David Ortiz has been here before.

David Ortiz has been here before.

In May of 2009, the Red Sox arrived in Seattle for a three-game series with Ortiz in tow, but he didn’t appear in a game. Instead, manager Terry Francona gave his struggling slugger the entire series off to work on his swing and try to fix what had been the worst start of his career.

Ortiz had just gone 0 for 7 in a 12-inning loss to the Angels to drop his average to .208. Even with the time off, it would get worse before it got better. Ortiz ended May hitting .185 before catching fire in June. He blasted 27 homers over the final four months to salvage an otherwise lost season.

Six years later, Ortiz is similarly struggling and manager John Farrell has delved into the playbook of Terry Francona by giving him time off during the team’s current series with the Rangers to sort out a slump that has Ortiz hitting .216.

“Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t,” Ortiz said on Thursday night. “For me, it worked once. I’ll try it again now and go from there. I’ve just been thinking too much and overdoing things. Sometimes that works and sometimes that doesn’t. I know this ballclub needs me, and now we have a long season ahead. I’m just going to try to pull the best out of this.”

For Ortiz, that might mean altering the formula that has made him successful.

“A guy like myself, I always have to be on top of my game because every night I see the best coming out of everyone,” he said. “So the minute I walk away from my game, this is exactly what happens. The pitcher be like, ‘just keep that monster down there sleeping. Don’t wake him up. Bury him.’ So in my case, I’ve got to figure out how to execute better. There’s always a Plan B. There is always a Plan B that you’ve got to put in play. Once the Plan B stops working, that means you don’t have it anymore, so that’s another step you’ve got to take. I’m just going to put in play the Plan B.”

And what might that be?

“Come back and rake,” he said.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase
Steven Wright

Steven Wright

Trying to build on a solid win Thursday night, the Red Sox send knuckleballer Steven Wright out to face Yovani Gallardo in Game 2 of Boston’s series with the Rangers on Friday night.

Wright (2-1, 3.68 ERA) last took the mound Saturday opposite the Angels, recording his first major league win as a starter with 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball. The righty surrendered just four hits and walked one while striking out a pair.

“For me, it’s just another day,” Wright said after the 8-3 victory. “If you try and put too much pressure on yourself you’re just going to disappoint and you’re going to try and over do things, over work. For me, I am going to try and go in there and throw quality knuckleballs in the strike zone. They are going to put it in play, it’s a contact pitch. Today we were fortunate to get balls right at some guys, guys made some good plays. I went as deep as I could.”

The win came during Wright’s second stint as a member of the rotation. While he has been in that role, he has given up four earned runs, five total, on nine hits over 11 1/3 innings. That’s good for an ERA of 3.18 and an opponent slash line of .209/.244/.249.

Wright has faced every team in the AL West except the Rangers, posting a 3-1 record in eight games vs. that division. He has allowed 16 earned runs in 34 2/3 innings against AL West teams for an ERA of 4.15.

Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo

Gallardo has made three starts against Boston with a 5.52 ERA and a 1-2 record over 14 2/3 frames. He has given up 12 runs to the Red Sox, nine of which were earned, on 26 hits. Of those hits, 12 have been for extra bases. Gallardo has a 1.909 WHIP when he pitches vs. the Sox and he received a loss at Fenway Park on May 19 in a four-run, five-inning effort. Overall, Boston slashes .366/.384/.662 when Gallardo is on the hill.

On the season, the right-hander is 4-6 with a 4.13 ERA. His most recent start came Sunday when he snatched a win over the AL East-leading Yankees. Gallardo allowed two earned runs in the first inning, but that was all he conceded for his six frames, giving his team a chance to come back and win, 5-2.

“I was able to use my curveball on first pitch to get ahead of hitters or behind in the count,” Gallardo said. “When I did leave my fastball over the plate, the hitters’ timing was off just a little bit.”

Over his last three starts, Gallardo has relinquished more than two earned runs just once, and prior to that he strung together four consecutive starts in which he gave up three earned runs. Through 10 appearances this season, Gallardo has logged time in 56 2/3 innings, striking out 40 and walking 16 while registering a WHIP of 1.32.

