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Red Sox finalize deal with Cuban star Castillo

Outfielder completes $72 million deal through 2020 with Boston

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BOSTON -- The Red Sox officially announced the signing of Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year contract, and will unveil their new acquisition at a press conference following Saturday's game against the Mariners.

The 27-year-old Castillo reached agreement on a seven-year, $72.5 million deal with Boston on Friday and the deal became official once he completed his physical.

Castillo will try to join the recent surge of Cuban players who have adapted well to the Major Leagues, a group that includes Red Sox outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, as well as White Sox slugger Jose Abreu, charismatic Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and flame-throwing Reds closer Aroldis Chapman.

The contract Castillo signed includes the remainder of this season, and will expire following the 2020 season.

Red Sox manager John Farrell confirmed before Saturday's game that Castillo is likely to play some games for a Minor League affiliate before coming to the Majors at some point in September, when rosters are expanded.

Before playing in games, Castillo will report to the club's training facility in Fort Myers, Fla., where he can get his legs under him and get acclimated to life in professional baseball.

Castillo hit .319 (403-for-1,265) with 75 doubles, 11 triples, 51 home runs, 99 walks, 256 runs scored, and 76 stolen bases in 360 games over five seasons in Cuba's Major League, Serie Nacional. He played all five seasons for his hometown team, Ciego de Avila, and posted a career .383 on-base percentage, .516 slugging percentage, and .899 OPS while playing mostly center and right field.

After his initial attempt to defect from Cuba was unsuccessful, Castillo was suspended from game action in his homeland.

Given the current construction of the Red Sox's roster, Castillo's best fit would be in center field.

The Red Sox recently acquired corner outfielders Cespedes and Allen Craig in trades.

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Kelly on track for next start; Bogaerts on hold

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BOSTON -- The morning after he felt a slight twinge in his right shoulder on a pitch, right-hander Joe Kelly was cleared to make his next scheduled start, on Wednesday in Toronto.

"Joe came in and felt no ill effects from last night," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "After a battery of tests that he went through after the game last night that didn't reproduce any of the symptoms, it was followed up with him feeling well this morning and he's on target to start in five days."

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts was out of the lineup on Saturday, as the club is still having him go through protocol to make sure he doesn't have a concussion.

Bogaerts was hit on the batting helmet by a Felix Hernandez pitch.

"Xander, any time you get hit in the head like he did last night and removed from the game, he's got to go through a protocol which he's going through today just to see if there's any concussion symptoms," said Farrell. "That's what's taking place this morning."

Brock Holt started at shortstop in place of Bogaerts.

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Castillo probably a few days from game action

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BOSTON -- It might be a few days before Rusney Castillo plays in a game for one of the Red Sox's Minor League affiliates.

"There's still a number of administrative things he's got to go through," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "A work visa, all those type of things. As far as the timeline, that will be determined a little bit later."

Castillo, who agreed to terms on a seven-year, $72.5 million pact with the Red Sox on Friday, spent Saturday morning undergoing a physical and familiarizing himself in his new baseball home.

The Red Sox are hopeful of holding a press conference to talk about the signing of the Cuban outfielder after Saturday's game against the Mariners.

Though Castillo, at 27 years old, is deemed a Major League-ready talent, he hasn't played organized baseball since 2012.

With the Minor League season winding down soon, the Red Sox hope Castillo can be cleared for game action as soon as possible.

"I will say this -- it's our hope and our intent that he does get some at-bats at an affiliate once that day comes," Farrell said. "I don't have the exact timeline on that."

Farrell did get a chance to meet with the outfielder on Saturday morning.

"He's excited to be here," Farrell said. "Glad the process has moved along to this point and excited to get started, when that day comes. Like I said, there's still some things he's got to work through."

Does Castillo remind Farrell of anyone in terms of body type?

"Oh gosh, I mean, he's obviously a very strong looking athlete," said Farrell. "Maybe a little bit shorter version of [Yasiel] Puig. You get a similar proportion to that type of body. What that means performance-wise, we'll see. We're confident in the athleticism and the overall strength."

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Uehara's rocky ninth stings Red Sox in loss

Cespedes' home run not enough as closer allows five-run frame

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Uehara's rocky ninth stings Red Sox in loss play video for Uehara's rocky ninth stings Red Sox in loss

BOSTON -- Nobody saw it coming, because Koji Uehara had never turned in a performance anything like it in his entire career as a reliever.

Uehara blew the save in emphatic fashion on Friday night at Fenway, giving up five hits and five runs over two-thirds of an inning in a 5-3 loss to the Mariners.

Forget about five runs. Uehara had never even given up more than three runs as a reliever in the Majors until this performance. The five hits allowed were another personal worst.

Uehara had a 3-0 lead when he came on for the ninth, and was just one strike away from the save on 10 different pitches.

"Maybe a lack of finish to Koji's split was the difference in this one tonight," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.

Following the game, Uehara did not make himself available to the media.

It was the first loss of the year for Boston when leading after eight innings, falling to 44-1 in that category.

Overall, the Red Sox have lost six in a row, all at home.

"That was pretty tough," said Brock Holt. "If that's not the tale of how this season has gone so far, then I don't know what is. Up three in the ninth, they score five runs and hit one ball hard. Finding holes. Bloop hits. Yeah, it's tough."

For the first time since Uehara joined the Red Sox last season, he is in what could be constituted as a slump, having given up earned runs in three straight outings.

"With Koji, his last three appearances have had two days off following each one," said Farrell. "We recognize that over the course of two years there's been a high number of appearances. His workload has been managed of late, and we'll continue to try to do that."

Yoenis Cespedes had put the Red Sox in strong position to earn a win when he unloaded for a towering three-run homer over the light tower in left field with one out in the sixth against Felix Hernandez.

The game had been scoreless until Cespedes hammered the eighth pitch of the at-bat.

"I threw a changeup that didn't do anything," said Hernandez. "Give credit to that guy. He was looking for it. I threw four in a row so he was looking for it and I just missed my spot."

It stayed 3-0 until the top of the ninth, and Uehara came on to try to close it out.

Logan Morrison started the unlikely rally with a one-out single. But Uehara followed with a strikeout.

Endy Chavez kept the game going with a gritty, 10-pitch walk.

"The key at-bat in the ninth inning was the Chavez walk," said Farrell. "We've got two outs and a man at first base and a 1-2 count, and he battles his way back into the count, works a walk."

Chris Denorfia lined a single to right on a 1-2 pitch to load the bases. Austin Jackson lined a double off the Monster, bringing in a pair to make it 3-2.

Then came the crushing blow, as Dustin Ackley blooped a 0-1 pitch down the line in short left for a two-run, go-ahead single that Holt came agonizingly close to catching, only to have it fall just out of his reach.

"I thought I was pretty close," said Holt. "He hit it kind of far up there. I was hoping I could get to it to end the game, but unfortunately it fell."

Robinson Cano followed with an RBI single that scored Ackley all the way from first, as Daniel Nava seemed to take too much time throwing the ball back in.

"We're playing no doubles in that situation, and Ackley is on the move," said Farrell. "We were playing behind him with the left-handed hitter up in Cano, and he's off with the pitch and he took his time. A good read by [Rich] Donnelly, the third-base coach, to wave him home. We don't make the relay throw in time."

Joe Kelly went five innings for Boston, giving up one hit and three walks while striking out five. He was removed for precautionary reasons after feeling a twinge in his shoulder, but tests revealed no injury.

