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Ryan Sweeney awaits his fate with Red Sox 03.27.13 at 1:48 pm ET
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Ryan Sweeney

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The clock is ticking for Ryan Sweeney.

The Red Sox have until midnight Thursday to relay their intention regarding putting Sweeney on the Opening Day roster. The player then has 24 hours to inform the club regarding is choice of whether or not he will be accepting an minor-league assignment if a spot on the big league club isn’t won.

For now, he waits.

“A couple of weeks ago I was kind of worried about it. I was like, ‘Man, what’s going to happen?’ I was kind of getting stressed by it,” Sweeney said. “But the last week or two I was just decided to go out and play and whatever happens is going to happen. I’m not going to put stress on myself trying to figure it out. Hopefully, first and foremost, it’s here in Boston. But if it’s not I’ll just have to figure out where I’m going to go from there.”

The outfielder, who signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox shortly after it was learned Ryan Kalish would need shoulder surgery, told WEEI.com that he would not be inclined to accept a minor-league assignment from the Sox if asked.

Sweeney entered Wednesday’s game hitting .222 – 2-for-21 against lefties and 8-for-24 vs. right-handers. Of his one 10 hits was a doubles.

“Honestly, I have no idea. I’m kind of just in limbo,” he said when asked about his status. “I really haven’t even had a conversation with them to be honest with you, if there are two spots for three guys or how it even works. I’m just kind of waiting it out and we’ll see by tonight or tomorrow.

“I feel like my defense is always there, so I feel like that was fine. But as far as hitting and everything, I went through a little patch where I didn’t feel the greatest but then I got it back. But my swing for the most part all of spring training has felt great. I’m comfortable with what I’m doing right now, going into the season. I haven’t gotten as many hits as I’ve wanted to get. But as far as the type of at-bats I’ve had and the swings I’ve been putting on balls and how hard I’ve been hitting the ball, I’ve been fairly happy with it.”

It would appear that the Red Sox have four players vying for two spots, with Sweeney, Mauro Gomez, Mike Carp and Jackie Bradley all in the mix. Gomez has an option

Unlike Carp and Gomez, Sweeney is not on the Red Sox’ 40-man roster.

“I definitely don’t regret signing here,” he said. “You can always look back and say some team is looking for a left-handed bat now and you wish you signed there. Hopefully I still make the team and don’t have to worry about it, but with the signing of more guys after I came over here, and a few younger guys that have done well and not even knowing they were in the equation, I might have looked at it a little bit differently.”

Read More: jackie bradley jr., mauro gomez, mike carp, ryan sweeney
GM Ben Cherington on what Red Sox still have to do 01.11.13 at 9:23 am ET
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Ben Cherington

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, in an interview on WEEI’s Red Sox Hot Stove Show on Thursday night, said that while the team has not yet resolved its need to add a first baseman given the unresolved nature of negotiations with Mike Napoli, the club is otherwise relatively well defined. The team’s primary focus, aside from concluding its search for a first baseman (with Cherington noting that the team continues to talk with Napoli and is “hopeful” of getting a deal done), mostly appears to be the addition of roster depth.

“Most of the heavy lifting is probably done. We feel pretty good about the options that we have on most parts of the roster,” said Cherington. “We feel pretty good about where we are. We’ve tried to improve as many parts of the roster as we can this offseason. I would expect that there would be some additions to major league camp. Whether that’s roster or non-roster remains to be seen, but I would expect we’d add some competition to major league camp before we get to Fort Myers, guys who are not with us right now.”

