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Red Sox pregame notes: Christian Vazquez on track to be ready by Opening Day, Dustin Pedroia update 08.24.15 at 8:12 pm ET
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Christian Vazquez

Christian Vazquez

CHICAGO — The Red Sox have received another piece of good news for 2016: they’re cautiously optimistic catcher Christian Vazquez will be ready for Opening Day.

Sidelined since undergoing Tommy John surgery in April, Vazquez is expected to get some at-bats in Instructional League as he takes the next step in his recovery.

“Obviously he’s a very important piece to the puzzle moving forward,” said interim manager Torey Lovullo. “What we’re really concerned about right now is how he’s progressing. He’s going to take some at-bats in Instructional League, get into a little bit of a throwing program and then have some downtime that’s very typical of an offseason and than be ready for the year next year and that’s what we’re really excited about.”

While it’s possible that Vazquez will play winter ball, Lovullo said the plan would be for him just to hit. His repaired elbow isn’t yet ready to cut loose and throw.

As for the idea of Vazquez being ready for the opener, however, Lovullo embraced it.

“I think he will,” he said. “If there’s one guy we can bet on, it’s Christian. He’s really excited and eager to get things moving.”

In other pregame notes . . .

— Lovullo plans on Pablo Sandoval continuing to hit second behind Mookie Betts, hoping it will get him more fastballs in hitter’s counts. “I don’t really like to move guys around, and he’s getting comfortable there,” Lovullo said.

— Lovullo expects to stay away from closer Junichi Tazawa “for sure” after he threw 30 pitches and took the loss in Kansas City’s four-run ninth on Sunday.

— Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, sidelined since July 23 with a recurrence of a hamstring injury that had already kept him out for three weeks, is ramping up baseball activities, with Sept. 10 a soft target date for his return.

Read More: christian vazquez, Dustin Pedroia,
Red Sox notes: Dustin Pedroia target return date Sept. 10; Team knows Dave Dombrowski is evaluating 08.20.15 at 5:31 pm ET
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Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has had a little bit of a set back when it comes to returning from his hamstring injury that has kept him out of the lineup since July 22.

Pedroia had an MRI Thursday and it said more strengthening is needed and the team is now setting a target return date of Sept. 10. The Red Sox are off on Sept. 10, but will play the Rays in Tampa Sept. 11.

“Imaging is saying he needs to continuing strengthening for another 10 days, which will get him right around the end of the month where he’ll begin some running activity and ramp up for 10-14 days and sometime around Sept. 10 we’re looking for his return,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “Now, inside of that first set of strengthening will also include some hitting, some really light ground balls, nothing too strenuous — all along the lines of continuing to strengthen that area behind the knee and get him ready for some running activity to ramp him up.”

“At least it’€™s healing up good,” Pedroia said. “It’€™s healing good but they would like to do strengthening for another 10 days and let that gap heal up a little bit more and then start my running progression. I feel a lot better than when I played before.”

He added while it’s disappointing to have him miss even more time, there’s no need to rush him back.

“It’s one of those things where we are a little disappointed, but we understand when you have an injured player like that it takes time to recuperate,” Lovullo said. “You can’t force a player to get in there too quickly. We don’t want to put any of our guys in harms way. Here’s one of our best players, one of our leaders who we’ve been missing for awhile, but it’s given some other players a chance to play. We need Dustin. We want Dustin and we know he will be back as soon as possible.”

“That’€™s what my concern was at first, safety of playing,” Pedroia said of possibly re-injuring the ailment. “Now I’€™m in a situation where I’€™m going to wait until it’€™s healed completely and then I can ramp everything up.”

Steven Wright is still on the 7-day concussion disabled list and the team will get more information on his status Friday. There was a chance he could have started Saturday earlier in the week, but Matt Barnes will continue on in the rotation and get the start Saturday.

“He’s going to have an evaluation tomorrow and we’ll be able to find out a little bit more information of where he’s at and start to hopefully move in a direction to get some baseball activity,” Lovullo said of Wright. “We won’t know anything until tomorrow.”