"I felt good," said Kelly. "Went out there with a solid gameplan, especially against a solid lineup. Tried to stick to the gameplan as much as I can and execute it with [Christian] Vazquez. We had a good idea of what we were doing out there. Ended up pitching up pretty good up until the point I got taken out."

Xander Bogaerts also had to exit early after getting hit by a pitch in the batting helmet, and took concussion tests.

"I got tested, but I don't know the results yet," said Bogaerts. "I feel good right now."

After a deflating loss, the Red Sox knew exactly how they felt.

"It's pretty frustrating," said Holt.

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Red Sox continue to revamp offense with Castillo

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BOSTON -- While the Red Sox are en route to their worst offensive season in decades, general manager Ben Cherington has gotten a strong head start on displaying a more productive unit for 2015 and beyond.

The latest chip for the future is Rusney Castillo, a Cuban outfielder who just needs to complete a few administrative details before officially joining the Red Sox.

At the July 31 trade deadline, Cherington added slugger Yoenis Cespedes from the Oakland Athletics and Allen Craig from the Cardinals.

Craig just returned to the Red Sox on Thursday after a stint on the disabled list.

Heading into action on Friday, the Sox ranked last in the American League with 483 runs scored.

Considering the dearth of productive hitters on the free-agent market this winter, Cherington has served the Red Sox well by getting a head start on the '15 roster.

"The players that were made available this trading season or deadline were unique, so we've been able to target those guys, and Ben's assessment of what the free-agent pool is going to look like is going to be pitching-oriented, and so there's a clear-cut plan with the retooling of this roster," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.

Conceivably, Castillo could emerge as the leadoff hitter for a lineup that would also include Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Cespedes, Craig and Mike Napoli.

"Well it's lengthened out and just focusing on the guys that are in uniform today, we've added right-handed power, we've added a couple of middle of the order bats," said Farrell. "We've, I think, discovered a very versatile and valuable guy in Brock Holt. You could say right now we're leaning maybe a little heavy on the right-handed side. Prior to Opening Day next year, there's a lot of time and I know a lot of thought will be put into how we continue to improve this team."

Considering the presence of Cespedes and Craig, Castillo's fit for Boston would seem to be in center field. It remains to be seen what kind of impact the signing will have on young players Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts. Bradley was sent down to Triple-A earlier this week after struggling mightily at the plate. Betts has been starting in center for the Red Sox of late, but has the defensive versatility and athleticism to play all over the diamond.

"Those are a lot of things that aren't in place right now, so until we get there, Ben's goal is to build the most talented and deep roster possible, and however that comes about, we'll figure it out as we go," said Farrell.

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{"content":["replay" ] }

Red Sox have mixed results with replay vs. Mariners

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BOSTON -- The Red Sox nearly struck first Friday night against Felix Hernandez and the Mariners when Xander Bogaerts ripped an 0-2 inside fastball down the line, but well above the foul pole and Green Monster in left during the second inning.

Third-base umpire Pat Hoberg called the sky-high fly ball foul initially. Boston skipper John Farrell came out to discuss the call and the umpires initiated a Crew Chief review. Article II, Section C.2 of baseball's replay rule regulations states that "except in the case of potential home run calls, the Crew Chief shall not initiate Replay Review of any play or call if the requesting Manager has a Manager Challenge remaining." That's why the Red Sox didn't need to use their challenge, which they would exercise successfully in the top of the fourth.

After a three minute and 12 second review of Bogaerts' fly ball, the call on the field stood. Although it appeared the ball flew directly over the foul pole for a solo home run, umpires could not find conclusive evidence to overturn the call, likely because it was so high above the pole.

"We asked for a replay because just to the naked eye, it looked like it crossed the foul pole," Farrell said. "Even the replays they showed on the scoreboard in the ballpark said the same, but that wasn't the case after it was reviewed."

Hernandez finished striking out the side by getting Bogaerts to swing through a 1-2 changeup two pitches later. And with two outs and a runner on first in the top of the fourth, replay was needed again.

Kendrys Morales hit a line drive to left-center field that Mookie Betts dove for at full extension. Hoberg, from third base, originally ruled that Betts did not make the catch, but instead trapped the ball as he dove head first to make the play. Farrell challenged the play.

Following a one minute and five second review, the call was overturned and it saved Boston a run. On that play, Betts got up and began jogging in while showing the umpires his glove. Moments later, Betts realized Hobert signaled that the ball wasn't dead and the center fielder sailed his throw over catcher Christian Vazquez. Dustin Ackely scored on the play, but the run was erased after the review and the game remained scoreless.

The Red Sox are now 15-12 (55 percent) on challenges this season. Entering Friday, the league average of successful challenges was a shade over 47 percent.

{"content":["replay" ] }
{"content":["replay" ] }

Red Sox avoid being no-hit, but skid hits five

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BOSTON -- As Matt Shoemaker's masterpiece for the Angels gained steam on Thursday night, the chatter in the Boston dugout became more frequent.

"Absolutely," said Will Middlebrooks, who explained the type of things that are said in that situation. "'There's a no-hitter.' 'Nobody's got any hits'. Yeah, there's plenty of talk. Yeah, we're trying to ruin it."

And it was Middlebrooks who spoke with his bat, lacing a double into the corner in left with two outs in the seventh, snapping the no-no, but the Red Sox took a 2-0 loss that pushed their latest skid to five games and completed a four-game sweep.

The double by Middlebrooks was the only hit the Red Sox had on the night, marking the second time they've been one-hit this season.

"He was obviously making good pitches with all three pitches," said Middlebrooks. "He had a good split, his slider was working and he was mixing a curveball in, too. Everything was just black away, black in, at the knees or below. He did a good job."

Thanks to Middlebrooks, the Red Sox avoided being no-hit at Fenway Park for the first time since 1958, when the Tigers' Jim Bunning pulled off the feat. As a team the Sox haven't been no-hit since April 22, 1993, when Chris Bosio did the honors at Seattle's Kingdome.

"I didn't even really know or even think about it until the fifth or sixth," said Shoemaker. "It's like one of those things you don't even know or think about it until it's like, 'OK, who's coming up?' And you realize where you're at in the order, and go, 'Man, all right. Let's just make pitches.' Take that out of my head and just go pitch."

A day after the Angels were dealt the blow of losing solid starter Garrett Richards for the season, Shoemaker came up large, stifling the Boston bats to the tune of one hit over 7 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out nine.

Rubby De La Rosa took a tough-luck loss, scattering eight hits and two runs over 6 2/3 innings. He walked three and matched a season high with eight strikeouts.

"After the second inning, [when] he did a very good job pitching out of a bases-loaded jam, I thought he settled in," said manager John Farrell. "He was really strong early on, with better velocity than we've seen. He settled in and was very good. Very good changeup, good slider at times."

The Red Sox rested David Ortiz, and Mike Napoli missed his second game in a row with back spasms. Their third thumper, left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, left the game in the top of the third due to a personal matter.

In fact, the only reason Middlebrooks, who has been battling issues with his right hamstring, was in the game is because he replaced Cespedes.

"A little tight," said Middlebrooks. "I wasn't 100 percent coming into the game, but I was good enough to go. It was fine, just a little tight."

The Angels rallied in the first. After a leadoff single by Kole Calhoun, Josh Hamilton clubbed an RBI double off the Green Monster to make it a 1-0 game. Howie Kendrick laced a single into left, and third-base coach Gary DiSarcina sent Hamilton, but Cespedes made a perfect throw home to cut down the run.

