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What did Red Sox do during All-Star break? 07.17.14 at 12:40 am ET
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With Jon Lester and Koji Uehara the lone All-Star representatives in Minnesota for the Red Sox (besides the coaching staff), many members of the team had a chance to relax before the grind of the second half of the season gets underway. Some decided to share their activities on social media.

First baseman Mike Napoli had dinner with some long-time friends in the North End.

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Read More: Clay Buchholz, jackie bradley jr., john lackey, mike napoli
Jackie Bradley Jr. on MFB: Open stance ‘just something I was always accustomed to’ 07.08.14 at 2:27 pm ET
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Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. joined Middays with MFB to talk about his recent string of success both on the field and at the plate. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

After a difficult first few months in the batter’s box, Bradley is hitting .304 with a .360 on-base percentage in his last 14 games. He said the improvements are a result of him opening his stance at the plate.

“For me it’s just comfortable,” Bradley said. “It’s just something I was always accustomed to. That initial switch, I guess, was because I struggled at first. It was more for direction, just get square with the ball, eventually stay on the ball a little longer.

“Besides that, I just wanted to get back to comfort and just doing it the way I knew how to.”

Bradley said at one point in the season he felt lost when it came to his issues at the plate. Since then, things have clearly turned around for him.

“I guess I wasn’t necessarily lost with the whole playing ball, it was more lost as in not getting the results that I wanted to,” he said. “That’s not the results the team wanted me to get, so it was making the adjustment, continuously working at it and basically just grinding through, putting together some quality at-bats and things start to fall.”

Fellow rookie Xander Bogaerts has had his share of difficulties at the plate as well. Bradley said it’s something a player just has to figure out on his own to get his swing back.

“Sometimes you’ve got to just figure it out yourself, not really much talking to do,” he said. “It’s all about finally getting those results and things will straighten themselves out.”

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Jackie Bradley Jr. sparks Red Sox with glove, arm, bat 07.07.14 at 12:43 pm ET
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At the time, it looked like a nice play with little significance to the game.

Caleb Joseph hit a fly ball to center field with one out and Manny Machado on third in the top of the seventh. The Orioles already had scored four times in the inning to push their lead to a convincing 6-1 and were trying to add to it with a sacrifice fly.

Jackie Bradley Jr. got under the ball and made the catch, and Machado tagged up as expected. But for the first time in the inning, something went the Red Sox‘ way as Bradley made a pinpoint throw to catcher David Ross to gun down Machado and end the inning.

Sure, the play saved a run and was Bradley’s 10th assist of the season, tied for most among American League outfielders. But it seemed to be nothing more than a footnote in an otherwise ugly day at the ballpark for the Sox to that point.

Instead, the play proved to be key as the Red Sox emerged with a five-run rally in the bottom of the seventh to even the score at 6-6.

“[I] saw it up in the air, tried to get some momentum going and try to keep it down, try to fire the best strike I could,” Bradley said.

By the end of the game, the 8-2 double play wasn’t even Bradley’s biggest defensive gem of the day.

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Red Sox notes: As Shane Victorino nears return, Grady Sizemore’s roster spot in jeopardy 06.16.14 at 7:14 pm ET
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Shane Victorino is appearing in the second game of his Triple-A rehab assignment on Monday night in Rochester. The Sox anticipate that he will be ready to rejoin the club during the West Coast trip through Oakland and Seattle, though given the early stage of Victorino’s rehab assignment in Pawtucket (he’s played one game, going 0-for-2), a specific date hasn’t been established. Both Victorino and Will Middlebrooks are expected to play back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday for the PawSox, sit Wednesday, then play three straight days, at which point they’ll be re-evaluated.

Brock Holt seems likely to remain in the lineup -- in some capacity -- following Shane Victorino's return. (AP)

Brock Holt seems likely to remain in the lineup — in some capacity — following Shane Victorino‘s return. (AP)

When Victorino does return, the Sox will face a crowd in their outfield. The team has Jackie Bradley Jr. as its everyday center fielder, with Victorino expected to be the primary right fielder. Brock Holt has carved out a flexible everyday role with Victorino sidelined, and he’s become a critical contributor as the leadoff man who has shown the ability to play third, second, short, first, left and right — with Farrell saying he’d be open to having Holt play center as well. Daniel Nava has started to heat up; Farrell would like to see the effective left field platoon of Nava and Jonny Gomes return to its 2013 levels of production.

Grady Sizemore (batting .216 with a .288 OBP and .324 slugging mark) has seen his playing time dwindle, and he would appear in danger of getting further squeezed — perhaps out of a roster spot — when Victorino returns.

“With [Victorino's] progression taking place, provided there are no setbacks, there’s going to be the need for a roster decision upon his return,” said Farrell. “Brock’s emergence in the outfield has definitely taken away from Grady and the at-bats there, particularly with the way Daniel Nava has come on of late. Grady has lost some at-bats. We’ve sat and we’ve talked about it. He recognizes the guys he’s in competition with here. He’s a little bit of a victim of the performance of other guys.”

When Victorino returned from his season-opening stint on the DL in April, Nava was the victim of the numbers game (and the fact that he had minor league options), getting sent down at a time when he was hitting .149/.240/.269. But in his last eight games, the switch-hitter has a .417/.517/.500 line in 29 plate appearances, and so the Sox seem unlikely to remove Nava from the lineup.

