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Red Sox lineup: Xander Bogaerts, Mike Napoli get day off in series finale 07.20.14 at 11:43 am ET
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Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts and Mike Napoli will get the day off from the starting lineup as the Red Sox look for the three-game sweep of the Royals against hard-throwing righthander Yordano Ventura. Shane VIctorino is playing in his second straight game with Boston, and fourth consecutive overall, dating back to the start of his brief rehab stint with Pawtucket on Thursday. He is scheduled to have the day off Monday when the Red Sox open a series in Toronto.

For a complete batter vs. pitcher breakdown, click here.

RED SOX LINEUP

Brock Holt 3B

Daniel Nava LF

Dustin Pedroia 2B

David Ortiz DH

Mike Carp 1B

Shane Victorino RF

Stephen Drew SS

David Ross C

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Jon Lester SP

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Jon Lester, mike napoli, MLB
John Farrell: ‘No one has given up anything’ 07.17.14 at 10:54 pm ET
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John Farrell will try to keep his emotions and those of his players in check over the next two weeks.. (AP)

John Farrell will try to keep his emotions and those of his players in check over the next two weeks. (AP)

Repeating the sentiment of his boss Ben Cherington during the GM’s Thursday morning interview on Dennis & Callahan, John Farrell said a 43-52 record won’t immediately send management into sell mode. All hope, Farrell said on the last day of the All-Star break, is not lost.

“No one has given up anything,” Farrell said. “No one has conceded anything, but we’ve also been in the game long enough to know that over the next two weeks, names are going to start to get bantered about.”

Among those names being bantered is Jake Peavy, who himself acknowledged before the break that Cherington had spoken to him about likely being traded any moment.

“Time will tell,” Farrell said. “I’m not privy to every conversation Ben has. This is a busy time of year for the entire industry. So, I’m sure there’ll be additional rumors continuing to grow. But until we know something concrete, our job is to maintain our focus on the field each and every day with the intent of winning [that] night.”

Whether or not the Red Sox can stay afloat in the next two weeks, one of Farrell’s primary objectives will be to keeping the team focused while rumors swirl.

“I think it’s very much part of it,” Farrell said. “There’s a number of people involved in the players [moving]. You typically have to pay attention to some of the websites that might carry some rumors. You try to put their concerns or wonderment at ease a little bit just so they can focus on what is at hand, and that’s the game [that] night. So, it’s human nature to be distracted at times because your name is potentially involved in something. We work and do what we can to be as candid and upfront with relevant information at the time.”

Read More: Boston Red Sox, jake peavy, John Farrell, MLB
Xander Bogaerts gets more support, this time from a longtime friend, former teammate 07.07.14 at 10:22 pm ET
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The 2014 Topps "Heritage Rookie" Card of Xander Bogaerts and Jonathan Schoop.

The 2014 Topps “Heritage Rookie” Card of Xander Bogaerts and Jonathan Schoop.

John Farrell is not the only one showing a vote of confidence in struggling rookie Xander Bogaerts.

Jonathan Schoop is someone who’s known Bogaerts even longer than the Red Sox manager.

Schoop played with Bogaerts on the Netherlands national team that competed in the 2013 World Baseball Classic and has played in many competitions with him.

When he went 0-for-27 recently and fell into a 2-for-49 slump, the Orioles second baseman sympathized for a player he came to know through international competition.

“He’s a good player, even if you go through tough times,” Schoop told WEEI.com after Sunday’s game, a 7-6 Baltimore win. “Every player goes through tough times but you have to find a way to make adjustments and come back. He’s a competitive guy, he wants to win, he wants to do good and he’s a good guy, a great guy.”

“His confidence. You cannot see in him that he’s 0-for-20, 0-for-25, 0-for-30. He stands in there like he’s 10-for-10, believing in himself.”

Ironic that Schoop made his comments on the very day that Bogaerts actually snapped his 0-for-27 slide, collecting multiple hits for the first time since June 7. That day Bogaerts was hitting .299 with a .387 OBP and an .839 OPS.

Between then and Sunday, his average plummeted 61 points and there was serious talk about whether he would be better off making adjustments at Triple-A Pawtucket. Farrell said before Monday’s game with the White Sox that there is no such plan in the works. Schoop is no general manager or field skipper but he does agree that leaving Bogaerts up in the majors to learn, even at the tender age of 21, is a good thing.