De La Rosa wove his way out of a jam in the second and settled in for a fine performance.

But the Red Sox couldn't touch Shoemaker, who hit Brock Holt to start the first. The next baserunner was Middlebrooks after his double in the seventh, which left Shoemaker seven outs shy of the no-no.

"He was spotting up his fastball, working it in and out, and he was also throwing his splitter -- at least to lefties," said Daniel Nava. "Everything was on point, and I think that's the goal for every pitcher, is to have more than one pitch to hit your spots, with good arm movement and deception."

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'Ted Williams, My Father' bares daughter's soul

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Ted Williams was one of the best hitters who ever lived. He was also a famously did-it-my-way sort known for, among other things, saying whatever was on his mind and to heck with the consequences.

In "Ted Williams, My Father," Claudia Williams demonstrates that she is very much her father's daughter. She has written a memoir that is tender and tough, poignant and heartbreaking, sweet and raw. And so honest that at times it feels like peeping into a stranger's window.

Claudia was a product of her father's second marriage, born a decade after he retired. She was largely raised by her mother. One theme that runs through these pages is her overwhelming need to be accepted by a father who doted on her brother John Henry and, if not a misogynist, held old-fashioned attitudes toward women. "You wouldn't believe how many times during my young years I wished I had been born a boy," she observes early on.

There's a revealing story about an invitational cross-country race when she was in sixth grade. She had a chance to be the first girl to win it. Making the outcome even more crucial, her father was there. She was third going into the home stretch but, summoning every bit of determination she had, she ended up winning. It was a wonderful moment that she wanted to bask in with her dad. But the other parents came up and started asking him for autographs and she was gradually pushed aside.

Claudia is a talented writer. Example: "Although my father spanked me only once, he tested me on numerous occasions. His words could penetrate even the toughest armor, and many times his words stung for days -- sometimes months. A few are still with me, like embedded splinters."

She clearly adores her dad, who she refers to occasionally as Ted Williams. She is blunt in her assessment of his treatment of women, but that only makes her work harder to gain his approval. He could be short-tempered, but that's because he was a perfectionist who became frustrated when he couldn't control whatever situation was at hand the way he mastered hitting and fly-fishing.

It's no secret that he was a world-class cusser. Her explanation: "Everyone needs an outlet, a coping strategy. For Dad it came in the form of verbal expression laced with expletives few have heard. Ted Williams needed to swear. Without swearing he never would have been able to express himself with the emphasis that he demanded. For Ted Williams to have repressed his emotions would have been dangerous to his health and his psyche. It was my father's heartfelt form of prayer."

Only those who have been born to a famous parent can fully understand what a double-edged sword it can be. Sure, there are benefits. But she also remembers getting an A on a science project only to have a classmate tell her the only reason was because of her father.

There are, apparently, many embedded splinters, and Williams doesn't sugarcoat her feelings toward those she believes wronged her family. Several of the women in her father's life, those who she says falsely presented themselves as friends, those who criticized John Henry for attempting to protect their father's brand from unscrupulous memorabilia dealers and, of course, the media.

In the end, she achieved the relationship with her father she'd worked so hard for. It happened late in his life. She, John Henry and Ted Williams began spending as much time together as possible. They didn't want it to end. Which explains the decision to be cryogenically frozen with the hope of being reunited in the distant future after science has conquered disease and perfected cloning.

She knew it would be controversial. She discusses the process with almost clinical detachment. She admits that the odds are long. In the end the takeaway is to wonder, as she does, why it bothers outsiders so much. Many, in this telling, reached the same conclusion after John Henry died of leukemia two years later.

Claudia Williams, the Hall of Famer's only surviving child, describes herself as a private person who was pushed to a point where she felt the need to counter what she regards as malicious falsehoods. She did more than that. She bared her soul in a remarkable, if sometimes uncomfortable, read.

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Cespedes exits game due to personal matter

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BOSTON -- Yoenis Cespedes left Thursday's game against the Angels in the top of the third inning due to a family matter, the Red Sox announced.

"He was removed from the game due to a family medical emergency," said manager John Farrell. "A personal matter that he's dealing with. We're hopeful he'll be back in the lineup tomorrow. That's probably the most I can tell you right now."

Cespedes made his presence felt before exiting, making a strong throw to the plate to nail Josh Hamilton on a single to left by Howie Kendrick in the first inning.

In his only at-bat, in the bottom of the first, he struck out swinging.

The Red Sox acquired Cespedes on July 31 in a blockbuster trade with the Athletics for Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes.

In his first 18 games with Boston, he is hitting .229, with three homers and 13 RBIs.

Will Middlebrooks replaced Cespedes in the batting order and went to third base. Brock Holt moved from third to right, and Daniel Nava moved from right to left.

Middlebrooks wound up with Boston's only hit in a 2-0 loss.

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{"content":["injury" ] }

Earlier than expected, Craig back in action

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BOSTON -- On Thursday, one day earlier than expected, Allen Craig returned to the Boston lineup. The right-handed hitter, who played just one game after being acquired from St. Louis before going on the disabled list, batted fifth and served as the designated hitter, going 0-for-3 in a 2-0 loss.

The original plan was for Craig to play one more rehab game at Triple-A Pawtucket, but with Will Middlebrooks and Mike Napoli banged up the past couple of days and David Ortiz getting a day of rest, the decision was made to speed up his return.

The Red Sox will use the final 36 games of the season to get a handle on where Craig is not only offensively but from a physical standpoint.

Craig is just coming off a sprain of his left foot, the same foot that gave him so many problems late last season.

"The injury he had last year was something that was given rest and recovery rather than a repair," said manager John Farrell. "Probably as much to do with [the Cardinals'] stretch into the postseason. I guess it's debatable whether a repair was needed or recommended. They chose the conservative path. ... What he was feeling wasn't a result of the actual previous injury. But does the previous injury still give some instability? That's again, debatable."

The Red Sox will re-evaluate Craig once the season ends to determine the best course of action for the offseason.

"I think it depends on how he responds to the consistent play during the rest of this schedule," said Farrell.

Craig had been a solid offensive performer in recent years before a considerable dip with the Cardinals this season prior to the trade.

The Red Sox look forward to getting a closer look.

"I think any time you acquire a new player, you want to see them first-hand and see them on the field, and now we have the opportunity to have that play out," said Farrell.

Craig played in two rehab games for Triple-A Pawtucket, including one on Wednesday night, when he went 1-for-3 with a two-run single and scored a run. He went 0-for-2 with a walk in his rehab game on Monday night.

Including his time with the Cardinals, Craig has a .237/.291/.348 slash line, with seven home runs and 44 RBIs in 98 games this season.

To make room for Craig on the roster, the Red Sox optioned Alex Hassan to Triple-A.

{"content":["injury" ] }
{"event":["prospect" ] }

Rodriguez throws seven scoreless innings for Portland

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Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, the Red Sox No. 9 prospect, threw seven scoreless innings Thursday and Double-A Portland defeated the Senators in Harrisburg, 1-0.

Rodriguez struck out five batters, walked two and scattered five hits. He induced nine groundball outs and threw 91 pitches to match his longest outing of the season.

While Rodriguez was mowing down Double-A Harrisburg, the Sea Dogs had little success against right-hander Palo Espino, who threw eight shutout innings. They didn't break the scoreless deadlock until Mike Miller led off the ninth inning with a home run off reliever Derek Self.

