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Red Sox notes: Red Sox call up Brock Holt, designate Ryan Roberts for assignment as Will Middlebrooks gets closer 04.18.14 at 5:38 pm ET
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The Red Sox designated Ryan Roberts for assignment on Friday. (AP)

The Red Sox designated Ryan Roberts for assignment on Friday. (AP)

When the Red Sox signed Ryan Roberts to help man third base in the absence of Will Middlebrooks, they sat on the cusp of a stretch where they’d face five left-handed starters in a 10-day span. Though the Sox went 4-1 in those contests, that was hardly a reflection of Roberts’ performance. The 33-year-old was just 2-for-19 with two singles and three walks, good for a .105/.227/.105 line, and with the Sox now arriving at a stage where they’ll face primarily right-handed starters, and with Middlebrooks moving closer to a return from the DL, the team elected to designate Roberts for assignment.

In his place, the team called up Brock Holt from Triple-A Pawtucket. Holt, who spent one day on the big league roster when Middlebrooks first landed on the DL, has been on a tear for the PawSox, hitting .380/.446/.600 with eight extra-base hits, five walks and three strikeouts in 56 plate appearances. The Sox immediately put Holt in Friday’s lineup.

“We felt like we needed to try to create a little bit of a jump-start to the offense. With the designation of Ryan, we got another lefthanded hitter here in Brock Holt,” said Sox manager John Farrell. “We’ve come through a stretch with seven lefthanded starters against us out of the past 10, and we’re kind of reversing that right now, going against primarily righthanders. We felt like we needed to try a different combination to attempt to spark that bottom third of the order.

“[Holt has] clearly earned the promotion here,” added Farrell. “When he was sent out, even after just one day of being here with the big-league club, he was initially disappointed, but he’s channeled that the right way and gone down and played very well on the left side of the infield.”

As for Roberts, Farrell suggested that he didn’t appear to be in sync after spending about 10 days at home following his release from the Cubs at the end of spring training. The Sox hope that the versatile Roberts will clear waivers and accept an assignment to Triple-A Pawtucket.

“We certainly want him to remain in the organization,” said Farrell. “We feel like he needs at-bats to get things going a little bit.”

As for Middlebrooks, he rejoined the Red Sox (he’d been sent home early from Chicago while struggling with the flu) and resumed baseball activities, including batting practice. Given the relatively limited time of his absence with the flu, the Sox are hopeful that Middlebrooks — who is eligible to come off the D.L. on Monday, but won’t be ready to do so at that point — will be ready to start a minor league rehab assignment in relatively short order.

“I don’t think [the flu] is going to delay Will in his eventual rehab assignment, which we’re still hopefully targeting sometime the middle of next week,” said Farrell.

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

Shane Victorino remains on track to start his rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday, followed by games on Monday and Tuesday, at which point he’ll be re-evaluated for potential activation from the disabled list.

Koji Uehara came through his return to the mound on Thursday (a scoreless ninth for the save against the White Sox), and Farrell said he’ll be available again on Friday.

– Farrell said that the fact that David Ross has caught all but one of Jon Lester‘s starts was a mere coincidence, a reflection of the fact that the Sox have faced left-handed starters on the day when Lester takes the hill. In the three games when Ross and Lester have been paired, the first was a day game after a night game against the Brewers, the second featured left-hander CC Sabathia on the mound for the Yankees and the third had Chris Sale on the mound for the White Sox.

“I wouldn’t look too deep into Lester and Ross hooking up all the time. It’s just been lefthanded starters the last two, three times out that they have connected,” said Farrell. “Going forward, we’ll look at the best matchup for who’s behind the plate.”

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Closing Time: Jon Lester’s excellence doesn’t go to waste thanks to Red Sox’ 9th-inning rally 04.17.14 at 11:04 pm ET
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The Red Sox once again didn’t come away with a bunch of hits Thursday night, but David Ross made sure the one he claimed counted.

