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Red Sox to re-evalute Koji Uehara Sunday 04.12.14 at 1:59 pm ET
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Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara

NEW YORK — John Farrell said prior to his team’s game Saturday that the Red Sox‘ plan to see how Koji Uehara comes out of a throwing program Sunday before making any further decisions on the closer.

Uehara reported stiffness in his throwing shoulder prior to Friday night’s game. It’s an issue he experienced during the 2012 season while with the Rangers, having it linger for more than two months after a setback while on the 15-day disabled list.

“Anytime you’ve got a pitcher unavailable, there’s immediate concern,” Farrell said. “We’re also getting to know — this is the first time we’ve had to deal with him being unavailable. We’ve got to respect how he reacts to the discomfort that’s there, the tightness that’s there. We also know that when he was in Texas, there was a setback during the time that he was on the DL, so to say this is a direct comparison to two years ago, it’s probably a little bit too early, but we’ll take every precaution to get him back fully when he’s able to return.”

Farrell noted that the plan continues to be having Edward Mujica fill in as the Red Sox’ closer until Uehara is cleared. Mujica threw a perfect ninth inning in picking up his first save as a member of the Sox, Friday night.

“One of the main reasons we signed [Mujica] in the offseason is history last year showed us the need for multiple guys that could close games out in the event of a situation that arose [Friday] night,” said Farrell, who said the set-up situation leading up to the ninth will still be somewhat dependent on match-ups. “A guy that saved 30-plus games. He walks to the mound in the ninth inning very comfortable. We have got complete confidence in him.”

 

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Koji Uehara sits out Red Sox win after experiencing shoulder stiffness 04.11.14 at 11:16 pm ET
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Koji Uehara

Koji Uehara

NEW YORK —  The injuries keep coming for the Red Sox.

Just moments before what turned out to be a 4-2 Red Sox win over the Yankees Friday night, it was determined that Koji Uehara wouldn’€™t be available for duty after experiencing right shoulder stiffness during pregame.

“We felt it was best to stay away from him,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “Just precautionary. This will be a day to day type of things and we’€™ll check on him tomorrow and his availability.”

Farrell noted Uehara€“ hadn’€™t been dealing with any sort of stiffness prior to Friday.

“Based on what Koji’s expressed as far as the stiffness, this doesn’t seem to be a one-pitch injury type thing,” Farrell said. “He just felt some stiffness and we wanted to stay away from him.”

The reliever did mention after the game that he had similar tightness two years ago while pitching with Texas, an issue that he said took two months to overcome after it resurfaced.

“It’s not something I feel all the time,” he said. “It’s not pain. It’s tightness when I throw. I feel it.”

Replacing Uehara in the closers role Friday night was Edward Mujica, who set the Yankees down in order in the ninth inning to pick up his first save as a member of the Red Sox. Mujica had served as the Cardinals’€™ closer for much of the 2013 season, having made the National League All-Star team after picking up 26 first-half saves.

“He’s got a lot of success in that closer’s role,” Farrell said. “He pitches with a lot of confidence in that ninth inning.”

“When I signed with this team they told me ‘We’re going to have a lot of opportunities in the bullpen,’”Mujica said. ‘€œThe job I did last year they said, ‘Mujica can do the job if Koji goes down.’ But everybody is ready to go to do whatever role.”

There were no plans at this time for Uehara to return to Boston for a further examination.

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Closing Time: Jonny Gomes, Grady Sizemore makes sure Jon Lester finally gets support as Red Sox win at 10:08 pm ET
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NEW YORK — Grady Sizemore and Jonny Gomes were going to make sure Jon Lester was finally going to get some runs to work with. And once they did, the Red Sox lefty took advantage.

Gomes and Sizemore both homered in the Sox’ pivotal four-run sixth inning against Yankees starter CC Sabathia, handing the visitors enough offense to claim a 4-2 win over New York, at Yankee Stadium.

(Lester had entered the game having gotten just one run of support in his first two starts.)

“I felt all right,” Lester said. “I had some grinds in there throughout the game. That’s the Yankees. They’re going to grind away at you and make you throw a bunch of pitches. Overall, none of that really matters. We won the game, at the end, that’s all that matters.”

While Gomes’ solo homer and Sizemore’s three-run job highlighted the offense for the Red Sox, perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the night for John Farrell‘s team was the continued excellence of Lester. The starter went 6 2/3 innings, allowing six hits, two runs, and two walks while striking out six. Lester finished his outing throwing 113 pitches.

Sabathia continued his struggles against the Red Sox, having come in the night totaling a 4-6 mark and 6.48 ERA against the Sox since the beginning of 2011. (The Yankees‘ record in those 12 starts was 4-8.) The lefty went seven innings, allowing four runs on six hits, striking out nine and walking two.

“CC is such a competitor and bulldog out there,” Gomes said. “Once he gets the lead you have to do what you can to jump him. So coming out in the sixth he’s going to be pounding the strike zone so I want to try and be aggressive in the count. We did a great job. You really have to congratulate Jon Lester, keeping us off our feet on defense. We couldn’t get much going early on and he kept running out there with those quick inning. He pitched his heart out tonight and I’m glad we were able to give him some runs.”