Rodriguez was out of the game by then and didn't factor in the decision. But Thursday was his latest strong start since the Red Sox acquired him from the Orioles at the Trade Deadline in exchange for Andrew Miller. In his first four starts with his new organization, Rodriguez has struck out 28 batters and allowed two runs on 18 hits and six walks in 24 1/3 innings.

Despite the trade, Rodriguez has spent the whole season in the Eastern League. He has made 20 starts between Bowie and Portland, going 5-7 with a 3.87 ERA. He has struck out 97 batters and walked 35 in 107 innings.

{"event":["prospect" ] }
{"event":["prospect" ] }

Ortiz's numbers belie his age, Boston's standing

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BOSTON -- With a torrid David Ortiz out of the lineup on Thursday, there's a chance to reflect on what the slugger has done of late, and all season.

For starters, consider that Ortiz reached base four times in each of the last three games against the Angels, turning in an aggregate line of 8-for-10, with four walks and two homers.

No Red Sox player had reached base four times in three straight games since Johnny Damon from June 3-5, 2002.

To Ortiz, however, the streak didn't really feel like anything out of the ordinary.

"I thought that was just what you guys watched in the World Series. Didn't I do the same thing then?" said Ortiz.

Ortiz was referring to his utter destruction of the Cardinals last fall, when he hit .688 with a .760 on-base percentage and 1.948 OPS.

"There's no magic for this, remember that," said Ortiz, who rested on Thursday with the Red Sox in the middle of a stretch of 17 games without a day off.

What people might not know about Ortiz is the type of work he is doing behind the scenes to be able to hit at such a high level at the age of 38.

"Every day before BP, when you watch him work out, [you see the] reason he's able to maintain some level of durability," said manager John Farrell. "He works his tail off."

The fact that Ortiz led the Majors with 93 RBIs entering Thursday was fairly astounding when you consider the Red Sox are last in the American League in runs scored.

Ortiz could become just the second Major Leaguer to lead the league in RBIs for a team that finished last in runs scored. The first is Wally Berger, who had 130 in 1935 for the Boston Braves.

"He's having a landmark year," said Farrell.

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Call overturned after Farrell challenges

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BOSTON --- The Red Sox won a challenge in the third inning of Thursday night's game against the Angels when catcher Christian Vazquez picked off second baseman Howie Kendrick at first base.

With two outs, Kendrick singled up the middle. The next batter, David Freese, fouled off the first pitch from Rubby De La Rosa before the second pitch was high and turned into an unintentional pitchout of sorts. As he elevated to catch the ball, Vazquez made a snap throw to first, where Kelly Johnson, a righty, caught it. Johnson swiped across his body to tag Kendrick, who was trying to get back to the bag on the far side. Kendrick was ruled safe.

Red Sox manager John Farrell came out to talk to first-base umpire Mike Muchlinski and challenge the play. After a review, umpires determined that the tag got Kendrick on the elbow just before his hand reached the bag and overturned the call.

Boston is 14-12 on challenges this season.

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Papi collects four hits, 30th homer in loss to Angels

Buchholz allows five-run fifth inning as Ortiz enjoys big night at plate

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BOSTON -- From last season to this one, just about everything has changed for the Red Sox. The one constant is David Ortiz, who just keeps belting the baseball.

In an 8-3 loss to the Angels, Ortiz was the one clear bright spot, going 4-for-4 and belting his 30th home run.

At the age of 38, the slugger produced his eighth season of 30 or more homers, tying the late and legendary Ted Williams for the team record.

"It's sort of like it was last season in the postseason," said right-hander Clay Buchholz. "He wants to be the guy at the plate in the big situation and I think everyone on the club wants the same thing. That's vintage David."

Then there is Buchholz, who has been anything but vintage this season.

Coming off two straight solid starts, Buchholz gave the impression early on in Wednesday night's game that he was at last coming around and perhaps primed to go on the type of run that had eluded him all season.

But in 2014, nothing ever seems to go as planned for Buchholz.

It all fell apart for the righty and for the Red Sox in a five-run top of the fifth.

This, after Buchholz had come out so strong early, retiring nine of the first 10 batters he faced.

"The difference between everything going on this year and last year is a lot of balls finding holes or are home runs or doubles, they were hit at somebody last year and I got a lot of double plays that way," said Buchholz. "Sometimes that's the way it goes. You don't ever want it to be a full season but that's the way it is sometimes, and I've got to keep grinding."

Buchholz's record dipped to 5-8 and his ERA swelled to 5.94. This, on a night he went six innings while allowing seven hits and six runs. He walked two and struck out six.

"Through the first four I thought he was sharp," said Farrell. "He had good action to his stuff. In the fifth, when he got ahead of hitters, he didn't have the same finishing pitch that he had shown in the previous four. They were able to put some people on."

In five of the six innings, he looked as good as he has all season. The fifth was a completely different story.

The Angels loaded the bases with nobody out on two singles and a walk. Buchholz then walked Kole Calhoun to force in a run.

"Just missed location with a couple of pitches," said Buchholz. "They were able to put a big inning together. It's been a long time since I've walked a run in, that didn't help. Just a couple of balls that got hit and found some holes, and they scored five."

After the bases-loaded walk, there was another pivotal play. Mike Trout blooped one into right, and Daniel Nava seemed to have a play on it. For some reason, Nava stopped, and the ball fell in front of him. Nava alertly threw to second for the force, but a run scored on the play.

"We had a miscommunication on a ball in short right field that contributes to that," said Farrell. "They found some holes, bunched some hits and walks for the five runs."

After an RBI single by Albert Pujols, a sacrifice fly from Josh Hamilton and an RBI single by Howie Kendrick, the Red Sox were suddenly in a 6-3 hole.

"This game can humble you when you start off rough and your confidence isn't quite as high. This game is hard. It's not that easy. Clay is starting to get his confidence back," said Red Sox catcher David Ross. "He had that one rough inning, but for me his ball is moving a lot more than it had been. I don't know how many strikeouts he had tonight, but he was starting to move the ball around and getting some guys off his soft stuff. He threw a lot of good fastballs today."

A pall was cast over the evening when Angels starter Garrett Richards sustained a non-contact left knee injury in the bottom of the second, having to be carted off the field following a lengthy delay. As he went to cover first on a grounder by Brock Holt, Richards stumbled as his leg completely gave out.

"It was huge for us to come back and put some runs on the board and win the game," said Trout. "We are all behind him and thinking about him. I hope everything is all right and hope he comes back strong."

Early on, the Boston bats chipped away and got Buchholz a modest lead. After singles by Dustin Pedroia and Ortiz put runners at the corners in the first, Yoenis Cespedes made it 1-0 with a sacrifice fly.

Ross, fresh off being activated from the disabled list, added another run with an RBI single in the second.

The Angels had to ask for a long night out of their bullpen. Ortiz's shot in the third made it 3-0.

Little did the Red Sox know it at the time, but that was the end of their good fortune in this one.

The Fenway faithful didn't even get the chance to see Ortiz go for his first career five-hit game. In the ninth inning, Alex Hassan pinch-hit for the slugger, with Farrell saying that Ortiz was removed because of "general soreness."

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Papi matches Williams for 30-homer seasons

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BOSTON -- Another night, another milestone for Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. When Ortiz pummeled a solo shot to the back wall of the visitors' bullpen in right field in the bottom of the third inning against the Angels, it marked home run No. 30 on the season.