With one out in the ninth, Ross ripped a double to right field, scoring Mike Napoli and paving the way for a 3-1 win over the White Sox.

The Red Sox had entered the ninth with just one hit before Napoli delivered an infield single against Ronald Belisario. Mike Carp followed with a pinch-hit single, with the Red Sox catcher then coming through with the go-ahead RBI.

After an intentional walk to Daniel Nava, Jonathan Herrera greeted Scott Downs with a perfectly executed bunt single, handing the visitors an insurance run.

Both Red Sox starter Jon Lester and his White Sox counterpart, Chris Sale, saw no-hitters broken up with one out in their respective half of the sixth inning. For Lester, the Tyler Flowers single — just out of the reach of shortstop Xander Bogaerts — ended a perfect game.

In the visitors half of the sixth, Bogaerts broke up Sale’s no-hit bid, rocketing a solo home run over the left-field wall. The homer was the first surrendered by the lefty this season, and the rookie’s first of his 2014 campaign. Prior to giving up the long ball on his 95th pitch, Sale had struck out nine batters through 5 1/3 innings.

The Red Sox’ lead was short-lived, however. Leury Garcia followed Flowers with a ground-rule double over the head of Nava. Adam Eaton proceeded to knot things up with an infield hit, beating Lester to the bag on a grounder to Napoli.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox’ win.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

– The Red Sox cut down the potential go-ahead run in the seventh inning thanks to a stellar relay from Nava to second baseman Dustin Pedroia to Ross. The play came as a result of an Alejandro De Aza liner into the right field corner, with Adam Dunn coming all the way around from first base. Dunn would be tagged out by Ross on a close play at the plate, ending the seventh.

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David Ross on Brian McCann: ‘I knew he wanted to come (to Boston), a lot’ 04.11.14 at 8:47 pm ET
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NEW YORK — David Ross had hope.

For a portion of the offseason, the Red Sox catcher believed his longtime friend and teammate, Brian McCann, might actually end up in Boston.

But then, on a November get-away weekend with McCann and former Braves pitcher Eric O’€™Flaherty (whom the Red Sox also had interest in), the free agent catcher broke the news to his buddy.

“We went on a guys’€™ trip and he had told me the Yankees had made a pretty good offer early on and he was probably going to be a Yankee,” Ross said. “I didn’€™t say anything because that’€™s a lot of money and I don’€™t want to be messing up anybody’€™s thing.

“Early on I did (think McCann would come to Boston). I knew he wanted to come here, a lot. I had just told him what it was like here and that interested him. But when it comes to that much money they were talking about, I kind of stayed out of it because he’€™s got to make the best decision for him and his family. But I definitely was telling him about everything I liked about being here, and how well he would fit in here. But the Red Sox weren’€™t even close to what he got, so it really was a no-brainer.”

The left-handed hitting McCann ‘€“ who signed a five-year, $85 million deal (with a $15 team option) ‘€“ is batting just .167 with a .356 OPS in his first nine games with the Yankees.

Still, the expectation is that acquring the 10-year veteran (he of the .819 career OPS) will ultimately be a big win for the Yankees.

“It’€™s weird competing against him. It’€™s really weird,” Ross said. “It’€™s funny to me. There was a foul ball over near our dugout about 20 rows deep and he ran over and I was yelling, ‘€˜You’€™ve got room!’€™ He just started laughing. You turn yourself into competitors. I want to now kick his tail every time I play him.

“I think they knew how close we were. I know there was some dialogue and they were interested in him. There were other players they called me about, including some catchers. They knew he would fit in well here. But they were in a tough position here where they had some really good catchers coming. I don’€™t know if the Yankees felt the same way about their farm system.”

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Despite no-decision, Peavy’s strong outing propels Sox to series victory 04.09.14 at 9:40 pm ET
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David Ortiz‘€™s clutch home run in the bottom of the eighth obviously was the turning point in Wednesday’€™s series finale vs. the Rangers, but Jake Peavy‘€™s dominant start set the stage for Ortiz’€™s heroics.

