|Francona on Ellsbury: ‘There’s certainly some concern there’||08.13.10 at 10:25 pm ET|
Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury left his team’s game against the Rangers in the bottom of the fourth inning due to what the team described as “left side pain.” Ellsbury — who was batting leadoff for the first time in five games — incurred the injury while leading off in the top of the first inning. On a dribbler between the pitcher’s mound and first base, Rangers starter Tommy Hunter fielded the ball and lumbered to first base to record the unassisted out.
Hunter was running in the base path, where Ellsbury could not get around him. Ellsbury bumped into the pitcher and then tumbled to the ground, resulting in the pain to an area that has wiped out much of the center fielder’s season.
“There’s certainly some concern there,” Sox manager Terry Francona told NESN. “He managed to fall right on the same spot, trying to stay out of the way of a collision. His arm got caught in there when he hit the ground. We’re going to send him out to LA tomorrow, as quickly as possible. [Red Sox team medical director] Dr. [Thomas] Gill has already examined him. They’ve MRI’d him there. I’m sure they’ll do it all over again and try to get an opinion on where we are as quick as we can.”
The Sox later clarified that Ellsbury would be sent back to Boston to receive his MRI at Mass General. Ellsbury missed 98 of his team’s first 107 games due to five rib fractures. He was hitless in three at-bats on Friday, and is hitting .192 with a .485 OPS for the year.
Jed Lowrie also left the game in the ninth inning due to heat exhaustion, and required treatment with intravenous fluids.
|Closing Time: Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 5||08.10.10 at 10:26 pm ET|
For much of the year, Mike Lowell and Jed Lowrie were rendered afterthoughts on the Red Sox roster. Lowrie missed the first half of the season while recovering from mono, while Lowell languished on the bench and then was shuttled to the disabled list, in part because he did not have a useful role on the team.
But both have become prominent regulars on the Sox due to injuries, and both played huge roles in leading the Sox to a 7-5 win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday. With the game tied, 5-5, Lowell ripped a homer to left against reliever Shawn Camp. After pinch-hitter Ryan Kalish singled, Lowrie blasted a double (his second of the game) high off the wall in straightaway center for an insurance run.
In the process, two players who had been marginalized for much of the year emerged as central as the Sox claimed their second straight win.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
—Jed Lowrie had his second two-double game of the year, as the switch-hitter collected one two-bagger from each side of the plate. Lowrie has been a critical contributor for the Sox with Dustin Pedroia down, hitting .311 with an .870 OPS.
–Lowell hit his second homer since returning from the D.L. earlier this month, and had his second multi-RBI game of August.
—J.D. Drew gave the Sox a brief 5-4 lead when he crushed a homer to right field against Jays starter Ricky Romero in the fifth inning. It was Drew’s first homer since July 22.
–Though David Ortiz has struggled significantly against left-handers this year, he has had no problems against Romero, either this year or in his career. He collected a pair of doubles against Romero, and now has five doubles and a homer in 16 career at-bats against the Toronto southpaw.
–With Daniel Bard unavailable, Manny Delcarmen delivered a dominating performance in the eighth inning, striking out a batter in a perfect inning that he required just 11 pitches to navigate. Opponents are 0-for-11 against Delcarmen in August.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
–The middle infield defense was mistake-prone, as Lowrie and Marco Scutaro struggled to work together on a pair of plays that resulted in one error (charged to Lowrie) and another play that created a bases-loaded jam.
—Bill Hall struck out twice in his three at-bats, going 0-for-3. Despite being a part-timer for most of the year, Hall has 24 multi-strikeout games this year, a mark that ranks second on the Red Sox to David Ortiz (33).
—Marco Scutaro went 0-for-5, and is now hitting just .159 with a .400 OPS in August.
WHAT WENT BOTH RIGHT AND WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
–The process of trying to acclimate Felix Doubront to life in the bullpen at the major league level is admittedly a challenging one for the Red Sox, as the Sox will hope that he proves capable in the face of challenges even though most of his outings in the coming weeks will represent some kind of “first.” Tuesday was just such a day.