That gave Ortiz eight 30-homer seasons in his career, matching Ted Williams for the most in Red Sox history.

It was part of a monster night in which Ortiz went 4-for-4, but he missed a chance at his first five-hit game when he missed his final at-bat because of general soreness.

"It's calf, but not [just] any one specific area," said Red Sox manager John Farrell after his team's 8-3 loss to the Angels. "Just general soreness and we didn't want to take any chances with him. He's so good, so important to our offense. Another 30-homer season or him here right now with a lot of season left to go and we want to be careful with him."

With 36 games left in the season, Ortiz matched his homer total from 2013. The slugger has been on a power surge of late. Ortiz belted his 400th and 401st homers as a member of the Red Sox on Saturday, an achievement reached before only by Williams and Carl Yastrzemski.

He also went deep against Jered Weaver on Tuesday.

Ortiz has eight hits in his last 10 at-bats to raise his average from .250 to .263.

"It's sort of like it was last season in the postseason," said right-hander Clay Buchholz. "He wants to be the guy at the plate in the big situation and I think everyone on the club wants the same thing. That's vintage David."

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Farrell hopes Schilling's diagnosis is wake-up call

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Farrell hopes Schilling's diagnosis is wake-up call

BOSTON -- Hours after former Red Sox great Curt Schilling admitted publicly that his mouth cancer was all but certainly caused by the use of tobacco, manager John Farrell expressed hope that it would serve as a sobering reality to the many players who still use the substance.

"On the heels of the unfortunate passing of Tony Gwynn and now what Curt's been going through, you would think this would be more of a current beacon for guys to take note and know that there's a price to be paid if you're one of the unfortunate ones that is stricken by cancer," said Farrell.

It has been tough for Farrell to see Schilling go through his battle with cancer. Farrell was Schilling's final pitching coach in the Major Leagues for a championship Red Sox team in 2007.

"I think any time you've got a personal relationship with someone and they've been stricken with cancer, it hits closer to home," Farrell said. "You have that relationship with someone and you see what they're going through. You care for them and you're impacted because you see suffering. Hopefully, as I mentioned earlier, through Curt's journey and the unfortunate passing of Tony Gwynn, these are two All-Star, Hall of Fame-caliber players that should bring added awareness to players in the game today that they've suffered because of the use of smokeless tobacco."

Farrell had a chance to sit and talk to Schilling on May 28, the day the 2004 Red Sox had a reunion at Fenway.

"He came in and had a chance to sit down. We had been in communication through texts for a while and just trying to stay in touch with his progress and his recovery and the challenges that he faced," said Farrell. "And as we've all known and come to know Curt through an incredible competitive fire, I'm sure that served him well and his family well as he's dealt with this. Thankfully you hear that he's in remission so he's been fortunate enough to be around some very good medical care."

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Ross returns from DL as Red Sox make host of moves

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BOSTON -- The Red Sox got a comforting presence back in their lineup on Wednesday as catcher David Ross was activated from the disabled list.

Ross had been dealing with right plantar fasciitis, a condition that ruptured against the Yankees the night of Aug. 1.

"Well, we had mapped it out all along as David was going through his rehab and getting back to us, he would get right back in the mix when he was activated," said Farrell. "The number of games to be played per week will be dependent upon how he comes out of tonight. And likely he'll get Saturday as well, just to see how the foot responds. He's gone through all the necessary steps to get back in the game tonight."

While the Red Sox got Ross back, they were without third baseman Will Middlebrooks and first baseman Mike Napoli.

Middlebrooks strained his right hamstring, forcing him out of action in the middle of Tuesday's game. He is day to day, as the injury is not believed to be serious.

Meanwhile, Napoli was out due to back spasms. Brock Holt played third base and Kelly Johnson got the start at first.

Due to the shortage of position players, right-hander Steven Wright was sent back to Triple-A Pawtucket, and outfielder Alex Hassan was recalled from Pawtucket. Catcher Dan Butler was also optioned to Triple-A to make room for Ross.

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Schilling: Cancer caused by smokeless tobacco

Former pitcher reveals he's battled oral cancer after 30 years of chewing

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There's another ballplayer lined up in the fight against smokeless tobacco.

Curt Schilling said Wednesday that he believes his use of smokeless tobacco led to oral cancer that required radiation and chemotherapy. Schilling revealed the type of cancer he had while speaking on WEEI Radio during the Boston station's annual fund-raising broadcast for the Jimmy Fund.

"I do believe without a doubt, unquestionably, that chewing is what gave me cancer," he said.

During the broadcast, Schilling issued a warning to smokeless tobacco users.

"It's like being given a death sentence without committing a crime," Schilling said.

The cause of ballplayers against smokeless tobacco deepened in June, when Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn died after battling cancer of the salivary gland. After Gwynn's passing, Commissioner Bud Selig and Tony Clark, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, both expressed a desire to end the use of tobacco in baseball.

"It will be a subject they'll discuss during the next collective bargaining," Selig said during the All-Star break. "I understand that individuals have a right to make their own decisions. I hope we're successful, because the Tony Gwynn story was a heartbreaking, awful story.

"I feel very strongly about this, just as I did 10, 15 years ago. The one thing I personally assume as Commissioner is that we're responsible for the health of our players. I believe that. Some may think that's naive, but I don't think so."

Schilling, who pitched in the Majors for 20 years, said that he used smokeless tobacco for 30 years and that he had been unable to kick the habit despite pain associated with it.

"It's a dangerously addictive habit that I wish I had never done," Schilling said.

Schilling had a heart attack in 2011 and required surgery to place a stent in one of his arteries, and he told WEEI on Wednesday that he has lost 75 pounds during his bout with cancer.

"I am in remission," Schilling said. "[However], I don't have any salivary glands. I can't taste anything and I can't smell anything."

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Sox rally to pull even, but fall to Halos on late hit

Uehara allows RBI double in ninth; Holt robbed of three-run homer

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BOSTON --- After manufacturing a few runs to get back in the game Tuesday night, the Red Sox just couldn't create another one to win it. That's been the story this season for Boston, after all.

Instead, it was Angels catcher Chris Iannetta who delivered a ninth-inning RBI double to give the Halos a 4-3 win at Fenway Park. Los Angeles has taken the first two games of the four-game set.

Red Sox starter Allen Webster allowed three runs -- all in the third -- over six innings. Alex Wilson pitched two perfect frames before giving way to Koji Uehara in the ninth. After Uehara got two quick outs, Brennan Boesch hit a ground-rule double to center. Iannetta followed with a line drive to left that narrowly evaded the leaping Daniel Nava and hit the Green Monster, putting the Angels ahead. Uehara said he left his splitter up on both hits.

"It was the movement," Uehara said. "I didn't have that drop."

Huston Street allowed Yoenis Cespedes' pinch-hit single to open the bottom of the ninth and intentionally walked David Ortiz with two outs, but struck out Mike Napoli with a slider to end it.

Boston went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.

The Red Sox tied it in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Brock Holt, scoring Xander Bogaerts. Boston's shortstop walked and moved to third on Christian Vazquez's line-drive single off the Monster. Boston trimmed the Angels' lead to one in the fifth when Napoli's groundout to short scored Dustin Pedroia, who singled and reached third after a walk to Ortiz and a wild pitch.