One area where the Sox might look to add more competition is in starting rotation depth options. Right now, the rotation in Triple-A Pawtucket looks set to feature prospects with limited big league experience. Of the four starters who appear almost certain to open the year in Triple-A, right-hander Rubby De La Rosa has spent just a few months in the big leagues with the Dodgers, while right-handers Allen Webster and Steven Wright and left-hander Chris Hernandez have never pitched in the big leagues. (Left-hander Drake Britton, whose performance in the spring will determine whether he starts the year in Double-A or Triple-A, also has never pitched in the big leagues.) Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: ben cherington, David Ortiz, Josh Hamilton, mauro gomez
Bobby Valentine: Red Sox batters right now ‘just aren’t getting that hit’ 07.22.12 at 1:17 pm ET
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Can Cody Ross point the Red Sox offense back in right direction without David Ortiz? (AP)

During their heyday of the last decade, the Red Sox used their offense to pile it on opponents and put them away. Now with David Ortiz out of the middle of the lineup, critics are piling on the Red Sox inability to add on to leads during games. The Red Sox are not ignorant to this fact either.

After Saturday’s 7-3 loss to the Blue Jays, the third straight game in which the Red Sox scored in only one inning, skipper Bobby Valentine acknowledged the following:

“We definitely have to add on [offensively],” Valentine said. “That’s for sure. We have to put some stuff together. It’s a little different mix of guys. Going out there maybe they’ll start getting used to each other. Every team misses an Ortiz but we can win without David.”

Sunday, he added:

“We’re stacking the bases and different parts of the lineup just aren’t getting that hit. Get one hit, you’ll get many hits and score many runs. But you get a couple of first and second, second and third, you get the bases loaded. You just need a hit once in a while. It’s silly to think that that would be David coming up all the time.”

Dustin Pedroia didn’t disagree.

“Especially in our division, teams keep coming after you and coming after you,” Pedroia said. “We need to try separate ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with getting a five, six-run lead. Other than the White Sox game where we scored a bunch, it’s been close. We need to make sure we have better at-bats and try to pull away.

“We feel like we have a great team. We just need to be more consistent, be consistent offensively, pitching, running the bases, playing good D. If we do everything better, we’re going to run off a lot more than five or six in a row so, we need to do that.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bobby Valentine, Boston Red Sox, Cody Ross, David Ortiz
Bobby Valentine on Big Show: David Ortiz to DL, Carl Crawford fits batting second 07.18.12 at 3:47 pm ET
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While the biggest takeaway of Bobby Valentine‘s weekly appearance on The Big Show Wednesday was the news that David Ortiz would be placed on the 15-day disabled list and that Mauro Gomez would be recalled, the manager had some interesting points regarding other situations the Sox are currently facing.

Regarding Ortiz, who injured his right Achilles’ tendon running the bases Monday, Valentine said a second opinion confirmed that the slugger would miss time.

Said Valentine: “He got a second opinion and it was the same opinion he got here, which said that he’s gong to be 10 to 14 days, so we’re putting him on the disabled list and we’re activating Mauro Gomez.”

Ortiz is hitting .316 with a .414 OBP, .609 slugging mark, 1.024 OPS, 23 homers and 58 RBI. He had an 11-game hitting streak, including a run of 10 straight games with at least one hit and one walk, at the time of his injury.

Gomez is hitting .308/.333/.423/.756 in eight games this year, having played both first and third base for the Sox. In Triple-A Pawtucket, he’s been one of the top performers in the International League, hitting .317/.371/.634/1.005 with 20 homers and 49 extra-base hits in 73 games.

Valentine said the team will take a mix-and-match approach at DH until Ortiz is healthy.

“I don’t think there’s a guy who has DH next to his name,” Valentine said. “We’ll try to figure our the lineup that matches up the best with the people that he have and go to battle.”

Carl Crawford returned this week from an elbow injury and has hit second with success in his first two games back. Valentine wouldn’t say what will happen when Dustin Pedroia returns, calling a potential logjam at the No. 2 spot “creating another controversy” on the media and fans’ part.

“I don’t think there will be a problem,” he said. “When I looked at the records here, Dustin’s batted a lot of places in the order. We’ll figure out what’s best for the team and what’s best for Dustin. He’s so important to our team that what we’re looking for right now is just getting him healthy and getting him back in the lineup.”

Valentine said that he and Crawford didn’t discuss Crawford’s place in the lineup (he hit seventh for much of last season), but that he simply felt the left fielder was the right man to bat after Jacoby Ellsbury.

