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Red Sox pregame notes: Calm before deadline in Red Sox clubhouse 07.29.11 at 7:00 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz will see a back specialist in Los Angeles on Monday. (AP)

CHICAGO — There have been times in past years when the Red Sox clubhouse was fraught with anxiety in the days leading up to the July 31 deadline. Younger players, in particular, have at times walked on pins and needles while awaiting word about whether they might be dealt.

In 2009, for instance, manager Terry Francona tried to have a casual conversation with Clay Buchholz on July 31. The color disappeared from the pitcher’s face when the manager summoned him, as Buchholz — who was being rumored in various deals that year for Felix Hernandez, Roy Halladay and Adrian Gonzalez — was convinced he was about to pack.

This year, a different dynamic is in play. By and large, the trade buzz surrounding the Red Sox has focused on the possibility of adding a piece (or pieces) in exchange for minor league prospects. As such, for the most part, the clubhouse has remained insulated from the typical chaos surrounding the buildup to July 31, with a prevailing calm existing on the big league roster.

“I’ve tried to think about it. I don’t feel anything out there,” Francona said of whether he needed to calm the clubhouse waters. “There have been years when you walk out there and guys see me coming and they’re like, ‘Oh, [expletive].’ I don’t feel like that at all. I haven’t said anything to anybody.”

OTHER NOTES:

– Buchholz, on the DL since mid-June with what was initially considered a minor back strain, will see noted back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles on Monday. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: bobby jenks, Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie, Jon Lester
Red Sox pregame notes: Francona not desperate for deals 07.26.11 at 6:07 pm ET
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Manager Terry Francona says he isn't demanding that Sox GM Theo Epstein trade for anyone. (AP)

Just five days remain until the July 31 deadline for trades that don’t require waivers, and even as the Red Sox continue to explore opportunities to improve, they remain on pace for 100 wins. The Red Sox are in a position where they can see about avenues for improving their 2011 roster (while also eying chances to better their position in future seasons).

But manager Terry Francona suggested that he is comfortable without a desperate push to acquire someone before the deadline. Based on the performance of his team and the shape of the depth options in the minor leagues, he would not complain if the Sox do not make a trade.

“I like our team,” said Francona. “Again, I’ve been around here long enough to know that [GM Theo Epstein] is going to be on the phone doing his due diligence, which he’s supposed to. I don’t need to sit up here and say what we need because I think my job is to get the most out of these guys and I like them a lot. But I also know Theo’s going to try to make us better if he can.

“I do feel pretty strongly, because I get to hear the conversations, I like our young players enough in our system that I’m not voting or I’m not saying, ‘Hey, go do this,’ because I like our young guys, too. I really like the idea of our young guys coming up and helping us. I don’t think that hamstrings us one bit.”

OTHER NOTES

Kevin Youkilis is out of the lineup on Tuesday, one day after he tweaked his hamstring while running to first base on Monday, but the Red Sox believe the issue is a relatively minor one based on his evaluation by trainer Mike Reinold on Monday.

“He’s a little sore, but he came through the exam last night pretty good, which is really good,” said Francona. “When he hit the bag, it looked bad. He kind of came off limping. We took him out of there for precautionary reasons. I’m glad we did.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: bobby jenks, Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie, Kevin Youkilis
Red Sox pregame notes: Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie on roads to recovery 07.23.11 at 5:09 pm ET
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Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz threw on flat ground prior to Saturday’s game against the Mariners and will throw a side session off a mound two days later on Monday. Buchholz has been on the disabled list since June 17 with a lower back strain that the team had originally believed would affect the right-hander’s delivery.

In announcing Buchholz’s current plan for recovery, Red Sox manager Terry Francona stated that the back still bothers Buchholz but given the type of injury, it shouldn’t be a hindrance going forward.

“He still feels it,” Francona said. “I think talking to [medical director Dr. Thomas Gill, athletic trainer Michael Reinold] and everybody, they say he may feel it but that doesn’t mean he’s necessarily going to hurt himself. So that’s that kind of fine line we’re walking right now. He’s not ready to pitch. I don’t think anybody thinks he is. There’s going to be a progression here, and it’s going to have to be a consistent one.

“But I think we feel like this is going to work. If you watch him throw, he looks great. I don’t know if trepidation is the word, but there’s some concern on his part. I don’t blame him. We just have to take it one step at a time and do it the right way.”