In his fifth outing, Webster scattered seven hits, two walks and three strikeouts. He turned in his third consecutive quality start; the first coming against the Angels on Aug. 8. In Anaheim, he allowed two runs on four hits with two walks over 6 2/3 innings. Fastball command can be his biggest ally or enemy, and it's been friendlier to him over the last few outings.

"I've just got to keep telling myself to trust my stuff," Webster said. "Let them put the ball in play."

In his five starts, Webster has allowed 12 of his 15 runs in the third. The third got him again Tuesday, but he bounced back to retire nine of the next 12 batters, including six of his final seven.

"When he's right like for the vast majority of tonight, put the ball on the ground, ground balls," manager John Farrell said. "It's good to see him continue to back up outings in a positive way and build some momentum and I'm sure some confidence in his own right."

Angels starter Jered Weaver allowed three runs on seven hits and four walks over 5 1/3 innings. He exited in the sixth with runners on first and third before Holt's sac fly off Jason Grilli tied the game.

The Angels got on the board in the third when Kole Calhoun's RBI single scored Iannetta, who had doubled. Mike Trout followed with a triple to plate Calhoun and an infield single by Albert Pujols -- following a review -- brought home Trout, giving Los Angeles a 3-1 lead.

Ortiz hit an opposite-field homer over the Green Monster in the first to open the scoring.

In the second, Holt smoked a fly ball to right field that was headed for the Angels' bullpen, but Calhoun timed his jump perfectly and robbed Holt of a three-run homer.

"Obviously, that was a difference-maker in the game right there," Weaver said. "Great play by him to stay with that. The little guy got over that little wall. It was nice. Great play. We needed it, obviously."

Mookie Betts reached over the short wall in the center-field triangle to deny David Freese a two-run homer in the top half of that inning. But in the fifth, Freese hit a sinking liner to center that Betts misread and missed on a dive. Freese tripled on the play.

The Red Sox optioned Jackie Bradley Jr. to Triple-A Pawtucket Monday because of his offensive struggles and recalled Betts to play center more regularly. Betts has played second base for most of his professional career, and said he's still working on balancing being aggressive and smart.

"That's the hard part. That's the part that I'm still learning," Betts said. "I have no true answer for that."

Boesch's drive in the ninth went just over Betts' head before bouncing over that same short wall in the triangle. Bradley is one of the game's elite outfielders and ranks third among all players in defensive wins above replacement, according to Fangraphs. It's possible Bradley would've tracked down Boesch's drive, but regardless, the Angels, who passed Oakland in the AL West standings Monday, emerged victorious.

"It makes this time of year that much better when you have something to play for, and you can go out there and just keep battling," Weaver said. "This team is relentless. We always find a way to win games."

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Middlebrooks day to day with tight right hamstring

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BOSTON --- Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks left Tuesday night's 4-3 loss to the Angels in the fourth inning with what the club called right hamstring tightness.

Middlebrooks beat out an infield single to start the fourth, but looked uncomfortable at first base during Xander Bogaerts' at-bat. Manager John Farrell and head trainer Rick Jameyson went out to talk to Middlebrooks, who then exited. Kelly Johnson pinch-ran and stayed in to play third base.

"Don't know the extent of it. Certainly, he's day to day at this point," said Farrell, who added that Middlebrooks will undergo tests Wednesday. "He strained it on that infield base hit and when he was leading off coming back to second base in that next at-bat, it looked like it grabbed him again. Got him out of there [for] precautionary [reasons]."

Middlebrooks has dealt with a number of injuries in 2014 and past seasons. He's played in just 35 games this season because of a calf strain he suffered in April and a broken right index finger in May that sidelined him for more than two months.

After hitting 15 home runs with a .835 OPS over 75 games in 2012, the 25-year-old Middlebrooks has been hampered by inconsistency at the plate and a slew of injuries the last two seasons.

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Cespedes could move behind Napoli in order

Sox won't ask former A's slugger to change approach, be more selective

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BOSTON -- Though Yoenis Cespedes has batted cleanup since he joined the Red Sox, manager John Farrell said the club is evaluating where the slugger fits best within the framework of a new team.

Cespedes has batted fourth for most of his career, and one of the reasons Farrell has kept him there initially is to ease his comfort.

But there could come a time -- perhaps soon -- when Farrell puts the disciplined tandem of David Ortiz and Mike Napoli back to back, and perhaps has the free-swinging Cespedes hitting behind them in the five-hole.

Farrell hinted at a possible lineup tweak when he was asked if it was beneficial to have Cespedes in between Ortiz and Napoli.

"That's a debatable point because you can say if David is going to be pitched selectively, then you want someone who's going to be equal to that selectivity behind him," said Farrell. "He's been accustomed to hitting in the four-hole. We tried to transition him in here with as much comfort as possible. That doesn't mean going forward, there won't be an alignment that flip-flops he and Nap. I'm not saying that's going to be tomorrow. We'll take a look at every combination that's available to us."

Though the Red Sox favor a disciplined approach as an organization, they don't want Cespedes to change what has made him successful.

"His aggressive approach at the plate? With it will come some quick outs, but at the same time the ability to impact the baseball is a result of the aggressiveness as well," said Farrell. "He hasn't become more aggressive since coming over here. This is the player that we were well aware of and we pursued heavily. We were fully accepting of the style of player he is."

After playing in 15 straight games, Cespedes was not in the starting lineup Tuesday.

Cespedes is 3-for-23 on the homestand, so Farrell felt that maybe some rest would do the slugger some good.

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Cherington not tipping hand on Cuban prospect

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Cherington not tipping hand on Cuban prospect

BOSTON -- Could Yoenis Cespedes play with a countryman in the not too distant future?

As long as Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo remains a free agent, there's at least a possibility he could share a clubhouse with Cespedes in Boston.

While general manager Ben Cherington confirmed that the Red Sox have interest in the 27-year-old Castillo, he isn't tipping his hand on the chances of acquiring him.

"There's obviously been attention on this," said Cherington. "He's a player that we've seen and have talked to, but we're just one of several teams that have done that. There's nothing more I can say than that."

Castillo is known for having a combination of power and speed.

"I'm not going to get into our evaluation in public," said Cherington. "Again, we've seen him, we've talked to him and we're one of several teams that have done that. There's not really anything else I can say."

The Red Sox were heavily involved in the sweepstakes for Jose Abreu, who wound up signing a six-year, $66-million deal with the White Sox and has been an impact player in his rookie year.

Boston also scouted Cespedes right before he went to the Athletics, but the ability of Cuban players to transition quickly wasn't as well established then.

"I think he's surprised everyone in the industry probably with just how quickly he made the transition to the big leagues when he signed initially," Cherington said of Cespedes. "And we've had more examples of high-profile Cuban players come out since then, so maybe we're more informed now on what that transition is like."

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Red Sox would like to keep Bogaerts at short

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BOSTON -- Though Xander Bogaerts has had some obvious growing pains at shortstop during his rookie season, the Red Sox still think he can stay there in the coming years.

In other words, don't look for Bogaerts to again move to third base, as he did late last season and again for a stretch this season when Stephen Drew re-signed.

"Certainly we want to commit to a position," said general manager Ben Cherington. "I think because he went from shortstop to third base, I think there were more questions externally as to what his position was than we were asking internally. We never felt like he couldn't play shortstop.