“We never had that conversation,” he said. “You put people in the place where you think they’re going to be successful but also work with the team. I would say the second-place hitter, we were in search of. He filled that void nicely and played two terrific games.”

Franklin Morales was the odd man out in the rotation recently when the team moved him to the bullpen. In five starts, Morales went 2-1 with a 3.25 earned run average, 33 strikeouts and eight walks over 27 2/3 innings.

Valentine said that both he and assistant pitching coach Randy Niemann believed Morales could be an effective starter, the move had to be made as the team went from a six-man rotation to a five-man rotation. While Valentine said that “things could change as [the Sox] go on,” the plan is for Morales to stick in the bullpen.

“Unless you know of someone in that starting staff who can pitch in the bullpen or should be in the bullpen or someone in that starting staff who can go to the minor leagues, I don’t see anywhere else for Franklin to be pitching right now,” he said.”

Alex Speier contributed to this post.

Read More: Bobby Valentine, carl crawford, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia
Closing Time: Pedro Ciriaco, Mauro Gomez stars in Red Sox win 07.07.12 at 10:53 pm ET
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Mauro Gomez proved to be one of the Game 2 heroes Saturday. (AP)

Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader was dominated by two Red Sox players who were not even with the team a week ago. Pedro Ciriaco and Mauro Gomez provided a powerful spark from the No. 8 and 9 sports in the Red Sox batting order, leading Boston to a 9-5 win over the Yankees.

The night did not start so well for Gomez though, who made two errors and allowed a bunt base hit in the first to set up a three-run home run for Mark Teixeira off Felix Doubront. However, Doubront settled down and kept Boston within striking distance, not allowing another run until the seventh inning. Doubront finished the night having allowed four runs, three of which were earned, on four hits while striking out six through 6 1/3 innings.

Thanks to Doubront’s efforts, the Red Sox clawed their way back into the game, scraping across runs in the third and fifth before capitalizing on a three-run double in the sixth inning off Phil Hughes to take a lead they would not surrender again. Hughes left the game after the sixth-inning double, ending his night having allowed five runs, three of which were earned, on 10 hits while striking out three through 5 1/3 innings.

While Gomez made two errors on the first play of the game, the Yankees were the team that did not play well in the field for the rest of the game, recording a season-high five errors.

The Red Sox salvaged their first win of the four-game series, bringing their record back above .500. Boston will try to keep it above .500 entering the All-Star break during Sunday’s series finale.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

- Ciriaco had a good showing at the plate from the bottom of the order. Batting ninth, the 26-year-old went 3-for-3 with three RBIs, two runs, a double and a stolen base. The former Pirate’s night was highlighted by a clutch bases-clearing three-run double in the sixth inning.

Besides his performance at the plate, Ciriaco also showed that he can play the field well, making a couple of nifty snags at shortstop in the fourth inning. As a versatile fielder that can play any infield position, Ciriaco is another mid-season call-up that would be hard to send back down to the minors if he continues to perform well.

- While Gomez was not good in the field for the Red Sox, he provided a spark to the offense from the bottom of the order. Gomez went 3-for-5 on the day with two doubles, two runs and an RBI. The runs were the first two of his career.

Gomez earned his first two RBIs of his career in the two games prior to Saturday’s Game 2 on a couple of RBI singles. With his first two runs of his career and a .421 batting average through his first six major league games, Gomez provides a decent offensive option off the bench that may help counteract his defensive shortcomings.

- Adrian Gonzalez lofted a double off the Green Monster in the fourth inning to extend his hitting streak to 18 games. Gonzalez recorded another two hits on the night, including a double off the wall in center field.

The 18-game hitting streak is a career high for Gonzalez, whose previous career high had been 17 set twice in 2006 with the Padres. The hitting streak, which dates back to June 20, has increased Gonzalez’s batting average from .257 to .285.

- After surrendering the three-run home run in the first inning, Doubront settled down nicely for the Red Sox, not allowing a hit for nine batters from the fourth through the seventh inning. In what could have been another disastrous outing for Red Sox starters in the series, the Venezuelan kept the Yankees within striking distance and his offense capitalized.