Francona also noted that Buchholz could have thrown the side session a day earlier on Sunday instead, but the early start time wouldn’t have done the starter any good.

“If he goes Sunday morning, it’s going to be 9:00 in the morning, and I don’t know anybody who does too well then, even at their best. So we’ll do it Monday afternoon.”

Francona’s discussion on Jed Lowrie‘s plan for recovery, Kevin Youkilis’s hand and his own quest for a managerial milestone after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie, Kevin Youkilis, Terry Francona
Red Sox Pregame Notes: Buchholz getting closer 07.19.11 at 7:30 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — The progress is starting to become evident. Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz threw long toss from 120 feet on Monday afternoon, in a session that gave the Sox grounds for optimism that his recovery from a frustratingly persistent back issue is advancing.

“[Monday] was such a good day that I think everyone was really pleased,” said Sox manager Terry Francona. “I know we’ve got some hurdles to get through, but still, he really did well. The guys that were with him said you would never, it looked like a normal day of long toss on a guy that feels good about himself. So that was good.”

Buchholz said that he felt mild soreness on Tuesday, but he pinned that on throwing with greater intensity than at any time since he last tried to throw off a mound at the end of June in Philadelphia. As things stand, the right-hander is scheduled to throw again from 120 feet on flat ground on Wednesday and then, assuming there are no setbacks, to throw his first bullpen session in more than three weeks on Friday at Fenway.

That represents a significant checkpoint in Buchholz’ progression back to pitching, given that at earlier phases of his rehab, he felt the discomfort in his back most acutely when throwing off a mound.

“When he gets to the mound, that’s been the sticking point,” said Francona. “But again, we’ve taken pretty significant time off and yesterday was such a good day that I think everyone was really pleased.”

That included Buchholz.

“It was definitely a step forward,” Buchholz said of Monday’s long-toss session. “Hopefully get off the mound here in the next couple days, two or three days. That’s what I want to do: Put myself in position to get healthy and then come back and help this team win.”

The unexpectedly long stretch on the sidelines has Buchholz (6-3, 3.48 ERA) hoping that he will be able to regain his feel for his pitches upon his return. But, his arm feels good, and with improvement in his back, the right-hander believes that he is on the right track to return.

“I’ve tried everyday just to pick up a baseball just so that I don’t forget how it feels in my hand, the grips and everything. That’s one of the first things that will go if you don’t throw a ball for a while,” said Buchholz. “The arm feels really good though. I’ve been keeping up with the shoulder program. Now that I’m throwing a little bit more, it definitely feels better. That’s a good thing.”

OTHER NOTES

Bobby Jenks received a plasma-rich platelet injection in his injured lower back, a region that has now landed him on the disabled list twice this season. An exam in Boston, however, revealed that the issue is muscular rather than structural, and so the Sox are hopeful that once the soreness from the injection clears in the next couple of days, the right-hander will be in position to advance in his rehab. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: bobby jenks, Clay Buchholz, jarrod saltalamacchia, Jed Lowrie
Peter Gammons on M&M: ‘Dangerous’ to put Adrian Gonzalez in outfield 06.22.11 at 1:10 pm ET
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Peter Gammons

MLB Network and NESN analyst Peter Gammons made his weekly appearance on the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday to talk about the Red Sox. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

One of the big topics lately has been how the Red Sox will handle interleague play on the road when they cannot use a designated hitter. Either David Ortiz or Adrian Gonzalez will be forced to sit so the other can play first base, or Gonzalez will have to play in the outfield, something he has only done once during his career.

“I think [Terry Francona] might use Gonzalez for a couple of games, one in left field in Philadelphia and one in left field in Houston, which are both short,” Gammons said. “Otherwise, I don’t think they will get too fancy. I think they will rely on their pitching to get by. It’s tough, they are both in the top five offensive players in the American League, but as long as baseball plays by two different rules, this is one of the things you have to live with.

“I just think it’s dangerous. If Gonzalez runs into a wall or something, you lose him for three weeks. That’s a lot worse than losing two out of three in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh.”

If the Sox were to make it to the World Series, they would be faced with this dilemma again. Gammons said Gonzalez likely would not play in the outfield in a World Series game. He noted back in the 1993 World Series, the Blue Jays sat John Olerud and Paul Molitor in order to go with the best defensive team.

Gammons was asked about outfielder Josh Reddick and what he sees his role with the team going forth.