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

WHAT WENT RIGHT

- Gomes’ homer — clearing the left field fence — was his first of the season. The outfielder finished with two hits, marking his first multi-hit game of the season.

- Sizemore also came away with a pair of hits, including the blast over the right field fence with David Ortiz and Mike Napoli having gotten aboard via singles. The Sox left fielder also is now 4-for-10 against left-handers this season.

- Junichi Tazawa came on and ended the Yankees‘ threat in the seventh inning, getting Derek Jeter to fly out to right on the reliever’s second pitch of the night. Tazawa came on for Lester with runners on first and second with the Sox leading by a pair. The righty finished his night allowing just one hit over 1 1/3 innings.

- Edward Mujica came on for the ninth to pick up his first save as a member of the Red Sox.

WHAT WENT WRONG 

- Dustin Pedroia went hitless in back-to-back games for the first time this season, going 0-for-4 to lower his batting average to .240. Pedroia still hasn’t walked this season.

- Lester could have escaped his outing having surrendered just one run (an Alfonso Soriano homer) if home plate umpire Brian Hays had given the lefty a two-strike cutter against Brian Roberts in the seventh. But Roberts would ultimately walk (to Lester’s dismay), leading to a Kelly Johnson RBI single.

- Koji Uehara was sidelined after experiencing shoulder stiffness. (See details by clicking here.)

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David Ross on Brian McCann: ‘I knew he wanted to come (to Boston), a lot’ at 8:47 pm ET
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NEW YORK — David Ross had hope.

For a portion of the offseason, the Red Sox catcher believed his longtime friend and teammate, Brian McCann, might actually end up in Boston.

But then, on a November get-away weekend with McCann and former Braves pitcher Eric O’€™Flaherty (whom the Red Sox also had interest in), the free agent catcher broke the news to his buddy.

“We went on a guys’€™ trip and he had told me the Yankees had made a pretty good offer early on and he was probably going to be a Yankee,” Ross said. “I didn’€™t say anything because that’€™s a lot of money and I don’€™t want to be messing up anybody’€™s thing.

“Early on I did (think McCann would come to Boston). I knew he wanted to come here, a lot. I had just told him what it was like here and that interested him. But when it comes to that much money they were talking about, I kind of stayed out of it because he’€™s got to make the best decision for him and his family. But I definitely was telling him about everything I liked about being here, and how well he would fit in here. But the Red Sox weren’€™t even close to what he got, so it really was a no-brainer.”

The left-handed hitting McCann ‘€“ who signed a five-year, $85 million deal (with a $15 team option) ‘€“ is batting just .167 with a .356 OPS in his first nine games with the Yankees.

Still, the expectation is that acquring the 10-year veteran (he of the .819 career OPS) will ultimately be a big win for the Yankees.

“It’€™s weird competing against him. It’€™s really weird,” Ross said. “It’€™s funny to me. There was a foul ball over near our dugout about 20 rows deep and he ran over and I was yelling, ‘€˜You’€™ve got room!’€™ He just started laughing. You turn yourself into competitors. I want to now kick his tail every time I play him.

“I think they knew how close we were. I know there was some dialogue and they were interested in him. There were other players they called me about, including some catchers. They knew he would fit in well here. But they were in a tough position here where they had some really good catchers coming. I don’€™t know if the Yankees felt the same way about their farm system.”

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Shane Victorino: Michael Pineda’s alleged use of pine tar ‘was too obvious” at 7:43 pm ET
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NEW YORK —  Shane Victorino seemed to speak for the majority of players in the Red Sox‘€ clubhouse when asked about the controversy surrounding the foreign substance spotted on Michael Pineda‘s right hand Thursday night.

‘€œI don’€t sit here and go ‘€˜˜he’s cheating.’€ Do whatever you’€ve got to do get a grip on that ball so it doesn’€t hit me in the head,” Victorino said. “There are nights when you can’€t feel a grip. Last night was a little overboard. But we couldn’€t hit him. That’€s my point, it’€s going to be a bigger story because the camera caught it. As I said, you can’€t take anything away from Pineda’€s performance but people are going to assume that he did what he did because of that ‘€no. He’€s going to come out clean next outing and be just as good, he can do that.

‘€œWhat are we going to do now? No, it’€s too late. It’€s not like we can take it back. Let the league handle it and whatever decision they decide to make, let them make and it is what it is.’€

Victorino emphasized that while the glob of what appeared to be pine tar was perhaps too prevalent for his liking, it also wasn’€t the reason for Pineda’€s effectiveness.

‘€œIf you need it for grip purpose, as a hitter, do what you’ve got to do on that mound to have a better grip. Everybody does it,’€ the outfielder said. ‘€œSo it’€s not like, as I said, last night was a little obvious, a little overboard. Was that why he did what he did on the mound? Hell, no. Pineda was good.