"At the time [Drew was re-signed], we were trying to improve the team. Whether we did or not is a question you guys can ask yourselves. We felt going into the year that [Bogaerts] could play shortstop, we still feel that way, so now we're just getting an opportunity to see him play more there the rest of the year. I think there's certainly a feeling within the organization that he can play shortstop. I know that's what he wants to do, and he believes he can."

Cherington also backed what manager John Farrell said Monday about the team committing to keeping Bogaerts at the Major League level for the rest of the season, rather than optioning him, as was the case with Jackie Bradley Jr.

"You know, every player's different. I can just tell you, in our minds, this is where he needs to be," said Cherington. "We want him to be our shortstop for the rest of this season and allow him to work through what he's working through. Every player has different circumstances. We just feel this is where Xander needs to be right now."

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In return to Triple-A, Ranaudo notches 14th win

Red Sox's No. 5 prospect tosses five scoreless innings for Pawtucket

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Making his first start since being optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket last week, right-hander Anthony Ranaudo, the Red Sox's No. 5 prospect, threw five scoreless innings Tuesday as Triple-A Pawtucket defeated Lehigh Valley, 7-0.

Ranaudo, ranked No. 78 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, had been summoned to make a spot start last Wednesday against the Reds. Though he won that game, his second in as many starts in the big leagues this season, he was optioned the next day.

Back in Triple-A, where he has spent most of the season, Ranaudo struck out four, walked one and scattered seven hits Tuesday against Lehigh Valley. He threw 94 pitches and won his 14th game with Pawtucket this season, tied for the second-most in the Minor Leagues.

Third baseman Garin Cecchini, the Red Sox's No. 4 prospect and No. 58 on the Top 100, led Pawtucket's offense with two hits, two RBIs and a run. He is hitting .253/.325/.359 in 102 games this season.

In 23 starts with Pawtucket, Ranaudo is 14-4 with a 2.46 ERA. He has struck out 108 and walked 51 in 131 2/3 innings. His ranks second in the International League in ERA and third in WHIP (1.18).

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Cherington not 'unwilling' to deal prospects

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BOSTON -- After trading several highly regarded prospects in the December 2010 trade that brought Adrian Gonzalez to Boston, the Red Sox have seemed hesitant to go down that road again.

But with their farm system looking deeper than it has in some time, particularly from a pitching standpoint, general manager Ben Cherington could be in position to move some highly rated Minor Leaguers this winter.

"I don't think we've ever been unwilling to trade prospects," said Cherington. "It's entirely contextual. For the right player, yeah, of course we'd consider trading prospects. We just have to see."

After trading Jon Lester and John Lackey, the Red Sox will clearly be in need of impact pitching this winter.

"Clearly there are some areas we'd like to add to this offseason and we have to figure out what we feel makes the most sense, whether that's trying to add through free agency or trades, weigh the cost and the expected return," Cherington said. "There are definitely times when a trade makes more sense than free agency, and there's times where it's vice versa. I think we've just got to get in the offseason and see what those opportunities are."

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Tazawa's errors seal Workman's hard-luck loss

Starter allows two runs in seven innings; reliever falters in eighth

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BOSTON -- Junichi Tazawa just tried to do too many things at once.

The righty reliever wound up making two errors on one play. The double gaffe was the breaking point for the Red Sox in a 4-2 loss to the Angels.

With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the eighth inning, Tazawa got the soft contact he was looking for from Howie Kendrick.

The ball was hit to the third-base side of the mound, and Tazawa went to get it, thinking he would have a play at the plate.

Instead, he bobbled it and had to retrieve the ball even farther toward third base. In his haste to still get the out at the plate, he made a poor throw that hit Chris Iannetta in the leg as he scored. The ball scooted to the first-base side of the plate, allowing a second run to score.

"I was in between -- it was an in-between play," said Tazawa. "I was thinking of going to the backhand or just going to the front and I was caught in between. If I had knocked it down straight, I probably had a better shot. It rolled to the third-base side so that made it a little difficult but I should have made that play."

In one quick instant, Boston's one-run deficit became three runs.

The mishap became more painful in the bottom of the ninth, when the Red Sox staged a rally that produced one run on an RBI groundout by Yoenis Cespedes.

In defeat, there was a positive development for the Red Sox. Right-hander Brandon Workman turned in his best performance in weeks, giving up six hits and two runs over seven innings.

Workman walked two and struck out five.

"I felt a lot better," said Workman, who had given up four runs or more in his previous five starts. "I was throwing the ball where I wanted to, for the most part. I was throwing a lot of strikes, getting ahead of hitters, so I felt good tonight."

The Red Sox skipped Workman last time through the rotation due to fatigue, and he definitely looked crisper in this one.

"Obviously the added rest helped," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "I thought his stuff ticked up in terms of action, crispness, velocity, he was down in the strike zone with more consistency. With the exception of a two-out walk in the third and a couple of base hits to follow, he more than did his job tonight."

With two outs in the third, Workman walked Kole Calhoun. Mike Trout followed with an RBI double. Albert Pujols delivered with an RBI single down the third-base line, and Boston was in a 2-0 hole.

Mookie Betts, who was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to replace Jackie Bradley Jr. (optioned back to Pawtucket) in center field, went 1-for-3 with a walk and scored a run.

It was Betts who got a two-out rally started for the Red Sox in the bottom of the fourth against C.J. Wilson with a walk. Christian Vazquez ripped a single to right. Brock Holt looped an RBI single into left to cut the deficit to 2-1.

In a scenario that has been all too familiar for the Red Sox this season, they created opportunities, only to let them pass by.

Boston was 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position while leaving 12 on base.

"Once again, I thought we had a very good approach offensively," said Farrell. "A number of opportunities, and once again, getting a key base hit was critical tonight."

Wilson weaved in and out of traffic, allowing five hits and five walks, but just one run over 5 1/3 innings.

"It was one of those games where I had a plan of staying on the corners and not giving them anything over the middle, regardless of the situation, and I feel like that paid off," said Wilson.

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Bradley sent to Pawtucket; Betts comes back

Hitting woes lead to move that brings up Boston's No. 1-ranked prospect for third time

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Bradley sent to Pawtucket; Betts comes back play video for Bradley sent to Pawtucket; Betts comes back

BOSTON -- The Red Sox, after waiting patiently for Jackie Bradley Jr. to start hitting, optioned the rookie center fielder back to Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday.

Mookie Betts, ranked Boston's No. 1 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, was recalled from Pawtucket to take Bradley's spot on the roster.

This is the third stint for Betts with the Red Sox this season, but this time he will have a defined role, taking over as the primary center fielder.

"I'm just happy to get the opportunity again," said Betts. "I wasn't really thinking about it too much. I figured it was probably going to be until September. It did kind of surprise me. I was just thinking about getting better in the outfield and getting a few more at-bats."

Betts batted eighth against Angels lefty C.J. Wilson on Monday night at Fenway Park and went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run.

"The move to send Jackie back to Pawtucket has been talked about for a little while now," said manager John Farrell. "I think it's important to note that this isn't reactionary. Had it been reactionary, you might suggest it was going to be done awhile ago. We felt like some of the adjustments that were being worked on had some evidence inside of given games.

"We're sending him out to maintain some of those adjustments, and that is to try to shorten down that swing a little more and have a more distinct two-strike approach."

The Red Sox expect Bradley to return to the club sometime after rosters are expanded Sept. 1.

Bradley was originally supposed to start the season at Triple-A, but when Shane Victorino strained his right hamstring in the last game of Spring Training, Bradley made the team for Opening Day.