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Read More: Dave Dombrowski, Dustin Pedroia, steven wright, torey lovullo
Dustin Pedroia sad to see Ben Cherington leave Red Sox as Dave Dombrowski comes aboard 08.18.15 at 11:46 pm ET
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Ben Cherington’€™s time with the Red Sox long predates the arrivals of recent championships (2004, 2007 and 2013) and the team’€™s veteran leaders.

His four-year stint as Boston’s general manager will be remembered for the World Series championship he delivered in 2013 and the treacherous teams the Sox fielded in the other three, yet his time with the Sox goes all the way back to 1999.

Dustin Pedroia, the second-longest tenured Red Sox player behind David Ortiz, was a second-round pick of the Sox in 2004, when Cherington was working in player development. With the news that Cherington will step down as Dave Dombrowski takes over as president of baseball operations, current players will experience a Cherington-less Boston organization for the first time.

“I’€™ve known Ben my whole time with the Red Sox,” Pedroia said after Tuesday’€™s game. “He’€™s been a big part of a lot of things in my career. We’€™ve had a lot of memories. Obviously, this is new. We’€™re going to miss him. I’€™m going to miss him. He has a lot of special relationships with guys. It’€™s tough.”

The Red Sox sit in last place in the AL East after finishing last both last season and in 2012, Cherington’€™s first season as GM. Pedroia, who is on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain, said that he as a player feels responsibility for the shakeup that led to Cherington’€™s impending exit.

“It’€™s on us. They don’€™t play,” Pedroia said of executives. “That’€™s frustrating, but we win as a team and we lose as a team. That’€™s the tough part; it doesn’€™t usually go down like that in the end. That’€™s how we all feel. We’€™re out there playing.”

As for Dombrowski, Pedroia, clearly still a bit stunned to lose Cherington, expressed measured enthusiasm for the addition of the former Marlins and Tigers boss. He also noted that Mike Lowell, whom Dombrowski traded for with the Marlins in 1999, has long sung the praises of the 59-year-old.

“I know that wherever he’€™s been, he’€™s won,” Pedroia said of Dombrowski. “Obviously that speaks for itself. I remember Mike Lowell used to talk about him and couldn’€™t say enough great things. Obviously I don’€™t think they would put somebody in that position that they don’€™t believe in. He’€™s pretty special at what he does. He’€™s done a great job for a long time.”

Pedroia, 32, is in the second season of an eight-year, $110 million contract.

Read More: ben cherington, Dave Dombrowski, Dustin Pedroia,
Steven Wright to 7-day concussion DL after taking fly ball to back of neck 08.14.15 at 7:33 pm ET
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Steven Wright

Steven Wright

Sooner or later, the Red Sox will have some luck go their way.

After manager John Farrell announced he has stage one lymphoma, he discussed the day-to-day baseball happenings with the team and revealed starter Steven Wright has been placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list.

Wright was running sprints in Miami Wednesday when a fly ball hit him in the back of the neck. After having some concussion symptoms he was placed on the 7-day DL. The Red Sox are now in need of a starter for Monday.

“I think there’s going to be a point that we come out of this chain of events that are seemingly taken place,” Farrell said. “Unfortunately Steven is going to have to miss the seven days. He’ll go through the MLB protocol, the balancing tests were the ones that were really off, to keep him off starting on Monday.”

The Red Sox don’t have many options for Monday’s starter.

Pawtucket’s rotation is struggling like Boston’s. Converted starter Matt Barnes is scheduled to start Saturday, while Edwin Escobar is slated for Monday, but he only just moved back into the rotation for the PawSox this month, allowing five runs on nine hits in eight innings over his two starts.

The could piece together a bullpen game with Robbie Ross Jr. as the starter, as he saw some action in the Rangers rotation last season.

Hanley Ramirez is still battling a left foot injury, which has him missing his fifth straight game Friday.

“He’s over getting checked by Dr. [Peter] Asnis right now,” Farrell said. “He’s been able to go through some pregame work. It’s not turning the corner yet with the left foot where he fouled the ball off the left foot. The imagining still has been negative and yet the responsiveness to treatment and getting back to full speed is hanging in the balance. He’s over to get rechecked today to see if there’s been any change of plan with that.”

Dustin Pedroia said his hamstring is getting better, but he will know more when he receives a MRI next Friday.

