-inning contest Saturday night that took four hours, 23 minutes to complete. They then got up early Sunday morning to make their way to Fenway and try to salvage a game from the Brewers.
Yovani Gallardo made sure to make life miserable by keeping the ball down all day as Milwaukee stifled the Sox, 4-0, to complete the three-game sweep of the fatigued champs.
“That was a lot going on,” catcher David Ross said. “No excuses and I’m not making excuses but getting in late, the ring ceremony, turn around night game, extra innings, day game. They took it to us. You have to give credit to that team. We’ll regroup, have a night game [Monday], get some rest. It’s a long season, have a lot of games left and we have guys in here that play hard so I’m not worried about that.”
What will turn it around? A little rest and little luck, starting with the Rangers Monday night in Boston.
“I think it’s a little bit of both,” Ross said. “Some of those ground balls that are finding holes are at guys and some of those hard hit balls find the gaps or find the outfield grass. Rest helps, too. Guys get in this first weekend. You have all sorts of stuff going on, getting unpacked and your apartment settled. Figuring out how to get home because I know a couple of guys got lost the other day going home. Just getting readjusted.”
|Red Sox-Brewers series preview||04.04.14 at 11:20 am ET|
The ceremonies are set to begin at 1 p.m. and include a helicopter flyover from the U.S. Coast Guard, a performance by the Dropkick Murphys and Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, and of course, the ring ceremony, as well as a tribute to the fallen firefighters who died in the nine-alarm blaze in the Back Bay on March 26.
“I’m pretty sure it’s going to be emotional,” first baseman Mike Napoli told MLB.com. “Boston knows how to put on a good ceremony. I’ve seen it before. I imagine the atmosphere is going to be amazing and the fans are going to be going nuts. It’s going to be a fun day. I’m looking forward to it.”
First pitch is set for 2:05 p.m., with the Brewers coming to Fenway for the first time since 2011.
The Red Sox opened the season on a positive note, taking the final two games of the series against the Orioles after dropping the opener. The Brewers, on the other hand, dropped two of three to the Braves despite solid performances from their starting pitchers. This is the earliest in the season the Brewers have ever faced an American League opponent in interleague play. The Red Sox have won seven of the nine interleague contests between the two clubs.
Here are the pitching matchups for the first home series of 2014.
Friday: Jake Peavy (0-0, 0.00) vs. Marco Estrada (0-0, 0.00)
Saturday: Clay Buchholz (0-0, 0.00) vs. Wily Peralta (0-0,0.00)
Sunday: Jon Lester (0-1, 2.57) vs. Yovani Gallardo (1-0, 0.00)
WHO’S HOT: RED SOX
– Xander Bogaerts isn’t having much trouble adjusting to his role as the team’s everyday shortstop. The 21-year-old has reached base in eight of his 11 plate appearances, going 5-for-9 with a double and drawing three walks in the opening series. Batting out of the 5-hole in the rubber match with the Orioles on Thursday, Bogaerts went 3-for-4 and scored twice. While he’s batted either fifth or seventh in the lineup so far, he’s making a case for a shot at an audition in the leadoff spot, since there seems to be some uncertainty at the top of the order.
|Breaking down Red Sox’ still-unresolved decision on Jackie Bradley Jr. vs. Grady Sizemore||03.25.14 at 1:06 pm ET|
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Cue Europe and their ridiculous synthesizer. It’s the Final Countdown.
The Red Sox are sorting through the last days of their roster decisions. Most of the determinations are fairly straightforward. But one key alignment, as the Sox anticipate a resolution to all of their roster decisions as soon as Thursday, has yet to be determined.
Tuesday marks the first of three consecutive games in which Grady Sizemore is scheduled to play. It’s the first and only time this spring that the center fielder — attempting to return to the big leagues after a two-season hiatus — will be tested in this capacity. And until the Sox see how he responds to the physical demands of his schedule, it will be impossible for the team to say whether Sizemore or Jackie Bradley Jr. will be the Opening Day center fielder.
“There’s still a lot of internal conversation on who our starting center fielder is going to be,” acknowledged manager John Farrell. “We’re looking at these next three days as a physical test. I can’t say we’re looking at quality of at-bats to on-base in those three games. We’re just, one thing that we can get some feedback on is does he come out of three consecutive games in good shape physically?”
The questions about Sizemore currently appear to revolve solely around his durability and physical health rather than his abilities and in-game performance. In terms of how he’s looked both swinging the bat and defensively, Farrell said that Sizemore has answered those questions “and initially probably exceeded our expectations on the way he was swinging the bat and particularly the timing at the plate. That’s what stood out.
“We came in with kind of an open canvass. And yet we’ve seen very good timing at the plate. We’ve seen a repeatable swing, much like he was pre-injury,” added Farrell. “I don’t think we had any set markers or goals to say that, ‘Hey, if he could do this from an offensive standpoint, he’s exceeded expectations.’ I think he’s going to gain further consistency the more at-bats that he gets.” Read the rest of this entry »
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