|Closing Time: Mariners 5, Red Sox 1||07.25.10 at 12:46 am ET|
Red Sox starter Jon Lester had the stuff to make history on Saturday, retiring the first 16 Mariners hitters he faced, 10 of them by way of the strikeout. But his bid for perfection was ended with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning, when a line drive to left-center by Seattle shortstop Jack Wilson clanged off the glove of center fielder Eric Patterson for an error. Wilson reached second, and against the next batter, Lester — pitching out of the stretch for the first time of the game — hung a curveball to Michael Saunders, who crushed it into the right field stands for a two-run home run.
That was the only offense that the Mariners mustered against Lester on Saturday. But it proved enough against a Sox team that could produce no offense of its own en route to a startling 2-1 loss.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
–Eric Patterson was making his second start in center field for the Red Sox when the ball found him at a most inopportune time. Wilson’s liner to left-center proved to be the first error that Patterson has ever made in the big leagues as a center fielder. It is impossible to know whether Lester would have stumbled in his bid for perfection in the absence of Patterson’s misplay, but certainly, both Patterson and Lester wish they would have had the opportunity to find out.
–The Sox failed to take advantage of the few opportunities that they had. Most notably, Jeremy Hermida — in his first start since June 9 — struck out with runners on second and third and one out in the top of the second inning. Jed Lowrie twice flied out to right with two on and two out. The team was held hitless over the last 3 1/3 innings by the Mariners bullpen.
–Jon Lester through the first 16 batters of the game: 5 1/3 innings, no baserunners, 10 strikeouts. Lester after Patterson’s error: 2 1/3 innings, four hits, walk, five runs.
–Manny Delcarmen turned in his second straight poor relief outing. He entered the game with two outs and runners on second and third in the bottom of the eighth. He promptly forced in an inherited run without even making the Mariners put a ball in play, walking the first batter he faced and then hitting Jose Lopez to force in a run. He nearly gave up a grand slam to the next batter he faced, Justin Smoak, but the drive died on the warning track.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
–Lester set a career high with 13 strikeouts, the most by a Red Sox left-hander since Bruce Hurst punched out 14 on May 5, 1987. He showed one of his best changeups of the year, and had a full complement of swing-and-miss secondary offerings.
–David Ortiz hit his first homer of the second half, smashing an 89 mph fastball from Pauley into the stands in right-center for his 19th roundtripper of the season.
–Mike Lowell went 4-for-4 in his rehab game with Triple-A Pawtucket. For details on that game, click here.
–A Red Sox team that is desperate for offense received positive news about two players. Both Jacoby Ellsbury and Victor Martinez are nearing game-readiness, with Martinez likely to be activated (barring a setback) in Anaheim, and Ellsbury set to start a rehab stint with the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League Red Sox on Monday.
|Olney: Hannahan trade could be end of Lowrie||07.23.10 at 8:37 am ET|
ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney tweeted that Boston’s recent acquisition of infielder Jack Hannahan could mean that the team will look to trade fellow utilityman Jed Lowrie. Lowrie just made his return to the big leagues Wednesday after missing the entire first half of the season with mononucleosis. Hannahan played second base, shortstop and third base for Seattle’s Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma before coming over to the Red Sox organization and could replace Lowrie as a jack-of-all-trades infielder. Olney mentions that Lowrie’s rumored destination could be San Diego should the Sox actually choose to move him.
|Gammons: Rockies rejected offer of Lowrie for Iannetta||07.20.10 at 3:42 pm ET|
According to a tweet from Peter Gammons, the Rockies are not actively looking to move catcher Chris Iannetta. In fact, tweets Gammons, they rejected a proposed swap from the Red Sox of infielder Jed Lowrie for the catcher.
One reason as to why the Rockies may be leaning towards keeping the 27-year-old is that he could potentially play first base if incumbent Todd Helton, who has battled back and hamstring issues this season, doesn’t last in his return from the disabled list.
A native of Providence, R.I., Iannetta has a career batting average of .240 but an on-base percentage of .358. He has played in only 27 games this season and has spent time at the Triple A level. He has seven homers in 106 plate appearances this season, playing in 27 games and hitting at a .220 clip.
Lowrie, 26, has been rehabbing after missing the first half of the season with mononucleosis. The 45th overall pick in the 2005 MLB draft, Lowrie has has hit .235 with a .313 OBP in 113 games in the majors.
|Lowrie: ‘I’m an asset to that team’||07.08.10 at 11:12 pm ET|
Playing in his second rehab game with the Lowell Spinners Thursday night, shortstop Jed Lowrie looked comfortable at the plate and in the field. But the question going forward will be whether he is able to continue to do just that. In the past few seasons, after all, he hasn’t been able to remain healthy for prolonged stretches.