“I think so,” Schoop said. “You see how he learns from experience. The more experience, the better you get. You have to learn from experience. I think he’s doing a good job. Just keep grinding. Just keep fighting.”

Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, John Farrell, Jonathan Schoop
Nelson Cruz on John Lackey: ‘People can say whatever they want’ 07.06.14 at 12:53 pm ET
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Nelson Cruz has been swinging a torrid and powerful bat for the Orioles this year. (AP)

Nelson Cruz has been swinging a torrid and powerful bat for the Orioles this year. (AP)

Sticks and stones may break his bones but John Lackey‘s words won’t incite Nelson Cruz.

Lackey was in classic passive aggressive form after Saturday night’s 7-4 loss to Cruz and the Orioles. Cruz went 5-for-5, including a laser beam homer to left off Lackey.

“I’€™m not even going to comment on him,” Lackey said. “€œI’€™ve got nothing to say about him. There are things I’€™d like to say, but I’€™m not going to. You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff.”

The “stuff” Lackey was accusing reporters of brushing under the carpet was the 50-game suspension for PED violations in connection with the MLB Biogenesis investigation. On Sunday morning, Cruz responded. At first Cruz said he was unaware but after being informed of Lackey’s tone, Cruz seemed unaffected.

“What comments? I don’€™t know,” Cruz said. “I don’€™t hear that, anything. I mean, people can say whatever they want. It’€™s part of being free. I don’t have any comment on that.”

Cruz was a triple shy of the cycle on Saturday night. He is certainly the leading candidate for comeback player of the year, leading the American League in homers (27) and RBIs (70). He’s batting .286 with an OPS of .934. No wonder that David Ortiz aggressively recruited Cruz in the offseason and asked GM Ben Cherington to take a serious look at him.

Speaking of Ortiz, it was the Red Sox slugger Orioles manager Buck Showalter was apparently referencing when he suggested Sunday morning that Lackey “looking in his backyard” before throwing stones. Ortiz was listed in a 2003 report of more than 100 MLB players who tested positive for a banned substance.

Cruz was asked if he has noticed a tone of forgiveness from players around baseball after he served his suspension in 2013.

“I mean for players it’€™s kind of hard to know because most of the time they don’€™t talk,” Cruz said. “What I care about is my teammates and what they think about me. I mean, when you go to ballparks and beat other teams they are not going to be happy regardless of what you do or anything. What I care about is what my teammates think about me and what my fans think about me. Like I said before, they aren’€™t going to be happy when I come in and do good. They want me to strikeout every time and when that doesn’€™t happen, they are pissed.

“€œI just play game-by-game. For me the most important thing is winning. I think we accomplished what we could [Saturday night] and that was get a ‘W.’ Also, it feels good go perfect in one game, don’€™t get any outs so it was one of the best games I’€™ve ever had in my life.”

Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Biogenesis, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz
Near no-no before Fenway fans gave Jake Arrieta ‘goosebumps’ 06.30.14 at 11:48 pm ET
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Jake Arrieta hasn’t always had great memories of pitching in Fenway but he’s always loved the fans and the environment. On Monday, he nearly made Fenway Park history.

Before giving up a clean single to right field to Stephen Drew on a misplaced 2-2 fastball, Arrieta was a mere four outs away from becoming just the fourth opposing pitcher to no-hit the Red Sox at Fenway since it opened in 1912 and the first since Detroit’s Jim Bunning in 1958.

“The tension kind of builds there as the fifth and sixth innings kind of approach and then it kind of subsides a little bit,” said Arrieta, who brought a perfect game into the seventh last week against the Reds at Wrigley Field. “The space around me [in the dugout] kind of increases, naturally. But yeah, another special night. It’s special to do it in this ballpark, to do something like this last week in Wrigley and then to do it here, in these two parks is pretty special.”

Arrieta finished with a career-high 120 pitches over 7 2/3 innings, picking up the win in a Cubs’ 2-0 blanking of the Red Sox Monday night.

