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Red Sox pregame notes: Brock Holt available off bench; Matt Barnes optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket 08.23.15 at 12:18 pm ET
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Brock Holt

Brock Holt

Although Brock Holt will miss his fourth straight game, it appears he’s nearing a return.

Holt will miss Sunday’s game after originally being in Saturday’s lineup, but was a late scratch with left oblique tightness. Interim manager Torey Lovullo said he would be available in an emergency situation Sunday.

“Brock’s doing OK,” Lovullo said. “Still a little nicked up. His left oblique has given him problems, but he is available today if needed in an emergency situation. We’re looking to get him in the lineup tomorrow. I had a good discussion with Brock this morning where we just felt like it was best to give him one more day, give him a blow, get ahead of it and see where he’s at tomorrow.”

The utility man has played 99 games this season and this comes after he played a career-high 106 last year. Lovullo said the team is aware of the numbers of games played and him struggling in the second half of last year. He hit .219 after hitting .327 in the first half.

“It’s been on our radar that he’s had a history of wearing down, but I think overall you just have to look at the guy, productivity and what he means to the ball club,” he said. “Whether he is tired or not, he has such great value to this team that we’re going to find a spot for him in the right situation. What can he do? I don’t know if he can work any harder behind the scenes.

“He’s a very caring guy. He understands what he means to this team. He wants to stay healthy — whether he tweaks his offseason program I’m not sure, but I think in time we’re going to find a guy who can be consistent throughout the year health wise.”

— Sunday is just an off-day for Hanley Ramirez.

— Following Saturday’s game and Matt Barnes‘ second major league start, he was optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket. With Rick Porcello returning to the rotation this week, the team needed to open up a spot.

Barnes went 5 1/3 innings and allowed five runs. Overall in his two starts, he allowed 11 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings.

Reliever Jonathan Aro was recalled as the corresponding roster move.

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Read More: Brock Holt, matt barnes, steven wright, torey lovullo
Learning from mistakes: Matt Barnes will benefit long term following outing vs. Royals 08.22.15 at 11:49 pm ET
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Matt Barnes was chased from the game in the sixth inning after allowing a three-run homer. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Matt Barnes was chased from the game in the sixth inning after allowing a three-run homer. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

As the Red Sox close out the 2015 season, it’s more about the future and having their younger players play and learn from certain types of situations. After all, nothing is more valuable than actual game experience.

That is what happened with Matt Barnes Saturday night against the Royals, as he was making just his second major league start following moving from the bullpen to a starter in Triple-A at the end of July after being a starter for the bulk of his minor league career.

Barnes threw 96 pitches, a season-high between Triple-A and the majors, and it was the final one that was the most costly.

In the sixth inning after walking Kendrys Morales and allowing a single to Mike Moustakas, Salvator Perez crushed a three-run home run into the Royals bullpen, which gave the Royals a 5-0 lead and chased Barnes from the game.

Interim manager Torey Lovullo said the inning was part of the 25-year-old’s growth in becoming a successful major league pitcher, as he didn’t take him out and wanted him to pitch through it.

“He had pitches left and we felt he didn’t reach the number we were looking at,” Lovullo said. “Any time you have a young pitcher that is working though lineups and having success, the last thing you want to do is pull the rug out from under them. You want to let them feel situations, you want to let them work through and have success in certain situations. In this case it works a little bit in the opposite way. I know this is going to sting a little bit and he’s going to remember it and he’s going to grow and learn, and that’s the key for a young pitcher.

“I don’t think it has anything to do with where he’s at pitch-count wise. I know he had something in the tank, I know he had a few extra moments there where he could have got some outs. He just made some mistakes at the wrong time.”

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Closing Time: Red Sox can’t complete late rally, fall to Royals ending 4-game win streak at 10:39 pm ET
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Matt Barnes allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings as the Red Sox fell to the Royals, snapping their four-game win streak. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Matt Barnes allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings as the Red Sox fell to the Royals, snapping their four-game win streak. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

A night after scoring seven runs off Johnny Cueto, the Red Sox couldn’t keep the offensive momentum going.

Royals starter Yordano Ventura was able to keep the Red Sox in check as he limited the Sox to one run over six innings, as the Royals topped the Red Sox, 6-3.

The loss snapped the Red Sox’ season-high four-game win streak.

The Sox’ offense finally was able to get on the board in the sixth on a Travis Shaw fielder’s choice, which scored Xander Bogaerts. Mookie Betts added a solo home run in the seventh inning, which cleared everything in left field and then Bogaerts added an RBI-single in the ninth.