“I’m getting better,” Pedroia said. “I just finished this week strengthening. I have one more week of that phase, and then I have an MRI on Friday. If everything looks good, I’ll start my running progression and then be back out there.”

Read More: Dustin Pedroia, hanley ramirez, steven wright,
Dustin Pedroia on John Farrell: ‘When he starts out by telling us that, your heart just stops’ at 5:23 pm ET
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Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia joined David Ortiz as the players present when John Farrell announced he has stage one lymphoma prior to the game Friday.

He described what it was like when Farrell told the team of what he’s going through.

“It’s obviously, a lot of the guys were shocked, upset,” Farrell said. “I mean, it’s our manager, the leader of our team. We’re family. We’re together so much. When he starts out by telling us that, your heart just stops. Obviously anybody in that room would do anything for John. We know he’s going to get through this, and we’ll all get through it together and do anything we can to help him out.

Farrell has been Pedroia’s manager for the last three years and Pedroia was on the club when Farrell was pitching coach from 2007-10.

“Yeah, the everyday grind of our game, you kind of have tunnel vision when it’s going on,” Pedroia said. “When the most important guy says something like that, it definitely takes away everything you’re thinking about and you focus on just him and getting better. That’€™s the one thing that guys were sitting around, we sat around there right after the meeting, just sitting there. You just care.

“We all care about each other. The voice of your team, the leader of your team says that, it hits you. We’ve got to get him better.”

Bench coach Torey Lovullo will take over as manager the rest of the season and Pedroia has confidence he will carry over Farrell’s leadership qualities.

“We love Torey. Same thing,” he said. “I think our organization does a great job of building, not just a coaching staff or people around us, but a family. Torey’s going to send the same message that John does, and that goes on down the line. It’s a chain of command. It’s one voice. I know wins and losses are not where we want to be, but that’€™s why this organization going forward is going to be back on top. We believe in each other and we send the right message from the top to the bottom.”

Pedroia discussed how Farrell is more than just a manager as he cares about his players off the field as well. He along with the rest of the players believe their manager will be able to fight off the disease.

“We love John,” he said. “We go through a lot together every day. He’s in it with us ‘€” the ups and downs, the everything. He’s a guy that, he just doesn’€™t deal with what’s going on in the field. He cares about your family, he cares about your kids, things going on at home. He’s managing 25 guys’ lives, not just baseball. He’s a pretty important part to each and every one of us’ everything.

“We need him to get better, and he will.”

Read More: Dustin Pedroia, John Farrell,
Dustin Pedroia back on disabled list after hamstring was ‘black and blue’ 07.25.15 at 7:57 pm ET
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Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia landed back on the 15-day disabled list prior to Saturday’s game after reaggravating his right hamstring injury.

Pedroia missed nearly three weeks from the end of June until following the All-Star break before returning last Friday against the Angels. He played in seven games, going 1-for-22, before missing Thursday’€™s game in Houston and Friday’€™s series opener with the Tigers.

“There wasn’€™t one [instance],” Pedroia said of a play to reaggravate the injury to reporters. “I played, we had the rain out. So I played a few games and had the day off, you know I came out after the second Houston game and said, ‘€˜Hey I might need a game off just to get my legs underneath me.’ And the next day I came in and it was black and blue. So the training staff was like, ‘Hey let’€™s go get a follow up, look at it.’ That’€™s what I did this morning. So, that’€™s basically where we’€™re at.”

Pedroia had an MRI Saturday morning and it was then determined another DL stint would be needed. He said he will get a PRP injection on Monday. He, like manager John Farrell, didn’t have a timetable for his return.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I mean, can’t put dates on anything because if you do that, then you get in a situation like we’re in now. If you say, ‘Oh, I’m going to be back first day after the break,’ then you play five games and here we are. Whenever I’m healed, I’m going to come back and play. Sometimes you’ve got to use your brain instead of your heart a little bit, which I’m not used to doing that.”

The second baseman said there’s nothing new from the first time. It is the first time during his entire playing career he has had to deal with a hamstring injury.

“It’€™s kinda the same things as before,” he said. “It takes a long time for these things to heal. I think we’€™re all trying to take the quickest time possible and come back and give us a boost. Tried that, played for a little bit, got black and blue so we did the smart thing and got it looked at and go from there.”