“Most parks will have it somewhere on the board or on the Jumbotron so you sort of know,” Arrieta said. “During each inning, I might glance I have this many more to work with, and I knew the leash was going to be lengthened a little bit because of the situation. It felt like just any other day really as far as the body goes. I didn’t have to hit so I had a little more in the tank.

“We won and that’s obviously the biggest thing from tonight. We can all kind of enjoy. It was fun, a lot of fun.”

Arrieta was given a rousing standing ovation as he came off the mound immediately after losing his no-hitter in the eighth. There was still a game to be won. But that didn’t keep the fans from appreciating the effort of the right-hander.

“Something like that in Fenway is pretty rare for an opposing team so yeah, I got some goosebumps there and that’s kind of why you play this game, for moments like that. I’m just very thankful to be a part of something like that and to get another win feels good.”

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Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Jake Arrieta
Red Sox pregame notes: Xander Bogaerts on off day: ‘Something I needed and my body needed,’ Clay Buchholz, Will Middlebrooks, Shane Victorino set to begin rehab assignments 06.12.14 at 6:08 pm ET
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Xander Bogaerts. (AP)

Xander Bogaerts plans on using his off day on Thursday to reset mentally and physically. (AP)

While Xander Bogaerts does not know for sure that he has ever played in a span of games as strenuous as the Red Sox‘ current 38 games in 39 day stretch, the shortstop knows that the a string of rain delays, long games and tough travel schedule have put a toll on his body. For that reason exactly, Red Sox manager John Farrell decided to give Bogaerts a day off during Thursday’s series opener vs. the Indians.

Bogaerts, who has gone hitless in his last 16 at-bats, will take Thursday as an opportunity to refuel, both physically and mentally.

“Try to get my body some good rest and maybe depending on the situation, coming in late in the game, but I don’t know,” Bogaerts said. “It’s part of the game or else I’ll just be ready for tomorrow.”

Farrell has noticed some moments of frustration for the rookie shortstop in recent days.

“When things don’t go great, as evident the other night where he grounds into an inning ending double play with the bases loaded, there might have been a little bit of frustration at that moment because of what we’re living a little bit as a team,” Farrell said. “To say that there are certain situations that you can visibly see it or he comes out of his swing or out of his mechanics in some way, no that’s not fair.”

Bogaerts believes that his swing and approach have not been as sharp in the last couple of games as they were prior to the road trip. The 21-year-old hopes that the off day will allow him reset and get back into a groove at the plate.

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Read More: Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz, MLB, Pawtucket Red Sox
‘Frustrated’ Stephen Drew to undergo tests on right oblique strain, Sox eye weekend return if cleared at 5:09 pm ET
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The daily saga of Stephen Drew took another twist Thursday with the news that the shortstop will be undergoing several tests before the weekend to determine the extent of his aggravated right oblique.

After Thursday’s 5-2 win over the Indians, manager John Farrell said there’s a chance Drew could return to action over the weekend against the Indians.

“At this point, there was an ultrasound done. An MRI is still a possibility if the increased baseball activities [Friday] warrant it. The plan is for him not to have it right now,” Farrell said. “He’ll ramp up the activities. If there’s any kind of reproducing of the symptoms, then it would be administered at that point. Hopefully, he gets through [Friday] and then we’re looking for game activity on the weekend.”

Thursday’s ultrasound was administered to determine if Drew did any further damage during a batting practice session before Wednesday’s series finale in Baltimore. Before Thursday’s game, Farrell said Drew, who signed a $10 million pro-rated deal on May 21, was day-to-day with the oblique strain.

“[Wednesday] in the second round of BP he felt the right oblique kind of grab him again,” Farrell said. “So, whether or not the MRI is needed [Friday] — and even if there’€™s any question — we’€™ll get it to get all the information possible.

“He’€™s frustrated by it, but at the same time we can’€™t risk any longer-term situation here.”

Since signing with the Red Sox, Drew has played in just four games, collecting just one hit in 14 at-bats (.071).

Farrell was asked if an MRI Friday could reveal further injury beyond the oblique.

“I don’€™t know where,” Farrell said. “I just think the MRI is going to indicate to what extent there’€™s inflammation. If the MRI is deemed necessary, then the information derived from it will have a better read on the prognosis going forward.”

Read More: Boston Red Sox, MLB, Scott Boras, Stephen Drew
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