After dealing with a wrist injury in 2008 that required surgery in 2009, Lowrie was diagnosed with mononucleosis this spring, sidelining him for the start of the season. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26 and was later transferred to the 60-day DL on April 14.
Lowrie worked out and improved his condition in Fort Myers, allowing him to begin his rehab stint starting with Single-A Lowell.
“If you’re in Fort Myers, other than the guys who just got drafted and the rookies, it’s because you’re injured,” Lowrie said before Thursday night’s game against Jamestown. “It’s not where you want to be, but it was the place for me to be until I got healthy.”
Though he still has a long road ahead of him, Lowrie is glad to be back on any field.
“It feels good. I feel a lot healthier than I have in a long time,” Lowrie said. “That was my goal coming in, to feel healthy. Once I got healthy, baseball will take care of itself.”
Lowrie has no timetable for a potential return to the majors.
“Well, I’m one game into it. I’ve played one game since spring training,” Lowrie said. “[Thursday night] will be the first time I’ve played in the field since spring training.”
Playing shortstop, Lowrie was solid in the field while going 1-for-2 at the plate with a walk and a two-out RBI single. He was taken out of the game in the sixth. The fact that he did not play a complete game in the field is a signal of the lingering effects of the strength-sapping illness that he suffered.
While his illness this year was a source of frustration, Lowrie has experienced progress with his wrist. The 26-year-old is hopeful an issue that impaired him down the stretch in 2008 and wiped out much of last year is not behind him in his career.
“I think it’s really the silver lining in all of this that it gave my wrist a little time to heal,” Lowrie said. “I just have to get used to the different anatomy I have because I got a bone taken out. It feels good, I have no complaints. I’m one game into it and my batting practice has been very aggressive with my swing on both sides. I’m excited about it.”
With several Sox out with injuries, Lowrie can only sit back and watch. Boston could use as many players as possible at the moment, but Lowrie knows he must be patient and wait until he’s fully recovered before rejoining the parent club.
“Well, I know when I’m healthy and ready to go that I can help that team no matter who is hurt or who is healthy,” Lowrie said. “You never want to see anybody get hurt, let alone however many guys are on the DL right now.”
Two players on the DL right now are corner infielder Mike Lowell and second baseman Dustin Pedroia. While Lowrie played shortstop on Thursday — his primary position with the Sox in parts of two big league seasons — he could potentially switch his position based on team needs. He has experience playing second at both the collegiate and pro level, but a permanent transfer from shortstop is not on Lowrie’s mind.
“I played second through college, but that was because my coaches asked me to and I thought we were a better team with me at second base,” Lowrie said. “I knew in my heart that I could be an everyday shortstop and I needed a couple of years to play the game at a higher level, but I knew in my heart that I could play shortstop.”
With as long of an absence as Lowrie has had, he’s been virtually forgotten by many fans. When he returns to the Red Sox, Lowrie could quickly remind everyone of his talents. He does not merely view his value in terms of a fill-in for injured players but instead as a quality big leaguer even for a healthy club.
Said Lowrie: “I know that I’m an asset to that team no matter what the situation.”
|Lowrie’s return to Lowell||at 7:19 pm ET|
Here is a live update on Jed Lowrie’s at-bats and fielding tonight in his second rehab game with the Lowell Spinners:
- In his first at-bat in the bottom of the first inning, Lowrie batted left-handed and went opposite field on a 3-1 fastball. It was a high fly ball that traveled onto the cusp of the left-center warning track and caught by the left fielder.
- In his second at-bat in the bottom of the third inning, Lowrie batted left-handed and took a four-pitch walk. He was pitched around with a man on third, first base vacant, and two outs.
- In the top of the fifth inning with no runners on, Lowrie made a play on a ground ball deep in the hole between short and third. He was able to make a strong one-hop throw while fading into left field but it was beat out by the runner. Lowrie later was on the front end of a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
- In his third at-bat in the bottom of the fifth inning, Lowrie batted left-handed and smoked a single to right-center to score the runner on third. The RBI tied the game at three and came with two outs.
Lowrie was subbed out in the sixth inning, ending his night in the field and at the plate. For the game, he was 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI single.
|Lowrie nears rehab assignment||06.29.10 at 8:16 pm ET|
This would have been the time for Jed Lowrie to make an impact.
It was not long ago that the Red Sox were in a position to envision a middle infield of Lowrie and Dustin Pedroia for the 2009 campaign and, perhaps, for years to come. Then Lowrie underwent surgery to remove a bone in his left wrist, and suffered from ongoing issues in the recovery that essentially wiped out last year.