Doubront, who lasted 6 1/3 innings, has lasted at least six innings in seven of his last nine starts. With a 4.41 ERA, the 24-year-old remains one of the most consistent Red Sox starters in a rotation that lacks consistency.

- Ryan Sweeney hit an RBI triple in the bottom of the seventh to increase the Red Sox lead to 6-4. The triple marked a successful return for Sweeney, who looked as if he was going to go hitless in his first game back from a toe injury he received on June 16.

The triple, which was his first triple since the first game of the season on April 5, gave the Red Sox a much-needed insurance run late in the game. Sweeney came around to score another insurance run when Gomez knocked him home later in the inning.

- Vicente Padilla was back to the form he had been in all season when he came in with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the eighth. Padilla did not allow any of the inherited runners to score by forcing back-to-back pop-outs by Yankees hitters.

Padilla did not hit either of the two batters he faced.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

- The Yankees picked on Gomez in the top of the first using his poor defensive play to get the first two batters on base. First, Gomez bobbled a ground ball from Derek Jeter and then threw the ball wide of Gonzalez at first. The play resulted in two errors and Jeter standing on second base. Then, Curtis Granderson laid down a bunt to third base and legged out an infield single as Gomez could not whip the ball to Gonzalez in time for the out.

Gomez, who also made an error in Game 1 of the doubleheader, deserves a bit of slack, as he is not a natural third baseman. Until Wednesday in Oakland, the last time the 27-year-old had played third base had been at the Single-A level. Gomez played mostly first base or designated hitter in the minors, but the injuries to Will Middlebrooks and Dustin Pedroia have forced Gomez to be a more versatile infielder.

- Doubront gave up a first inning home run to the Yankees, something that is becoming a trend for Red Sox starters.  Teixeira crushed a 1-0 pitch over the wall in straightaway center field to give the Yankees an early three-run lead.

The homer was the third first-inning homer allowed by Red Sox pitching today, as Franklin Morales allowed back-to-back homers to Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones in the Game 1 loss. The Red Sox have now allowed 10 first-inning earned runs in the past three games, and have a 6.25 ERA in first innings this season as a staff.

- Jarrod Saltalamacchia struggled at the plate for the Red Sox on Saturday night, going 0-for-5 with four swinging strikeouts. The toughest out for Saltalamacchia came in the bottom of the sixth with the bases loaded when he had an opportunity to expand the Red Sox two-run lead after striking out his first three times at the plate. Unfortunately for the 27-year-old catcher, he swung and missed again, this time against Boone Logan.

While Saltalamacchia has been consistently good for the Red Sox this season, he has struggled to make contact with the ball in his last two games, totaling seven strikeouts in ten at-bats.

- The Red Sox continued to struggle finding an answer for Jones. The 35-year-old outfielder crushed his third home run of the doubleheader with a gargantuan blast over the Green Monster for the third time today. Jones also made an impressive diving catch on a line drive by Sweeney to end the second inning.

Jones is doing it all this series for the Yankees, showing flashes of what he could do in his prime with the Braves. Red Sox pitchers have to find a way to keep the ball away from Jones, or else he could continue to make it rain baseballs on Lansdowne Street.

Read More: mauro gomez, Pedro Ciriaco, Red Sox,
Red Sox minor league roundup: Mark Melancon puts up a zero, Sean Coyle shows pop and Will Middlebrooks keeps crushing 04.21.12 at 9:56 am ET
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It was a big night for a number of position prospects in the Red Sox system, with noteworthy contributions from Will Middlebrooks, Xander Bogaerts and Sean Coyle. That said, the most important performance of the day might have been a single scoreless inning, that turned in by right-hander Mark Melancon in his Triple-A debut.