“I think he’s a guy that can hit .270, .280,” he said. “He has improved a lot as far seeing the ball out of the pitcher’s hand and swinging at strikes. He’s got a wide bat. He’s a very good outfielder who is exceptional at charging the ball and throwing. To me, that’s his greatest skill. In some ways I think of him of being a fourth outfielder, but I think a pretty good one. I don’t think he has the ceiling of Ryan Kalish, but I do think he can be a pretty useful player.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adrian gonzalez, bobby jenks, Daniel Bard, David Ortiz
Second opinion for Jed Lowrie while Bobby Jenks makes progress 06.20.11 at 6:24 pm ET
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Another Red Sox player is headed West to visit Dr. Lewis Yocum as Jed Lowrie will travel to Los Angeles this week to get a second opinion on his sore left shoulder.

“Jed is going to leave [Tuesday], fly to LA and see Dr. Yocum on Wednesday,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “He’ll have the pictures [taken] and he’ll see him in person, which we feel like there’s no reason for him not to go. He’s not playing anyway so let’s have him examined in person and that’ll be good.”

Lowrie injured the left shoulder on a collision with Carl Crawford in Detroit on May 27.

“I think it’s everybody, it’s not just one-sided, just trying to figure out what’s going on,” Lowrie said after Monday’s game as he readied for his trip out West. “I’d just love him to say it’s normal from the collision and just a little time and rehab and it’ll be back to 100 percent.”

Lowrie returned to action but was taken out of last Thursday’s game at Tampa after one inning after complaining that the shoulder felt like it slipped out of joint. He was placed on the DL on Saturday.

“It hasn’t gotten worse but it’s about the same,” Lowrie said. “I don’t think there’s anything else to read into it. It’s just that we both want to make sure we know what we’re dealing with. I don’t want to say [rest] hasn’t helped, it’s just been a little slower than I had hoped. I’m just going to find out. Nothing I can do, just find out what’s going on.”

Lowrie said he’s fully confident he’ll be able to return to the level he played at early in the season.

“I know what I’m capable of as a player and we’re going to figure out what’s going and I’m going to be back on the field and doing what I know I’m capable of doing.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: bobby jenks, Boston Red Sox, carl crawford, Dr. Lewis Yocum
Closing Time: Red Sox score seven in seventh to sweep Yankees 06.10.11 at 1:43 am ET
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It looked like CC Sabathia would finally take Round 3 of his 2011 heavyweight bout with Josh Beckett. The hefty lefty cruised into the seventh inning of a 2-0 contest having allowed no runs on just two hits and two walks.

Then, the Red Sox offense kicked in.

Following a David Ortiz single, Jed Lowrie drove in Boston’s first run with a triple that was aided by a slipup in rightfield by Nick Swisher. Carl Crawford then grounded out, but Mike Cameron (double), Jason Varitek (single) and Jacoby Ellsbury (single) got on base in consecutive at-bats to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead. Adrian GonzalezKevin Youkilis and Ortiz added RBI hits, with the DH’s being a two-RBI double to give him six RBI in the series, later in the frame that supplied Boston with a comfortable five-run lead in what would be an eventual 8-3 victory.

Sabathia finished with 6 2/3 innings pitched while allowing a season-high six earned runs on eight hits.

Beckett, who looked like he would be on the losing end for most of the game, gladly welcomed the run support to earn just his fifth win in 13 starts despite his outstanding start to the season. In the victory, the righty lasted seven innings and allowed just the two runs, both of which came on a two-run home run by Curtis Granderson in the Yankees’ second at-bat of the game. The Red Sox ace now has a 3-0 record against New York in three starts this season, all against Sabathia,  with an extremely low ERA of 0.83.

The win gives the Sox their second sweep at Yankee Stadium in 2011 and gives Boston a two-game cushion over New York in the AL East standings. The game’s start was delayed three hours and 27 minutes by rainstorms in the Bronx area. Because the game wasn’t allowed to begin on time, both starters were allowed to take the mound without issue.

Here’s more on what went right and went wrong in the Red Sox win.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

–Thanks to the rally in the seventh and Marco Scutaro’s single in the ninth inning, every Red Sox hitter gathered a hit in the win, a feat the team had “failed” to accomplish in its 11-6 thrashing of the Yankees the night before. Although it wasn’t on a home run this time, Ortiz did extend his hitting streak to nine games with his single in the seventh while Ellsbury extended his own streak to seven contests. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adrian gonzalez, C.C. Sabathia, David Ortiz, Jed Lowrie
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