‘€œI do it all the time from the outfield. When I throw it in I bounce it. Why? Because I want my pitcher to have a scuff on the ball. So when I throw it in from the outfield, I bounce it. There’€s all kinds of ways to do it. Throwing between innings, catcher throws it down, it short-hops, all right, that ball’s scuffed. There’€s so many ways ‘€¦ Throw the ball every time in the dirt, if you want to go that badly. ‘€¦What happened last night was because it got so blatant. It was too obvious.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell also re-emphasized prior to Friday night’€s game that he might have drawn attention to the substance, but by the time he had come to realize it’€s presence Pineda had removed it from the palm of his pitching hand.

In other news, Farrell noted the both Victorino (hamstring) and Will Middlebrooks (calf) would be re-evaluated after the Red Sox’ series in Chicago against the White Sox, with Victorino progressing a bit ahead of the third baseman. At that point the outfielder could be ready for a minor league rehab outing.

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Red Sox players talk around controversy surrounding Michael Pineda’s pitching hand 04.10.14 at 11:32 pm ET
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The NESN broadcast showed a substance on the pitching hand of Yankees' pitcher Michael Pineda.

The NESN broadcast showed a substance on the pitching hand of Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda.

NEW YORK — The Red Sox may have lost 4-1 to the Yankees Thursday night — continuing their early-season offensive struggles — but that’s not what dominated the clubhouse questioning following the game.

On most everybody’s mind postgame were thoughts regarding the substance (thought to be pine tar) on the pitching hand of Yankees starter Michael Pineda.

Pineda explained after his six-inning, one-run outing that the substance was dirt, claiming he doesn’t use pine tar. But images of the pitching hand through the first four innings makes the pitcher’s explanation hard to believe. (“€œWas he pitching or hitting?” asked one Red Sox player after seeing a screen shot.)

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he didn’t notice anything on his pitcher’s hand, commenting after his team’s win, “I really don’t have anything to say on the subject.”

Crew chief Brian O’€™Nora told a pool reporter that the issue was never brought to the umpires’ attention, saying, “I can’€™t comment on it because we’€™re on the field, and the Red Sox didn’t bring it to our attention, so there’€™s nothing we can do about it. If they bring it to our attention then you’ve got to do something, but they didn’t bring it to our attention.”

According to Red Sox manager John Farrell, the reason he never alerted the umpires was because by the time the coaching staff was made aware of the issue, the substance had left the base of Pineda’s right hand.

“I became aware of it in the fourth inning through the video that some had seen. And then when he came back out for the fifth inning, it looked, based on what was told to me where it was located, it looked like the palm of his right hand was clean,” Farrell said. “That’s the extent of it.”€

Read the rest of this entry »

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Closing Time: Michael Pineda spins a (controversial) beauty in beating Red Sox at 10:03 pm ET
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The NESN broadcast showed a substance on the pitching hand of Yankees' pitcher Michael Pineda.

The NESN broadcast showed a substance on the pitching hand of Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda.

NEW YORK — Michael Pineda pitched very, very well Thursday night. How he did it, however, was a major topic of conversation throughout what turned into a 4-1 Yankees win over the Red Sox.

Pineda finished his six-inning outing allowing just one run on four hits, striking out seven and walking two. But while the righty was getting the Red Sox to chase slider after slider, talk heated up about what appeared to be a significant amount of pine tar on his the base of his pitching hand.

(To read more on the Pineda controversy, click here.)

Clay Buchholz — who came under similar suspicion a year ago when it was pointed out by Toronto broadcasters that he appeared to be using a foreign substance — pitched better than his first start of the season, but it still wasn’t good enough.

Buchholz gave up four runs (two earned) over six innings, striking out six and not walking a batter. The righty, who threw 94 pitches, surrendered seven hits.

Here is what went wrong (and right) for the Red Sox.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Jonathan Herrera, who had been solid defensively at third base, mishandled an easy chance off the bat of Jacoby Ellsbury with nobody out in the fourth inning. The miscue opened the door for the Yankees‘€™ first run, with Brian McCann snapping an 0-for-14 stretch with an RBI single down the right field line, scoring Ellsbury.

– The Yanks made it 2-0 in the fourth when the Red Sox had to settle for a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Alfonso Soriano, letting Carlos Beltran score from third.

– The Red Sox weren’€™t able to manage a hit off of Pineda until the fifth, when Xander Bogaerts placed a one-out single into left field.

– Buchholz allowed Dean Anna‘€™s first major league homer in the fifth, laying in a 1-1 fastball the second baseman pulled into the right field seats for a 3-0 Yankees lead.

 WHAT WENT RIGHT

Daniel Nava made one of the best defensive plays of the young season, executing a full-on dive of a Yangervis Solarte fly ball leading off the Yankees‘€™ half of the third inning. Nava had to sprint in on the shallow pop-up, proceeding to leave his feet before hauling in first out in the home half of the frame.

– Nava went a long way toward snapping out of his slump, launching a solo home run to right field leading off the seventh inning to cut the Yanks’€™ lead to 4-1. One batter later, Bogaerts singled to drive Pineda from the game. For the Red Sox shortstop, it was his third multi-hit game of the season.

Craig Breslow appeared in his first big league game of the season, throwing a flawless frame.

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