For the first time in his professional career, he entered in the middle of an inning with runners on base. Doubront was summoned with two on and two out in the bottom of the sixth inning, asked to preserve a 5-4 lead. He immediately got what should have been in inning-ending grounder that was botched by the middle infield tandem of Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie. No matter. With the bases loaded, Doubront got a huge three-pitch strikeout against Travis Snider, the last pitch being a nasty swing-and-miss curveball.
But when he was asked to follow up that effort by pitching the seventh inning, he stumbled, leaving a fastball up and over the middle of the plate to Jose Bautista. The American League leader in homers crushed the pitch out to left field, tying the game. He recovered quickly to retire the next three hitters, but what could have been the defining performance of the game instead turned into a footnote. Still, the new experiences should only help Doubront going forward.
—Daisuke Matsuzaka was alternately spectacular and vulnerable for the Sox. He struck out the side on just 14 pitches in the first inning, marking the second time this year that he had struck out three batters in an inning. (The first also came against the Blue Jays.) In stretches, he was simply overpowering. And yet there were other stretches in which he completely lost his command, with damaging results. Most notably, he walked the first two batters of the third inning (No. 9 hitter John McDonald and leadoff man Fred Lewis), and followed that by allowing a three-run homer to Travis Snider on a fastball down the middle.
As a result, an outing where Matsuzaka appeared capable of cruising to victory ended with him recording a no-decision and failing to last six innings. For the night, he allowed four runs on six hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings while striking out seven. He allowed two homers in a game for just the second time this year, and gave up a homer with at least two runners on base for just the second time this year. Still, when he threw strikes, he was dominant.
His up-and-down outing did have the benefit of inspiring a grassroots poetry movement.
|Red Sox notes: D-Mac scratched, Ells makes strides||08.01.10 at 3:21 pm ET|
Darnell McDonald was scratched from Sunday’s lineup with back stiffness but Red Sox manager Terry Francona said the team hopes to have him available later in the day as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement.
In his place, Eric Patterson started in center for the Red Sox while Ryan Kalish, fresh from his 2-for-4 performance in his major league debut on Saturday, gets the start again in left field.
Elsewhere, Jacoby Ellsbury took another step on Saturday night toward a return to Boston when he went 2-for-4 and scored a run scored in his first game with Triple-A Pawtucket.
Ellsbury hit leadoff and played center field in a 5-1 loss to Durham. Asked if Ellsbury is as strong as he was before he suffering fractured ribs on April 11, Francona answered, “He probably isn’t as strong as he was in spring training. He came to camp in really good shape.
“We are trying to get the soreness out of his body in Triple-A, not here, so that is why he needs to keep playing a little bit,” added Francona.
In four games with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and Pawtucket, Ellsbury is hitting .333 with four runs, two walks and a stolen base.
Ellsbury played the outfield again Sunday and will continue playing with Pawtucket until he is at full strength.
“He is going to have general soreness from not playing,” Francona said. “We have to get him through that, and I think we would all rather do that in Pawtucket and not here.”
Francona gave props to Jed Lowrie for his game-changing at-bat in the ninth, pinch-hitting for Patterson. Lowrie fouled off several pitches before drilling a double to left-center and extending the eventual game-winning, three-run rally.
“His at-bat was tremendous,” Francona said. “I think it got overlooked a little bit because of what David did. That was a really nice piece of hitting.”
Lowrie batted .367 with four doubles, one homer and nine RBIs in 10 rehab games with Triple-A Pawtucket and Class A Lowell.
Francona said that Lowrie, who was activated from the disabled list July 21 after a three-month bout with mononucleosis, is getting stronger and stronger but still is not ready to play every day.
“He is a good hitter. I think it has become forgotten,” Francona said. “He has had a lot of things go wrong health-wise, but he seems to be getting back, which is good.”
|Source: Padres not pursuing Lowrie||07.29.10 at 6:04 pm ET|
According to a major league source, the Padres ‘kicked the tires’ regarding the availability of Red Sox infielder Jed Lowrie, but San Diego will not pursue him as a solution for their depleted infield. Lowrie has played in six games since returning from the disabled list with mono, hitting .250/.318/.400/.718 with 3 RBI in six games.
|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.
–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.
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