As competitive as Pedroia is, it’s hard for him to have to miss so much time.

“That’€™s why I’€™m upset. I feel a lot better, which is a great sign, so that means it’€™s healing,” he said. “It just needs a little more time.”

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Dustin Pedroia back on 15-day disabled list after reaggravating hamstring at 1:47 pm ET
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Dustin Pedroia is back on the 15-day disabled list.

After missing just over three weeks with a hamstring injury in early July and playing seven games since returning last Friday, the second baseman was placed back on the DL prior to Saturday’s game.

“Yesterday, him being down was because of some soreness,” manager John Farrell said. “He went through a MRI here this morning. While the injury or the strain to the hamstring doesn’t show any enlargement, still he’s aggravated by the symptoms and feel like he needs some shutdown period to get back over it.”

The second baseman went 1-for-22 in those seven games before missing Thursday’s game in Houston and Friday’s series opener with the Tigers. Farrell said it wasn’t a specific play that caused the aggravation.

“The play in-game obviously build back up on him to the point of the aggravation,” he said. “Can’t say there was a singular event that caused what he’s feeling. As he was going at it each and every day, the symptoms continued to persist and after the further imaging and further consultation between the medical staff, it was determined the best course of action was putting him on the DL.”

Pedroia didn’t go on a rehab assignment prior to returning, but Farrell said it likely wouldn’t have made a difference.

“I don’t know that a rehab assignment would have changed the course of anything,” he said. “He was cleared to play. Pedey wanted to get back on the field, as we all know, when he was first available. Pedey was part of process along the way as well, but more than anything it was determined he wasn’t going to risk further injury, not that the injury has intensified, it’s still persisting. He needs some down time.”

There is no timetable for his return. He missed just over three weeks the first time, but Farrell didn’t know if it would be more or less this time.

Saturday’s starter Steven Wright will take Pedroia’s spot on the 25-man roster, as he was never officially added to the roster as he was the 26th player in Monday’s doubleheader. Farrell said the team will likely need to add an infielder in the coming days — presumably Deven Marrero.

“Yes, we will,” Farrell said. “We’re trying to get through a heavily overworked bullpen to get to that point, so we’d like to readjust in the coming days.”

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Dustin Pedroia out of lineup with sore hamstring, David Ortiz scheduled off day 07.24.15 at 4:42 pm ET
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Two of the Red Sox‘ premier players are out of the lineup Friday night against the Tigers — Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz.

Pedroia (hamstring) returned from the disabled list last Friday after the All-Star break and played in six games on the road trip, but Friday will be his second straight game missed. The second baseman has gone 1-for-22 since his return.

Thursday was a scheduled off day, but Friday he felt some soreness in the hamstring.

“€œHe’€™s still feeling a little bit in the hamstring,” manager John Farrell said. “Yesterday was a planned off-day. Coming out of that, he still feels some of the same symptoms, not to the severity obviously that he went on the DL with, but there’€™s still a little bit or soreness in the hamstring and we’€™re being cautious right now.”

For Ortiz, who played in all seven games of the road trip, it’s a scheduled off day. He hit .259 on the trip. The designated hitter is a career .370 hitter against Friday’s Tigers starter Justin Verlander.

“David’€™s a little bit sore, but this is a scheduled off-day as we’€™ve rotated other guys through as well,” Farrell said.

The team flew back from Houston earlier in the day Friday, landing in Boston at 1:30 and getting to Fenway Park around 2:25. It’s a much different feel from the last time they were home. Prior to the All-Star break the team entered the series against the Yankees only five games out in the division.

Now, following dropping nine of their last 10 games, they are a season-high 12 games out in the AL East.

“This has been a frustrating and disappointing road trip that we’€™ve come off of,” Farrell said. “We assembled and reassembled back coming out of the All-Star break in Anaheim optimistic, energized. We ran into a hot team. We didn’€™t make a couple of pitches in some key spots. Opportunities we didn’€™t cash in on.

“Ultimately the record is what it is on this road trip. That’€™s been extremely disappointing. There’€™s frustration. I think if you’€™re looking for tangible signs of how the competitiveness is still there, that was evident last night in that game where we take the lead, we give it back, we come right back and tie it. There’€™s no lack of fight, and yet, the wins have not been there.”

