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Carl Crawford wants to play through the pain, Bobby V on the first half and other Red Sox notes

07.08.12 at 9:39 pm ET
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Carl Crawford admitted Sunday that most likely he’s going to eventually need “Tommy John” surgery on his ailing left elbow but said he is trying to play through pain to impress the team that is paying him $142 million over seven years.

‘€œThought about it but at this point, if I can play, I think [the Red Sox] want me out on the field,” Crawford said before Sunday’s finale with Yankees. “I’€™m just trying to do everything I can to get back out on the field. Right now, I feel like if I couldn’€™t help the team I wouldn’€™t get out there.

‘€œProbably at some point it’€™s going to blow out on me. It’€™s one of those things that is what it is.’€

As for his slight strain of his groin earlier this week, Crawford said it won’t keep him from playing on Thursday in Pawtucket.

‘€œJust treating it and staying stretched out and still doing stuff to make sure I’€™m ready to go,” Crawford said. “The thing is, I do that every year. It’€™s like spring training for me, so I’€™m starting back running again, and I always get tight in that area. It’€™s just one of those things that it always happens to me. We’€™re just taking care of it. I know how things are around here: Once you say one little thing, it goes way bigger than what it really is. That’€™s it pretty much.”

Crawford’s mood was very upbeat and optimistic about playing in the second half of the season, despite the left elbow.

‘€œI actually feel good, man,” he said. “That’€™s the thing. I’€™m ready to get back on the field. I was making progress in the games I was playing and feeling really good about that. At this point, I’€™m just ready to get back on the field.

“I think helping the team right now is probably best for me. It doesn’€™t really hurt when I throw in action. It’€™s weird. It’€™s like when I’€™m warming up, it’€™s a little sore. But when I’€™m in action making a throw, it doesn’€™t really bother me as much.

‘€œIt doesn’€™t hurt at all when I swing a bat. If there was some pain there, I’€™d probably have to sit down. I feel like I’€™m real close. I feel good, feel like I can help the team out. That’€™s what I’€™m going to try to do when I get back.

‘€œWe’€™ve got some guys coming back: me and [Jacoby Ellsbury, Andrew Bailey]. Hopefully Bard will be back up here at some point. We feel like we can still make a run at it. That new wild card has made it possible for teams to make it late in the season. Hopefully that’€™s the case for us.”

Still, the Red Sox have Crawford on track to make it back to playing sometime in the second half of the season.

“Carl might play Thursday at Pawtucket, and he’s feeling pretty good,” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said.

This week, Crawford suffered another setback in his minor league rehab assignment as he had minor tightness in his groin. Crawford said Sunday he’€™s hoping to play Thursday at Triple-A Pawtucket and is believes is “very close” to rejoining the Red Sox. ‘€œCarl might play Thursday at Pawtucket, and he’€™s feeling pretty good.’€

Valentine was asked to reflect on the first half of the season on Sunday, as the team attempts to deal with injury after injury.

‘€œI would say that it was extremely challenging,” Valentine said. “I don’€™t know how to rate it or anything, but major league baseball is very challenging. Managing a new team is very challenging and we had some situations that added to the mix.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Red Sox, carl crawford, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury

Red Sox at the All-Star Futures Game

07.08.12 at 6:48 pm ET
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KANSAS CITY — The Red Sox have a noteworthy contingent at this year’s All-Star Futures Game, a showcase for top talent that is typically close to making a significant impact at the major league level. Recent Red Sox participants in the Futures Game have included Will Middlebrooks (2011), Jacoby Ellsbury (2007), Clay Buchholz (2007) and Hanley Ramirez (2005).

This year, the Red Sox have three members of the organization taking part in the contest:

— Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who is tearing up the Carolina League. On the year, he’s hitting .286/.364/.478/.842 with 12 homers, and he was just named Player of the Month in June for the High-A Carolina League after hitting .337/.433/.624/1.057 with eight homers. Bogaerts is serving as the designated hitter for the World Team in the contest.

Bogaerts is viewed as the toolsiest Red Sox position prospect since Ramirez. For more on his prospect path, including the fascinating story of his signing, click here.