None of the reliever’s four appearances in the big leagues this year occurred without at least one run being scored. In Pawtucket, he has a chance to hit the reset button, particularly now that he is working with a 0.00 ERA rather than a 49.50 mark.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 15-10 WIN VS. DURHAM (RAYS)

(BOX)

– Another day, another terrific line for Will Middlebrooks, who is amidst the best stretch of his career. He went 2-for-4 with a homer (his third straight game with a longball), a walk, three runs and four more runs knocked in. In his last 10 games, he is hitting .395/.435/.837/1.272 with six homers and 19 RBI.

Overall, he is tied for fourth in all of the minor leagues in both homers (6) and RBI (20).

Middlebrooks only has one other streak of homers in three straight games, that coming last June 26-28 when he went deep in three consecutive contests while on a rehab assignment with the Lowell Spinners.

One interesting note on Middlebrooks’ power this year — in contrast to a year ago, when most of his power was from center to right-center, Middlebrooks is pulling more homers this year, including his three-run bomb to left in Pawtucket on Saturday night. That was his fourth homer to left this season.

Mark Melancon made his first appearance in Triple-A, striking out two and allowing a single in a scoreless inning of work. He needed just 11 pitches (eight strikes) to blitz through his inning of work.

Alex Hassan clubbed his first homer in Triple-A, a grand slam, to cap a 2-for-4 night.

– First baseman Mauro Gomez went 4-for-4 with a pair of homers and a walk. He’s now hitting .356/.397/.661/1.058 for the season, though most of his damage has come at home. He’s hit all four of his homers at McCoy Stadium, .500/.542/1.091/1.633 in 24 plate appearances.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 7-5 LOSS AT BINGHAMTON (METS) Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: alex hassan, chris balcom-miller, christian vazquez, juan carlos linares
Red Sox minor league roundup: Rich Hill’s rehab, early power for Will Middlebrooks 04.11.12 at 9:32 am ET
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Rich Hill is getting ready to head to Salem on the next stop of his rehab assignment.

Rich Hill is ready to take the next step in his rehab from Tommy John surgery, top prospect Will Middlebrooks is doing some early damage and a couple of pitchers left their outfielders in a state of utter boredom.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 8-0 WIN VS. LEHIGH VALLEY (PHILLIES)

– A year ago, third baseman Will Middlebrooks had two extra-base hits (both homers) in 16 games and 60 plate appearances in Pawtucket following his late-season call-up from Portland. On Tuesday, in his fifth game of the season (and with 22 at-bats now under his belt), he collected his third extra-base hit (and first homer) of 2012, going 2-for-4 with a homer to right-center.

– Early in spring training, one Red Sox minor league instructor watched Mauro Gomez take batting practice. “He looks like Albert Pujols,” he said, half-kidding, based on the first baseman’s thick frame and the fact that the burly basher (listed at 6-foot-2, 230 pounds) blasted ball after ball over the chain-link fence and into some Florida wetland.

In 18 at-bats, Gomez has hit the ground running, hitting .389 (7-for-18) with a .421 OBP, .778 slugging mark, 1.199 OPS and two homers. In 135 games with the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate last year, Gomez hit .304 with a .356 OBP, .522 slugging mark, .878 OPS, 24 homers, 60 extra-base hits and a league-leading 264 total bases.

– Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf proved both effective and efficient, permitting just two hits and one walk in six shutout innings while striking out three and recording eight outs via grounder (including three double play balls). He needed just 63 pitches to earn the victory, in the process improving Pawtucket’s ERA to a league-best 1.26.

Ohlendorf told Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal that he employed a cutter he learned during spring training from Josh Beckett into his pitch mix.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEADOGS: 7-1 WIN VS. TRENTON (YANKEES)

– The Sea Dogs ended their franchise-record five-game season-opening losing streak with a blowout win against the Trenton Thunder.

Chris Balcom-Miller, the right-hander acquired from the Rockies in a trade for Manny Delcarmen in Aug. 2010, mowed through six innings, allowing one run on three hits and three walks while striking out three. All three of the hits he allowed were groundball singles, and 12 of the 18 outs Balcom-Miller recorded came on the ground, with three double-play grounders thrown into the mix. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: brandon jacobs, chris balcom-miller, juan carlos linares, mauro gomez
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