Although they finished with just three runs, they had their chances.

In the first inning Shaw flew out to left field with runners on first and second with two outs. Then in the fourth, Jackie Bradley Jr. struck out with runners on first and second to end the frame. Also, in the eighth Blake Swihart popped out to second base with runners on second and third to end the threat. Finally, Shaw ended the game with the bases loaded and the tying run at first base. The team left 11 runners in base.

Matt Barnes pitched well until he got to the sixth inning when he allowed a three-run home run to Salvador Perez to break the game open and give the Royals a 5-0 lead. Barnes finished the game going 5 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits, while walking a batter and striking out two.

Barnes allowed the other two runs in the first inning on a two-run double by Kendrys Morales.

Kansas City added another run in the eighth, which was charged to Heath Hembree.

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

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Read More: David Ortiz, matt barnes, mookie betts, xander bogaerts
Saturday’s Red Sox-Royals matchups: Matt Barnes vs. Yordano Ventura at 7:49 am ET
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The third game of a four-game series between the Red Sox and Royals will pit Matt Barnes against Kansas City’s Yordano Ventura.

Barnes has been back and forth between Boston and Triple-A Pawtucket this season. The 25-year-old has accrued a 3-3 record to go along with a 6.59 ERA this season in the majors. He sports an unseemly 1.866 WHIP, allowing 13.2 hits per nine innings. He has also demonstrated the ability to put hitters away, compiling 29 strikeouts in just 27 1/3 innings of work. He has an average fastball velocity of 94.9 mph.

Barnes has made 22 major league appearances on the season, all but one of which has come in relief. He spent the beginning of July with the Sox before being sent to Pawtucket. His return to Boston came in the form of his first career start on Monday.

The right-hander took a loss at the hands of the Indians by a score of 8-2. He threw five innings, allowing six runs on six hits and three walks. He allowed a home run and struck out seven. Despite the less-than-gaudy results, Barnes felt confident about his starting debut.

“I felt really good out there,” Barnes said. “I thought I had really good command of all three pitches.”

“I thought Matt threw the ball really, really well,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said, echoing his starter. “He gave us everything we expected. He was commanding his fastball. Everything was crisp and downhill. He was effective. He did his job for us tonight.”

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Read More: matt barnes, Yordano Ventura,
Monday’s Red Sox-Indians matchups: Matt Barnes vs. Danny Salazar 08.17.15 at 8:16 am ET
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In Monday’s series opener between the Red Sox and the Indians, Matt Barnes will make his first major league start opposite Cleveland’s Danny Salazar.

Barnes spent time in the big leagues this year as a reliever, appearing in 21 games and 22 1/3 total innings for a 3-2 record with a 5.64 ERA. The right-hander had just one outing longer than two innings this season but started five games for the PawSox, two of which came on Aug. 5 and 10. He began the season as a starter in the minors, posting three outings that left him with a 4.50 ERA and a trio of no-decisions. Barnes allowed six earned runs over 12 innings in that time but was then transitioned to reliever. After getting scratched from his scheduled Monday start in Pawtucket, the 25-year-old instead will make his first MLB start for Boston.

“We’ve asked a lot of him, moving back and forth in the rotation and the bullpen. But he’s very capable of that,” acting manager Torey Lovullo said Saturday. “His last start, the word we got from player development was that it was aggressive. He was throwing a lot of his pitches in the zone and doing a good job. He’s been stretched out well enough that he can go out there and give us close to 100 pitches.”

That last start Lovullo referenced lasted 4 2/3 innings and Barnes was able to hold the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders — the Yankees‘ Triple-A affiliate — to just one earned run on six hits. He threw 91 pitches, 56 for strikes, and struck out five while walking three.

Barnes has never faced the Indians in his career, even in relief, but he has seen two of their division rivals in the Royals and Twins. Against those teams he has a 3.86 ERA, having given up two earned runs in an inning vs. Kansas city and none in 3 2/3 frames vs. Minnesota.

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Read More: Danny Salazar, matt barnes,
Red Sox Sunday notes: Dana LeVangie promoted to interim bench coach, Bob Kipper to bullpen, ‘finely tuned’ Hanley Ramirez progressing 08.16.15 at 12:41 pm ET
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It’s only appropriate the Red Sox are going to the bullpen to find relief for interim manager Torey Lovullo.