The left-handed hitter had spent the entire season on the Major League roster until being informed after Sunday's game that he was headed back to Pawtucket.

Interestingly, the decision to send down Bradley was made on the same day he had two hits against the Astros, marking his first multihit game since July 25.

"Jackie understood it and he understands the need to increase the consistency and the strikeout rate," said Farrell. "While we anticipated an increase coming to the big leagues, it's exceeded his expectations, ours as well, and [he] understands the needs that are in front of him."

Though he played spectacular defense, Bradley struggled to sustain any kind of consistency at the plate. He was batting .216 with 19 doubles, two triples, one home run, 30 RBIs, 45 runs and 31 walks.

The Red Sox felt Bradley was coming around during a 51-at-bat stretch from July 5-25, when he hit .353 with a .411 on-base percentage.

"Well, the work ethic has been consistent," said Farrell. "I think there's been times where he's felt better about himself and you would expect that. We point back to the days leading up to the All-Star break and many of us thought he was swinging the bat well. There was consistent line-drive contact. That's the type of hitter he's been through his pro career leading up to his time here. That's what we're trying to get back to."

After that isolated hot streak, Bradley spiraled downward at a rapid pace, hitting .115 with no extra-base hits and just two walks over his last 52 at-bats.

The reason Bradley stuck around for so long despite the prolonged struggles was made obvious every time he made a great play with his glove or arm. He leads all Major League outfielders with 13 assists and eight double plays. Over the past two seasons, Bradley has appeared in 149 games and hit .210.

"The defense is an impact defender and a premium center fielder," said Farrell. "We don't view him as an extra outfielder. We need to regain some of the consistency he's shown through the Minor League level and the performance history that's there and we're doing what we can to get back to that."

Betts, 21, has appeared in 13 games this season and hit .244 (10-for-41) with two doubles, one homer, two RBIs and six runs while splitting time between right and center field. He hit .346 in 99 Minor League games in Double-A and Triple-A this season.

"He'll primarily play center field," Farrell said. "And the one thing that he continually shows as he's gone back down has been very good bat speed. The play in center field continues to improve defensively and we'll get a chance to see it on a regular basis here."

{"event":["prospect" ] }
{"content":["injury" ] }

Craig starts rehab stint, could return Friday

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BOSTON -- The way things are scheduled right now, Allen Craig could be activated by the Red Sox on Friday for the start of a three-game series against the Mariners.

Craig, who got hurt in his first game after being traded to the Red Sox, started his Minor League rehab assignment Monday for Triple-A Pawtucket.

Slotted in as the designated hitter Monday, Craig went 0-for-2 with a walk against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

The right-handed hitter is coming off a sprained left foot. The Red Sox acquired Craig along with right-hander Joe Kelly from the Cardinals for John Lackey on July 31.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said Craig will probably get Tuesday off and then play the outfield Wednesday and Thursday.

{"content":["injury" ] }

Bogaerts will keep working, learning in Majors

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BOSTON -- Monday, the Red Sox optioned center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to Triple-A Pawtucket because of his offensive struggles. Sending down Bradley, 24, had been discussed in the last few weeks, manager John Farrell said. Mookie Betts was recalled in his place and will see time in center.

But because of the position he plays and the stretches of consistency he has shown, Xander Bogaerts likely won't suffer the same fate as Bradley in the coming weeks, Farrell said. The skipper said he's been pleased with Bogaerts' improvement going to his glove side in the field and his success at the plate earlier in the year, and said an organization has to be accepting of growing pains with all young players.

"We've seen stretches of consistency that maybe some others haven't had," Farrell said. "There was a stretch of games in which he showed it here. Part of that is dealing with the expectation here, his personality and how it handles that. This is part of growing up as a 21-year-old in the big leagues."

Those pains were evident Sunday when Bogaerts neglected to step on second before throwing to first after fielding an easy double-play ball with one out. That extended the inning and Jose Altuve eventually hit a grand slam to put Houston up 6-0.

"A lot of lessons learned here," Bogaerts said Sunday. "I think it's time to stop messing up so much, you know."

Monday afternoon, Bogaerts worked on the exact play he botched Sunday with infield instructor Brian Butterfield. The shortstop got right back to work.

"He's a conscientious kid. He probably feels as horrible as anyone with some of the happenings lately," Farrell said. "The anticipation of the play prior to them happening is what we're centering our conversation around. Anticipate the play, make the decision accordingly and let your natural ability take over."

At the start of the 2013 season, Bogaerts was the sixth-best prospect in all of baseball, according to MLB.com. He's as heralded a position player as the Red Sox have brought through their system in the last decade, so he's a big part of 2015 and beyond. Signed as an international free agent out of Aruba in 2009, Bogaerts is under team control until 2019.

Bogaerts began the season at shortstop and moved to third when Stephen Drew rejoined the club, but has since returned to short because the Red Sox traded Drew to the Yankees on July 31.

Entering Monday, the infielder was batting .228/.296/.342 in his first full Major League season. He'd played 113 of the team's 123 games at either shortstop or third base. In early June, though, he was hitting over .300 with an on-base percentage near .400.

Bogaerts played just 18 games during the 2013 regular season, but looked poised in the playoffs. He went 8-for-27 with nine runs, four extra-base hits and six walks. He hit .296/.412/.481 over 12 games, including all six in the World Series against St. Louis.

But his struggles this year have been a part of Boston's as a whole.

"I'm going out there every day and trying the best I can," Bogaerts said. "It's not like I'm not putting in the effort or work, or anything like that."

{}
{"content":["replay" ] }

Angels lose challenge, while Red Sox win theirs

Ruling on Napoli's slide stands; review overturns safe call on Pujols

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BOSTON -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia burned his challenge early in Monday's 4-2 victory, when replay officials ruled a call would stand that Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli beat right fielder Kole Calhoun's throw while tagging up from second base in the second inning.

Calhoun took a couple of steps back, gave himself some momentum and fired a strong, one-hop throw to third after catching Xander Bogaerts' fly ball. The tag from Angels third baseman David Freese came just after Napoli's foot hit the base, but Scioscia believed Freese kept the tag on as Napoli's leg came off the bag.

"We're going to get a little better direction from the league because Mike Napoli was out at third base," Scioscia said after the game. "The tag was on him, and in between his leg and his knee getting there, there's a gap where you can see no part of his body is on the base and the tag is on him. We lost a challenge on a play that we were pretty sure that we had, so we're going to get some direction from the league on what they saw."

The Red Sox used their challenge while trailing, 4-1, in the eighth inning, and manager John Farrell didn't need much time to decide. With one out, Albert Pujols on third and Boston's infield in, Erick Aybar hit a ground ball right at Dustin Pedroia. The second baseman threw home and catcher Christian Vazquez applied the tag on a sliding Pujols, seemingly in time. But Pujols was called safe by home-plate umpire Mike Muchlinski.

Farrell emerged from the dugout and approached the umpires. He skipped any discussion and immediately asked for a review. Following a 55-second delay, the call was overturned and Pujols was out at home. The Halos turned a one-run lead into a three-run advantage earlier in the eighth when Red Sox reliever Junichi Tazawa misplayed a Howie Kendrick ground ball and then threw it away from Vazquez, allowing a pair of runs to score.

The Angels are now 13-for-24 in getting replays overturned. Boston is 13-for-25.

{"content":["replay" ] }
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