The 19-year-old said that being named to the Futures Game represented a goal of his entering 2012.

“I worked in my offseason really hard thinking on, if I would have been a part of this one this year,” said the native of Aruba. “I’m really happy I achieved my goal.

“It’€™s a really big accomplishment for me. All the hard work I put into this whole season, all season last year has been showing up for me this year.”

— Right-hander Matt Barnes, who had the best ERA in the minors for most of the year before a recent three-game skid; still, between Single-A Greenville and High-A Salem, the Red Sox’ top pick in the 2011 draft (No. 19 overall) has a 7-2 record and 2.44 ERA along with 101 strikeouts and just 17 walks in 81 innings. Barnes is available out of the bullpen.

— PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler is a coach for the World Team. He’s in his sixth year as a manager in the Red Sox organization, having spent 2007-10 with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs before his promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket for the 2011 season. He also managed a remarkable squad in the Arizona Fall League this past offseason that included Will Middlebrooks, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout.

We’ll have plenty from all three of them a bit later, but for now, an artfully (cough) rendered photo of Beyeler and Bogaerts by the cage during batting practice will have to suffice.

Also, here’s some video of Bogaerts taking batting practice:

Read More: all-star futures game, Arnie Beyeler, matt barnes, xander bogaerts

Sunday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Jon Lester vs. Ivan Nova

07.08.12 at 1:29 pm ET
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In the final game of the four-game series with the Yankees, the Red Sox will look to veteran Jon Lester to settle down a team that seems to be faltering entering the All-Star break.

Lester (5-5) has a 4.33 ERA and a 1.306 WHIP on the season while recording 88 strikeouts in 17 starts. These numbers are worse than they were at this point last season for Lester, who had a 3.43 ERA and 105 strikeouts in his first 17 starts in 2011. However, the lefty had a strong outing Tuesday in Oakland, only allowing one run on four hits while striking out nine through 6 2/3 innings pitched.

Against the Yankees in his career, Lester is 8-3 with a 4.15 ERA in 17 starts. One of the more interesting matchups on Sunday will be the battle between Lester and Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez only has six hits against Lester in his 37 plate appearances, but of those six hits, three are home runs and two are doubles.

Doing battle with Lester is young righty Ivan Nova, who has had a lot of success with the Yankees since arriving in the major leagues in 2010.

Nova (9-3) has a 4.05 ERA and 90 strikeouts this season in 16 starts. His numbers are better than they were last year, as Nova had a 4.26 ERA and 48 strikeouts through his first 16 starts in 2011, despite finishing with an impressive 16-4 record.

While Nova is only 25 and was a rookie last season (he appeared in 10 games with the Yankees the season before), Nova has had his fair share of dealings with the Red Sox lineup. One player he has had a lot of success with is Adrian Gonzalez, who had a career-high 17-game hitting streak entering Saturday night’€™s game. Nova has not allowed Gonzalez to record a hit in any of his nine plate appearances against him.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Ivan Nova, Jon Lester, Red Sox,

Nuggetpalooza’s stat of the day: Getaway Sunday

07.08.12 at 9:49 am ET
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The Red Sox have won each of their last four games on “Getaway Sunday” before the All-Star break, but since 2004, Boston’s .223 team batting average on the Sunday prior to the break is the lowest in the majors:

.223 – Red Sox
.230 – Marlins
.231 – Tigers
.236 – Rays
.247 – Indians

Here are the top five such averages:

.326 – White Sox
.311 – Phillies
.309 – Mets
.302 – Braves
.296 – Padres

Note this: The Rockies have won only one of their last 12 games on Getaway Sunday. … Since 2004, the Dodgers and Phillies are each 7-1 on the Sunday prior to the break and the Cardinals are 7-2 (they played a doubleheader against the Cubs on Getaway Sunday in 2009). … Opponents have not homered against the Mets or Tigers on any of the last four getaway days. … The Reds have not hit a getaway day homer since 2007 and the Giants have hit just one total homer in their last seven getaway games.