The Red Sox, through Lovullo, announced Sunday morning that longtime bullpen coach Dana LeVangie would be promoted Lovullo’s bench coach in the dugout. Accordingly, Lovullo also announced that Pawtucket pitching coach Bob Kipper will leave Triple-A and come to Boston to take over for LeVangie. Those moves will take effect Monday in the series opener against the Indians.

“A lot of moving parts there,” Lovullo said. “We wanted to stay internal. We know that these two guys know baseball on a really good level, especially from within our system, and I think the fit is going to be really special.

“There’s a lot happening in the dugout. I know it’s hard for people to understand what’s going on. From my point of view, there’s three or four different areas that I’ve got to run into, to have that bench coach there to challenge some of my thoughts, to endorse some of my thoughts is going to be nice to have, especially given Dana’s background. There’s immediate trust. There’s a guy that’s respected in this game and being able to bounce off some thoughts, it’s going to be invaluable to me.”

But there’s an even bigger aspect to LeVangie moving from the bullpen to the dugout for the rest of the season.

“The second part of that is he’s our catching instructor,” Lovullo said. “We’ve got a young catcher in Blake Swihart behind the plate. He’s going to get a little bit closer to the action. He’s going to be able to have interactions with Blake and Ryan Hanigan in between innings, and there’s a lot of value to that as well.”

“We’ll announce it today but there are a lot of moving parts. We’re having to pull some guys from different areas and we don’t want to leave Pawtucket empty-handed. We have to figure out who’s going to fill in for Kip so that [move] will start [Monday].

LeVangie has had a significant and successful role in the Red Sox organization. As an advance scout, LeVangie was assigned to follow the Los Angeles Angels in anticipation of the postseason, and eventually saw the Colorado Rockies as well. During Game 2 of the 2007 World Series, Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills, armed with information from LeVangie and the scouting staff, correctly predicted Matt Holliday would attempt to steal on Jonathan Papelbon‘s first pitch with two outs in the eighth inning and the Rockies down by a run.

Mills called for a pickoff, and Papelbon, who had not picked off a runner in his big league career, picked off Holliday easily. It was the biggest play in Boston’s 2-1 win in Game 2. When Gary Tuck resigned as Boston’s bullpen coach prior to the 2013 season, LeVangie was named his successor and earned a third World Series ring when Boston won the 2013 World Series.

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Read More: bob kipper, Boston Red Sox, dana levangie, hanley ramirez
Red Sox injury updates: Hanley Ramirez ‘progressing'; Rusney Castillo getting left foot examined 08.15.15 at 11:52 am ET
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Rusney Castillo

Rusney Castillo

The Red Sox got some better news with left fielder Hanley Ramirez‘s left foot after his exam upon returning to Boston.

Although he’s out of the lineup for the sixth straight game after fouling a pitch off his foot on the road trip, he is “progressing.”

“Hanley Ramirez is progressing and doing well,” acting manager Torey Lovullo said. “Still feeling a little discomfort with that contusion. Like I said yesterday, we’re going to do right by these players and make sure their work up will allow them to play and participate at full speed without any limitations.”

— Rusney Castillo left Friday’s game after fouling a pitch off his left foot. It was announced as a left foot contusion and he is being examined Saturday morning for further information.

“Hope for good news,” Lovullo said.

— Starter Steven Wright was placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list after taking a flyball to the back of the neck during batting practice in Miami. Garin Cecchini will take his place on the roster. Lovullo said he could see time in left field or first base in a reserve role.

— With Wright being unavailable Monday, Matt Barnes was scratched from his start with Triple-A Pawtucket Saturday and will start Monday against the Indians. He recently switched back from being a reliever, but he’s been stretched out to 90 pitches.

“We thought about a couple options as far as the rotation moving forward,” Lovullo said. “We wanted to split up our lefties so we didn’t push anyone around, we kept everyone in line. He’s going to slot in there for us on Monday.”

Barnes was drafted as a starter in the first-round of the 2011 draft out of the University of Connecticut. Although he’s spent much of the last year or so as a reliever, the Red Sox have always viewed him as a starter.

“He’s been a proven starter at the minor league level,” Lovullo said. “Player development has recommended that this is a guy who could be a very qualified major league starting pitcher. Out of necessity we needed to move him to the bullpen. I think as young player go we all look them in different ways and when you have the stuff that he has you try and get him to the big leagues and contribute in whatever gap he can fill.