The Sox, uncertain whether he could be healthy enough to play a meaningful role in 2010, signed Marco Scutaro. The team insisted, however, that Lowrie could still serve a meaningful role given his ability to back up at both second and short.
A healthy Lowrie right now would have represented the top option to replace Pedroia, who is likely out for four to six weeks due to the broken navicular bone in his left foot. Instead, the 26-year-old has been sidelined for more than three months by mononucleosis.
And so, rather than being in the Sox’ lineup right now, he remains in Fort Myers, where he has been trying to regain enough strength that he can resume a playing career. But while his illness has prevented Lowrie from carving a meaningful role on the Sox right now, the possibility exists that he could still claim one this year. He is about to commence a rehab assignment with Single-A Lowell of the New York-Penn League, perhaps as soon as this Saturday. That development gives the Sox hope that he has a chance to contribute this year.
“He’d be a very useful guy to have around right about now. It’s been a long road for him, getting over the mono, but he’s less than a week away from starting a rehab assignment if things continue to go well,” said Sox GM Theo Epstein. “There’s always been a sense of urgency about this, because we think he’s a good player, and he needs to get back and resume his career, but there might be even more urgency to it now, considering the needs we have at the big league level. But he’s spent all the time in Ft. Myers, and has seen a number of specialists, and is to the point now where he’s just about over it, and should start a rehab assignment by the end of the weekend if all goes well.”
Of course, given that Lowrie will have missed all of the season’s first half, his rehab assignment will be a full one. Manager Terry Francona suggested that the middle infielder will likely need at least the 20 days he has for a rehab assignment to get back into playing shape. (If Lowrie is not ready to return to the majors by that point, the Sox could option him to a minor-league affiliate so that he can continue his rehab. Lowrie has one option remaining.)
That being the case, it remains to be seen whether he can position himself to enter the mix to help hold the fort while the Sox await Pedroia’s return. Francona said bluntly that having Lowrie as part of the group of fill-ins at second base was “not on the horizon,” at least for now. All the same, the Sox will be monitoring his rehab to see if a player who flashed significant potential in 2007 (when he led all Sox minor leaguers with 68 extra-base hits) and 2008 (as the everyday shortstop in the second half) can position himself to offer the team value going forward, whether as a depth option or a trade candidate.
|Red Sox Saturday Morning Notes: Fantasy Camp for Embree||03.20.10 at 10:06 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — An amused Alan Embree popped out of the Red Sox camp and onto the field at City of Palms Park — his spring training home in the 2003-05 seasons — turned around and took stock of his surroundings.
“Fantasy camp!” he mused.
The 40-year-old left-hander, who appeared in 211 games for the Red Sox from 2002 (when he was acquired by the Sox in a trade from the Padres) through 2005, is back on a minor league deal, now returns to the club for whom he produced a signature moment in franchise history, recording the final out of the 10-3 win over the Yankees in Game 7 of the ALCS in ’04. The Sox will try to determine if Embree — whose 2009 season was cut short by a line drive that broke his right tibia — is ready to throw a bullpen today. The team does not have a timetable for the pace at which it hopes he will progress this spring.
Obviously, Embree’s arrival will command the attention of the other relievers competing for a Red Sox roster spot.
“There’s guys in this camp, I’m sure their radar has gone up,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.
Francona said that pitching coach John Farrell has already touched base with the pitchers to discuss the acquisition of Embree, and the manager planned to do the same.
Here’s the Red Sox lineup that will face the Orioles today:
Wakefield, SP (followed by Delcarmen, Nelson and Cabrera)
– Victor Martinez played his first game of the spring at first base on Friday, making a fine diving stop on a hard hit grounder. Manager Terry Francona suggested that the team was comfortable with having Martinez play that position as soon as it acquired him last year.
“I actually think we thought he was pretty good,” said Francona. “He’s so conscientious.”
The team does not yet know how often Martinez will play first in the coming season.
– Kevin Youkilis has yet to play in a game at third base this spring, but Francona said that he would do so before the end of camp.
– Daisuke Matsuzaka is likely to have his two-inning minor league outing at the Red Sox minor league facility at 11am on Sunday.
– Jed Lowrie has not been able to return to meaningful physical activity from his diagnosis with mononucleosis.
“He’s allowed to do what is tolerated and he’s not been doing much. I would say that there’s just not much going on right now,” said Francona. “The hard thing is, you don’t know how much of a setback because when you’re not doing much and then when you come back, it’s going to take a toll. Hopefully he’ll be able to tolerate start doing some things.”
– Mike Lowell remains in line to play third base for the first time of the spring on Sunday.
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