Red Sox vs. Gallardo (RHP)

Pablo Sandoval (25 plate appearances): .208 AVG/.240 OBP/.333 SLG, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Hanley Ramirez (11): .300/.364/.400, 1 double, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (9): .444/.444/.889, 1 double, 1 home run, 1 RBI

David Ortiz (8): .571/.625/1.000, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 1 walk

Mike Napoli (6): .333/.333/.833, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 3 strikeouts

Daniel Nava (6): .167/.167/.333, 1 double

Xander Bogaerts (5): .400/.400/.600, 1 double

Brock Holt (4): .500/.500/.500, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Mookie Betts (3): .333/.333/.333

Blake Swihart has a strikeout in two plate appearances against Gallardo.

Rangers vs. Wright (RHP)

Carlos Corporan (2 plate appearances): .000/.000/.000

No other Rangers batters have faced Wright.

Blog Author: 
Judy Cohen

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday:

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (24-24): Scheduled off day. Next action Friday vs. Louisville (Reds)

— In a reverse of a roster move on May 25, Boston swapped relief pitchers again as Heath Hembree was sent back to Pawtucket while Robbie Ross Jr. was recalled. In 14 games with Boston over two stints, Ross has a 5.14 ERA with a 9 K/6 BB ratio in 14 innings pitched. Ross had just one appearance in his recent stay with Pawtucket, a scoreless inning with two strikeouts and two walks. Hembree pitched just one inning as well during his three days away from the PawSox, a scoreless frame against the Twins in Minnesota on Monday.

Justin Haley

Justin Haley

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (21-27): L, 2-0, at Binghamton (Mets)

— The tough luck for 6-foot-5 right-handed starter Justin Haley continues. Haley, 23, pitched his fourth straight game in which he allowed just two earned runs. However, he’€™s lost three of those four games to drop his record to 1-6. Haley’€™s line on Thursday: 5 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO. The first five innings were scoreless, before a two-run Binghamton double in the sixth inning ended Haley’€™s day. Over his last four starts (and since coming off the disabled list May 11) Haley’€™s ERA is 3.32. Last year in 17 combined starts between High-A Salem and Portland, Haley combined to go 10-6 with a 2.35 ERA.

— Lefty reliever Robby Scott continued his fine year with two scoreless innings in relief to lower his ERA to 2.75. Scott, 25, has thrown 7 1/3 shutout innings in his last four outings, and has been particularly tough on left handers, with southpaw bats hitting just .143 against him in Double-A. Scott has been up the ladder to Pawtucket three times already this season (3 ER/10 IP), and combined between the two levels has 28 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings of work.

— With an opposite-field double in the first inning, Portland third baseman Jantzen Witte pulled into an Eastern League tie for the most two-baggers, while Witte also recorded his 11th double in the month of May. A 2-for-4 day for Witte brought his average up to .329, good for fourth best in the league. The 25-year-old Texan now has an on-base percentage of .399, seventh best among his league peers. In the field it was Witte’€™s ninth start at third base, as he’€™s played most of the year (34 games) at first base.

Kevin Heller

Kevin Heller

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (25-22): W, 7-2, at Frederick (Orioles)

— Salem jumped on Frederick with a three-run first inning, highlighted by Kevin Heller’€™s two-run home run, then tacked on two more in the second frame on its way to winning a fifth straight game. Heller, playing right field and batting cleanup, was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored, raising his Salem average to .345. It was Heller’€™s second homer in as many days. The 25-year-old Amherst College grad has reached base in 16 straight in High-A since being demoted from Portland, where in 13 games he hit just .132.

— The early lead was plenty enough for Salem starter Ty Buttrey as the 6-foot-6 righty faced the minimum with just one hit allowed through his first five innings. Buttrey surrendered two runs in the sixth but earned the victory to improve to 4-0. Since his promotion from Low-A on May 1, Buttrey has won four of his five outings and surrendered just eight earned runs in 30 innings (2.40 ERA), with a .243 opponent batting average and no home runs allowed.

— Deiner Lopez had a three-hit night in his first appearance in the leadoff spot for Salem. Lopez, a 20-year-old switch-hitting Venezuelan, cracked two doubles and scored two runs. Lopez is off to a 6-for-14 (.463) start in High-A since being promoted from Greenville on May 19. With Salem he has started three games in left field, with most of his work as a second baseman during his time in Greenville. Last year Lopez made just two errors in 142 attempts (98.6 percent) playing second. Wendell Rijo has been anchoring second base for Salem so far this season.

Rafael Devers

Rafael Devers

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (28-19): W, 5-4, at Lexington (Royals)

— Rafael Devers, at ESPN the Red Sox’ No. 2 prospect and MLB’s No. 14 prospect, had three more hits to raise his average to .342 and extend his hitting streak to nine games. The 18-year-old Dominican, signed as an international free agent in the summer of 2013, has become one of the most exciting bats in the Boston system. Last year Devers had a fantastic .322/.404/.506 slash line split between the Dominican Summer League and the Gulf Coast League in his first professional action.