“In this case it was as a reliever for a period of time, but we’ve always viewed him as starter so we’re going to get him up here and we’re anxious to see what he can give us.”

Read More: garin cecchini, hanley ramirez, matt barnes, Rusney Castillo
Red Sox Minor League Notebook: Pitching prospect Teddy Stankiewicz thriving despite rare birth defect 08.06.15 at 9:00 am ET
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Teddy Stankiewicz

Teddy Stankiewicz

Just looking at Teddy Stankiewicz and watching the right-hander pitch, you would never know he’s different than 99.9 percent of people to ever throw a baseball, but he is.

Stankiewicz was born without a right pectoral muscle.

After being drafted by the Red Sox in the second-round of the 2013 draft, the Texas native was supposed to sign for $1.1 million, but during the routine physical portion of the signing process it was revealed he didn’t have the muscle in his chest and thus the Red Sox knocked $200,000 off the signing bonus.

“To be honest, I didn’t really know it was going to happen because I figured it out kind of then too. I was like, ‘Oh, crap,'” Stankiewicz said this week. “Actually for them to do that instead of just giving me something worse, I said to myself it’s just a bonus and I still have an opportunity to do the real thing I wanted to do because essentially you want to get to the big leagues, not the minors.”

Growing up and playing sports the 6-foot-4 righty knew he was different than most other athletes because he couldn’t do some of the same drills and exercises as well as they could, but it never affected his performance on the field so it was never something he thought to get checked out.

“I never got it checked because it never hindered me playing baseball,” he said.

“It was a little bit harder for me and it’s still hard for me because I can’t do the same exercises in the weight room because it puts more strain on my right shoulder — it hinders my right side,” Stankiewicz added. “A lot of different muscles have to compensate for the loss of my pec. My shoulder is still really, really strong, it’s just I can’t do the same workout routine normal guys can. That’s the only difference.”

The Red Sox‘ trainers were as surprised as he was as none of them had ever seen such a thing, but after more tests it revealed his arm was just as strong as a someone who has their right pec. It clearly hasn’t had any impact on the mound as Stankiewicz has thrown in the mid-90s since his senior year of high school.

“At first they were really shocked, but I think they understand that I was born with it and obviously there’s been no injuries,” he said. “My physical’s all came back 100 percent, not even a slight anything from my elbow or my arm. For me and them, it’s not a hindrance problem or anything like that and fortunately you don’t need to a pec to throw a baseball.”

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Read More: aaron wilkerson, brian johnson, matt barnes, Red Sox Minor League Notebook
Wednesday Red Sox Farm Report: Matt Barnes to start for PawSox; William Cuevas, Aaron Wilkerson promoted 08.05.15 at 9:01 am ET
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:

Garin Cecchini

Garin Cecchini

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (44-66): L, 3-1, at Syracuse (Nationals)

— Left fielder Garin Cecchini (Boston’s No. 14 prospect at MLB.com) reached base four times, going 3-for-3 with a double and the only Pawtucket RBI of the game with a two-out single in the sixth inning that scored catcher Sandy Leon. The 24-year-old Cecchini is hitting just .225 this season through 90 games, but he is coming off a .293 month of July and now has hits in eight of his last 10 games to bring his average to its highest point since April 15. Selected by Boston in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, Cecchini spent the majority of 2014 with Pawtucket, hitting .263 with a team-leading 57 RBIs and an International League-best 29-game streak of reaching safely.

— Third baseman Marco Hernandez went 2-for-4, the only other PawSox batter with multiple hits on a seven-hit night for the offense. The 22-year-old Hernandez is slashing .279/.296/.441 through 18 games in Triple-A with 11 RBIs and 10 runs scored. Acquired by Boston last season as the player to be named later in the trade of Felix Doubront to the Cubs, Hernandez has played third base in four straight games after not playing there in a professional game since 2011. Hernandez has played the majority of this season at shortstop.

— Leon went 1-for-4 with the run scored, hitting third in the batting order for the fourth consecutive game since reporting to Pawtucket. The 26-year-old Leon has hits in all four Triple-A games, starting 5-for-14 with four walks and four runs scored after hitting just .180 this year in the majors with Boston in 33 games played. According to Fangraphs, Leon ranked as the 21st most valuable defensive catcher through 253 MLB innings behind the plate.