“That’s not just with what he’s done of late. We also don’t forget what he did last year, and that combination between he and Jonny was an extremely productive one,” said Farrell. “We need that production to return for us to sustain success.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brandon Workman, Brock Holt, daniel nava, grady sizemore
Ben Cherington: Jackie Bradley Jr. ‘the right guy to be our center fielder’ 06.10.14 at 7:38 pm ET
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Red Sox GM Ben Cherington expressed faith in center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (AP)

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington expressed faith in center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (AP)

BALTIMORE — The tandem of Jackie Bradley Jr. and Grady Sizemore has left the Sox at the bottom of the American League in center field offensive production. Sox center fielders entered Tuesday at the bottom of the league in average (.190), OBP (.285) and slugging mark (.287).

Yet GM Ben Cherington suggested that the struggles of Bradley and Sizemore should not be lumped together simply because they’ve both contributed to offensive struggles at one position. And he made clear that he views Bradley as “the right guy to be our center fielder.”

“You’€™re talking about two very different players there so in Jackie’€™s case, he’€™s playing really good defense, he’€™s grinding, he’€™s making offensive adjustments. He’€™s here working every day to get better. He’€™s a very important guy for us and we feel he’€™s the right guy to be our center fielder,” said Cherington. “In Grady’€™s case, we’€™ve seen flashes, as I  said 10 days ago. I think he would tell you he hasn’€™t been as consistent as he’€™d like to be. Hasn’€™t made the impact as he’€™d like to. Look, we’€™re all in this together, we know collectively we’€™ve got to get better. We all have to perform better, that starts with me. And we just have to make that happen. We’€™re not ready to proclaim that this has to happen or that has to happen or there needs to be any particular move. We just have to play better.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: ben cherington, grady sizemore, jackie bradley jr.,
Dreams fulfilled, surprises, mistakes, slights: Red Sox players share draft day memories 06.04.14 at 6:21 pm ET
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Jackie Bradley Jr. was with his family when he was drafted in the supplemental first round of the 2011 draft. (Photo courtesy Jackie Bradley Jr.)

Jackie Bradley Jr. was with his family when he was selected in the supplemental first round of the 2011 draft. (Courtesy Jackie Bradley Jr.)

The 2014 MLB amateur draft begins Thursday. Years after being drafted, members of the Red Sox shared their draft day memories and the excitement of realizing their dreams of playing professionally.

Jonny Gomes: Drafted by Rays in 18th round, 2001

Gomes didn’t have set plans to play baseball in college, let alone expectations of doing it professionally. He had booked a cruise, his first vacation, during the 2001 draft and had no intentions of canceling it following a workout with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

“€œI don’t even have a college scholarship. What makes you think I’m going to go professional?”€ he recalled thinking.

When he returned home from the trip two days after the draft, he was surprised to hear a message on his answering machine saying he had been selected by the Devil Rays. Gomes hadn’t hired an agent –€“ he didn’t think he would be in the position to need one — so he called back to negotiate on his own. The Devil Rays offered an $18,000 signing bonus for the 18th round. Gomes countered with $20,000 and they agreed. (He hired an agent following his first season in the instructional league after learning of bigger deals other players had received. “I said, ‘€˜Huh, I’m way off.’€™”)

Looking back now, Gomes laughed, “(My draft day memory) is probably a little different than other people, but it was zero.”

Shane Victorino: Drafted by Dodgers in sixth round, 1999

It sounds like the plot of a fairy tale: Victorino went to bed one night and woke up a professional baseball player.

Huh?

OK, let’s explain. Victorino grew up in Hawaii, where there was a six-hour time difference from the draft action. He had been sleeping when he received word he had been selected. It was not a typical phone call, but one he gladly welcomed.

“I was honored,” he said. “I was excited getting that kind of news.”

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Read More: alex hassan, chris capuano, jackie bradley jr., Jonny Gomes
Ben Cherington on D&C: ‘We’re just trying to make the team better’ 05.22.14 at 10:27 am ET
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Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to discuss the return of Stephen Drew and the future of Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington

The Red Sox officially announced that Drew had inked a one-year deal worth approximately $10.1 million on Wednesday. As a result of the signing, Bogaerts is expected to move over to third base while Drew will helm his usual role at shortstop.

“We’€™d been looking to add an infielder, really, for a while. … We felt like the left side of the infield was an area that we wanted to add something, too. … We’€™d been looking to add to that area and it just so happened that Stephen was available obviously because he was a free agent,”€ Cherington said. “€œXander’€™s flexibility allowed us to consider either shortstop or third base options, and when Will got hurt, given everything that’€™s going on, it was important to try to bolster the roster, so that was a way to do it.

“It really had nothing to do with Xander, other than the fact that his versatility allowed us to consider multiple options.”

While Bogaerts has been solid at the plate this season with a .283/.381/.401 line, he has struggled defensively at shortstop. Bogaerts is tied for second among AL shortstops with six errors while posting a subpar .963 fielding percentage.

“€œ[Xander] had obviously gone through some bumps early in the season. We actually thought his defense had stabilized over the last two or three weeks even though he made a couple of errors a couple of nights ago,”€ Cherington said. “He was really performing as expected, again, after a transition period early. It looked like he was getting more comfortable, the at-bats continued to get better. He certainly looks like he’€™s turning into the offensive player that we know he can be.

“We’€™re just trying to make the team better, and we explained that to Xander. … For a young guy as talented and smart as he is, he grew up his whole life playing shortstop, that’€™s a challenging conversation, but he’€™s such a team guy, he’€™s such a unique individual, he’€™s such a huge part of our organization in the long term, that after that initial conversation, he’€™s just dove right in. … He’€™s handled it really well.”

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Read More: ben cherington, Clay Buchholz, jackie bradley jr., Red Sox
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