Jake Peavy fanned eight on Wednesday, tied for his most strikeouts for the Red Sox. (AP)

Jake Peavy fanned eight on Wednesday, tied for his most strikeouts for the Red Sox. (AP)

The righty went 6 2/3 strong innings, with a home run to Mitch Moreland in the top of the seventh inning standing as the only blemish on Peavy’€™s impressive outing. He fanned eight batters, which ties for his most K’€™s in a Red Sox uniform, a feat he also accomplished last Sept. 18 against the Orioles. Though he did issue four walks, Peavy held a powerful Texas offense to just three hits and a run.

“€œI thought he did a phenomenal job,” catcher David Ross said. “We needed an outing like that. When you’€™re trying to get away and salvage the series and you’ve got a guy like Jake Peavy taking the mound and doing that for us, it’€™s big. He kept us in the ball game and in the lead there for a while, so kudos to him.”

Peavy’€™s outing didn’t start off on the most promising of notes, with Shin-Soo Choo bashing the first offering to center field for a double. Peavy worked around the leadoff hit and stranded Choo on third. He then cruised until the seventh, racking up eight swings and misses (including five on the curveball) and fanning eight. He was able to stifle some of the Rangers’ big bats, including Prince Fielder (0-for-3 against Peavy, 0-for-4 on the evening) and Alex Rios (0-for-2 with a walk). Read the rest of this entry »

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Why David Ross and tired Red Sox are glad first week is over 04.06.14 at 6:56 pm ET
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David Ross and the Red Sox are still reaching and searching for first home win. (AP)

David Ross and the Red Sox are still reaching and searching for first home win. (AP)

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.”

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Versatile David Ross stars in ‘Major League’ 25th anniversary tribute 04.03.14 at 1:16 pm ET
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Red Sox catcher David Ross is a man of many skills. In addition to being a reliable backstops, Ross can do impersonations and act, as he shows in this one-man tribute to the iconic movie “Major League,” which hit theaters 25 years ago.

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David Ross on D&C: ‘Really impressed’ with Red Sox pitching prospect Henry Owens 02.20.14 at 9:37 am ET
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Red Sox catcher David Ross joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to talk about pitching prospect Henry Owens and playing for the Red Sox next season. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Owens, the team’s first-round pick of the 2011 draft, was the first pitcher Ross caught during spring training.

“I was really impressed — sneaky fastball, real easy delivery,” Ross said. “For me, he’€™s already trying to do some things that are more of a veteran pitcher. I talked to him a little bit, like, ‘€˜Let’€™s lock in the fastball command first before we start backdoor breaking balls and changeups.’€™

“But his changeup is plus-plus. That thing’€™s really good. His breaking ball — he can flip it — it’€™s big — he can flip it in pretty much any time.”

Owens went 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA in just six games last season for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs. The 21-year-old right-hander is considered to have a chance of joining the Red Sox later in the season, but he will start the year in the minors.

“For me, baseball’€™s all about confidence,” Ross said of not bringing Owens up early in the season. “If you have a guy with confidence and you dent that confidence, it’€™s hard to come back from that. Or you would hate for him to come in and struggle a little bit and think he can’€™t pitch at that level.

“That kid’s going to pitch at the major league level if he’€™s healthy. It’€™s just going to take some time. He needs to refine some things because you want him to come up and have success.

“Some organizations are able to bring up younger guys and let them take their bumps. You’€™re coming off a World Series championship — you have a little bit less of a — or I would say you have some veteran guys that you feel more confident in.”

Ross, who hit .216 last season, has one year left on his contract with the Red Sox.

“I’€™m just going to be happy with the contract I got this year and hopefully go out and try to win another championship and then I’€™ll start doing my campaign,” Ross said of staying with the team beyond the 2014 season.

“Let’€™s get another championship under our belt, and then, hey, we’ve been rolling pretty good since ol’ No. 3 got here. Maybe I’€™ll start that campaign.”

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