— RHP Zeke Spruill took the loss despite a quality start and final line of: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO (101 pitches, 64 strikes). The 25-year-old Spruill (4-8, 4.54 ERA) allowed two home runs in the game, back-to-back solo shots in the second inning to give Syracuse a 2-0 lead. In the sixth, back-to-back Syracuse triples brought in another run. The 6-foot-5 Spruill was designated for assignment on July 3, and in five appearances since (four starts) Spruill has allowed seven earned runs over 24 innings, an ERA of 2.63.

— RHP Jonathan Aro pitched two scoreless and hitless frames of relief, striking out the side in the eighth while walking one batter. The 6-foot Dominican returned to Pawtucket on Aug. 1 after a second, quick stint in the majors with Boston during which time he did not pitch. Aro allowed a run on three hits in his return to the PawSox last Saturday.

— As reported in the Providence Journal, RHP Matt Barnes will be transitioned back into a starting pitcher and will take the ball for Pawtucket on Wednesday. Selected by Boston in the first round of the 2011 draft (19th overall) out of the University of Connecticut, Barnes, 25, made 24 starts for Double-A Portland in 2013 and 22 starts for Pawtucket last season before making the move to the bullpen. This season Barnes pitched 22 1/3 innings of relief in the majors, allowing 14 earned runs (5.64 ERA) with 22 strikeouts and eight walks.

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Read More: Andrew Benintendi, Ben Taylor, garin cecchini, matt barnes
Closing Time: Astros plate 4 runs in 10th inning to beat Red Sox in back-and-forth affair 07.03.15 at 11:34 pm ET
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The Astros got the last laugh in Friday's wild 9-8 win over the Red Sox. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Astros got the last laugh in Friday’s wild 9-8 win over the Red Sox. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

While it wasn’t quite the Fourth of July (just yet), the Red Sox and Astros provided some fireworks in a wild game, which saw two lead changes and the game tied another three times, along with some bizarre plays over the four- hour and 23 minute affair.

In the tenth inning with Noe Ramirez making his major league debut, he allowed four runs (two unearned courtesy of Mike Napoli‘s error) as the Astros were able to get the last laugh in a back-and-forth game, winning 12-8 Friday night at Fenway Park.

In the eighth inning, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa hit a towering solo home run off Craig Breslow to leadoff the frame giving the Astros an 8-7 lead, but that was short-lived as the Red Sox would again tie the game in the bottom half of the inning on a David Ortiz opposite field double. The double could have given the Red Sox the lead, but Mookie Betts was thrown out trying to steal third base for the second out of the inning.

“Our offense did a great job tonight,” manager John Farrell said. “Three times we battled back by being down. A number of good swings. David obviously with a big one, the eighth inning to tie it. We continue to battle back. Our offense is swinging the bat well, we’re scoring a good number of runs. The larger concern is just getting deeper into the games that are starting out the ballgame.”

In the top of the seventh inning, Matt Barnes loaded the bases, but struck out Alex Presley for the second out of the inning, but the next batter, Jose Altuve, singled up the middle, giving the Astros a 7-5 lead.

Once again, the Red Sox would come right back in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game at seven. Pablo Sandoval singled with the bases loaded scoring a run and then Alejandro De Aza’s fielders choice plated the tying run at the time.

Trailing 5-2 entering the bottom of the fifth, the Red Sox scored three times to tie the game at five. Ortiz singled home Brock Holt and then Xander Bogaerts scored on a fielder choice when Ortiz broke up a potential double play by taking the ball off the helmet sliding into second base. Hanley Ramirez advanced to second on the play and then scored on a two-out RBI single by Sandoval, against lefty reliever Tony Sipp.

Red Sox starter Justin Masterson allowed five runs on seven hits in the fourth inning, not even finishing the inning as he was removed after 3 2/3 innings. The right-hander didn’t allow a hit the first time through the Astros order, but Houston lit him up the second time around.

“First three innings he was solid and then in the matter of 13 pitches there’s three runs on the board and seven hits in the fourth inning, so they went early in the count,” Farrell said. “When he did try and alternate with a first pitch slider was a ball and they would fight back in the count, but they were aggressive and took him the other way. I thought he came out early, I thought he had good life to his stuff, but to close out the fourth inning, couldn’t happen.”

The Red Sox did play some spotty defense in the fourth, particularly in the left field as Ramirez appeared to have some trouble fielding two balls hit off the wall and getting the ball back in to the infield.

Ramirez gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead with a towering homer in the second inning and then the Sox scored another on a Betts single.

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

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Read More: David Ortiz, hanley ramirez, justin masterson, matt barnes
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