Read More: David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia,
Closing Time: Joe Kelly allows 3 home runs in Red Sox’ 7th straight loss 07.22.15 at 10:57 pm ET
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Joe Kelly allowed three home runs in the Red Sox' loss Wednesday night. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Joe Kelly allowed three home runs in the Red Sox‘ loss Wednesday night. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

It was not the return to the big leagues Joe Kelly or the Red Sox were looking for.

Making his first major league start since June 23, Kelly returned from Pawtucket and allowed three home runs on the way to taking his sixth loss of the season, as the Astros beat the Red Sox 4-2 Wednesday night in Houston. It was the seventh straight loss for the Red Sox, which ties a season-high.

Preston Tucker homered as the second batter of the game against Kelly to put the Red Sox in a quick 1-0 hole. Then in the fourth, Evan Gattis hit a solo homer and Tucker hit his second homer in the fifth, a two-run shot, which gave the Astros a 4-0 lead.

Kelly finished the game going 5 1/3 innings, allowing the four runs on six hits, while walking one and striking out six. His ERA is now 5.74 on the year.

“I thought [Kelly] made some big pitches with his fastball,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “He gets a couple of called strikes looking. I thought he changed eye level with some fastballs. but a couple pitches out over the plate. And in an unforgiving ballpark such as this, it makes you pay for it. but I thought he made some big pitches. He was down in the strike zone more consistently than when he left here. Threw some fastballs in to righties and lefties, which we had hoped to get accomplished. But in the end, we’€™re on the wrong side of it.”

Trailing 4-0 entering the sixth, the Red Sox scored two runs — the first courtesy of an RBI double from Dustin Pedroia and the second on a Xander Bogaerts single. The Sox had a chance for more with runners on second and third with one out, but Hanley Ramirez struck out and Alejandro De Aza flew out to left to end the threat.

The Red Sox also had the first two batters reach in the seventh, but failed to score.

The home run ball hasn’t just been an issue for Kelly. Red Sox pitchers have allowed 13 home runs in the last six games, which accounts for 18 of the 34 runs allowed.

The Red Sox now reside 11 games out of first-place in the American League East, and 11 games under .500.

Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:

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Read More: Dustin Pedroia, Joe Kelly, xander bogaerts,
Red Sox-Astros series preview 07.21.15 at 1:42 pm ET
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Carlos Correa is one of the most exciting rookies in he game. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Carlos Correa is one of the most exciting rookies in he game. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The Red Sox head into the last three games of their seven-game road trip following the All-Star break with nothing but bad feelings and a growing suspicion that October baseball may be pipe dream.

Fresh off a four-game sweep at the hands of the Angels, the Sox are in disarray. For the series, they were outscored 22-4 as Angels starters put up a 0.93 ERA. Meanwhile their own starters could only muster a 7.23 mark. The Red Sox never led in the series and the top two in their batting order, Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia, were utterly silenced, combining to go 0-for-30 in the four games.

The Red Sox now sit at 42-51, which ties them with the Mariners for the worst record in the AL and puts them nine games back of the AL East-leading Yankees. Since their four-game winning streak earlier this month, they have dropped two consecutive series and six of seven games overall.

Designated hitter David Ortiz‘ only explanation for the disappearance of he and his teammates’ bats harkens back to the days off supplied by the All-Star break.

“We’€™ve been having those times where it doesn’€™t matter what you do, it doesn’€™t work out,” Ortiz said after a 3-0 loss Saturday. “We finished the first half good, and hopefully we can blame things to the four days off. We’€™ll see how it goes but hitting is something it’€™s a continuation of what you do the day before, you know what I’€™m saying? That’€™s only way you can stay consistent.”

Consistency has eluded the Red Sox all season long and the road back to .500 won’t get any easier Tuesday when they take on the Astros.

The Astros, who have spent most of the season atop the AL West, have fallen prey of late to the midseason bug, watching the Angels win 15-of-18 to overtake them as they have dropped nine of their last 12 contests en route to a 51-43 record. An ultra young squad full to the brim with potential, the Astros never expected to be in contention this late into the season, yet here they are.

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Read More: Chris Carter, Dallas Keuchel, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia
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