Red Sox Minor League Roundup: Blake Swihart’s huge day; Mark Prior returns; Brandon Jacobs putting up a Middlebrooks line

07.08.12 at 8:58 am ET
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A quick look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday…

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 3-2 WIN VS. SYRACUSE (NATIONALS)

(BOX)

Jacoby Ellsbury, in his first game with Triple-A Pawtucket, went 0-for-4 with a strikeout (looking), two groundouts and a foul pop-out. He also played seven innings in center field. He’s now 4-for-23 (.174) with a pair of doubles, a homer, four walks and five strikeouts in seven rehab games.

Mark Prior, activated from the disabled list on Friday, pitched in his first game since June 21. None of the three batters he faced made contact, as he walked two and struck out one. He earned the win for an effort in which nine of the 19 pitches he threw were strikes.

Zach Stewart continued his strong start with the PawSox. Though he isn’t striking out anyone, he’s getting loads of grounders, resulting in fickle run yields. On Saturday, he tossed six shutout innings before stumbling in the seventh, ultimately permitting two runs on seven hits (four singles, three doubles) while walking two. He did not strike out a batter.

Stewart’s first three starts in Pawtucket have been somewhat similar from a statistical standpoint to what Aaron Cook was doing in April. He has just five strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings, but he has yet to give up a homer, he’s walked just two and he now has a 1.96 ERA.

Jose Iglesias went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and an RBI. It was his second multi-hit game in his last three contests.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 4-3 LOSS AT TRENTON (YANKEES)

(BOX)

Jackie Bradley Jr. went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles. In 18 games since his promotion from High-A Salem, he’s hitting .384/.446/.507/.953. He leads all of minor league baseball with 33 doubles, seven of which have come in Double-A. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: blake swihart, brandon jacobs, christian vazquez, dioscar romero

‘Pedro, Pedro, Pedro’ chants humble Pedro Ciriaco after breakout game: ‘I’m here for my glove’

07.08.12 at 12:21 am ET
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The chants were commonplace at Fenway Park throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s as Red Sox fans expressed their love and adoration of Pedro Martinez with constant cheers of “Pedro, Pedro, Pedro” whenever he would appear on the diamond.

Those chants were reprised on Saturday night for another Dominican namesake as Pedro Ciriaco had four hits, drove in four runs, produced the go-ahead three-run double and turned in a pair of stellar plays at shortstop in Boston’s 9-5 win over the Yankees that earned the Red Sox a badly needed split of the day-night doubleheader.

“I don’t think I’m that Pedro,” Ciriaco said with a laugh after his breakout game. “But it was really fun for me. Everybody saying my name, it’s amazing.”

The 26-year-old slick-fielding infielder hails from San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, the hotbed of talent that gave Boston and baseball Pedro Martinez.

“It’s a great feeling,” Ciriaco said. “We got a win tonight. They gave me a second chance and I took advantage of it.”

The Red Sox chipped away with single runs in the third and fifth before finally knocking out starter and loser Phil Hughes (9-7) in the sixth. The Red Sox loaded the bases thanks to one of three hits on the night from Adrian Gonzalez and a key error from Derek Jeter. Ciriaco drilled the first pitch from Hughes past a diving Laynce Nix at third for a three-run double. It was the last pitch Hughes threw on the night.

“I saw the ball pretty good tonight and I just tried to be simple, just try to keep my approach to the middle [of the field],” Ciriaco said.
Ironically, his biggest hit went down the left field line past Nix.

“I said in my mind, in this situation I have to be aggressive, look for my pitch and not try to do too much,” Ciriaco said.

Now the question is, what happens to Ciriaco when Will Middlebrooks, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford all return? It’s a question Ciriaco will leave for another day, adding he’s not worried about that now.

“Not really,” he said. “I’m just trying to work and have fun here and help the team win ballgames. I think I’m here for my glove. When you play defense, defense wins ballgames. I just try to be solid and consistent in my defense.”

Read More: Boston Red Sox, MLB, Pedro Ciriaco, pedro martinez

Closing Time: Pedro Ciriaco, Mauro Gomez stars in Red Sox win

07.07.12 at 10:53 pm ET
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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,
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