— With the excitement around Devers and Boston’€™s top prospect Yoan Moncada (1-for-5 on Thursday), another talented teenager has flown under the radar as 19-year-old Javier Guerra has excelled in Greenville. Guerra, another international signee (July 2012) by Boston, was 3-for-4 on Thursday to raise his average to .310 and his on-base percentage to .375. A shortstop, Guerra has been consistently slotted in the seven-hole of the Greenville lineup and recently was ranked Boston’€™s No. 16 prospect at MLB.com.

— Four of Greenville’€™s five RBIs came off the bat of Nick Longhi (Boston’€™s No. 23 prospect at MLB.com) on Thursday, as the right fielder had two-knock singles in the fifth and sixth innings. Longhi, who was born in Springfield, Massachusetts (but moved to Florida as an infant) is hitting .257 this year in Low-A after hitting .330 last season in the New York Penn League. Longhi’€™s 2014 season in Lowell ended early as he tore a ligament in his thumb while sliding.

Blog Author: 
Ken Laird

ARLINGTON, Texas — You want eventful? We’ve got eventful.

Rookie left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez was dazzling on Thursday. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)ARLINGTON, Texas -- Eduardo Rodriguez had just pitched the game of his dreams -- actually, it topped that -- and now he had a more practical concern.



Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez

ARLINGTON, Texas — You want eventful? We’ve got eventful.

The Red Sox beat the Rangers 5-1 on Thursday night, and the story was rookie left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who made his debut one to remember.

Pitching efficiently and at times looking overpowering, Rodriguez silenced a dangerous offense in its home park while making a case for an extended stay in the rotation.

Rodriguez limited the Rangers to 3 hits in 7 2/3 shutout innings, striking out seven. His fastball routinely punctured the 95-97 mph range and he drew 10 swings and misses. He used his slider, his third pitch, effectively, and incorporated his changeup as the game wore on, throwing 68 of his 105 pitches for strikes.

The 22-year-old’s performance couldn’t have come at a better time, with the Red Sox fresh off a three-game sweep at the hands of the Twins that dropped them to 21-26, just percentage points out of last place in the American League East.

The plan had been for Rodriguez to make one start as the sixth man in the rotation and then rejoin Triple A Pawtucket. But considering the struggles of the rotation, it’s hard to imagine Rodriguez pitching anywhere other than the big leagues when he makes his next start.

On any other night, he’d be the only story that mattered, but two other developments loomed large as well, one good and one bad.

First, the bad news. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts got drilled on the left wrist by a Nick Martinez fastball in the second and was lifted two innings later for pinch hitter Carlos Peguero. Bogaerts appeared to be in considerable pain before remaining in the game, but he didn’t last long and the Red Sox later announced that he departed with a forearm contusion.

There was good news, though, in the form of designated hitter Hanley Ramirez, who punished a pair of balls to left field, including his first home run of May. The Red Sox have stuck with Ramirez since he injured his left shoulder at the end of April, and he showed signs of ending a month-long power outage.

While Bogaerts’ situation could have a huge impact on the roster, that is a problem for tomorrow. For right now, Rodriguez is the story, and what a story it is.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Can it be anyone else? Rodriguez was exactly what the doctor ordered for a Red Sox rotation desperately needing talent. His fastball had the Rangers on their heels and he attacked the zone. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

— Seeing Ramirez rediscover his power stroke could go a long way towards solving some of the team’s offensive problems, particularly with slumping DH David Ortiz sitting out at least the first half of this series to work on his swing.

— Give rookie catcher Blake Swihart credit for calling a strong game. If the Rangers read a scouting report on Rodriguez, it undoubtedly said to watch out for his changeup. But Swihart crossed them up by not calling one until the third inning and Rodriguez kept them off-balance. Swihart also went 2 for 4 with a run and two RBIs.

— Dustin Pedroia continues to shine in the leadoff spot. He stroked three hits to push his average in the spot to .400. He has at least one hit in each of his seven starts there.

— Mookie Betts went 3 for 5 with a triple and RBI.

WHAT WENT WRONG

— The Bogaerts injury is a huge concern, because the Red Sox lack depth at shortstop. If Bogaerts misses any length of time, Brock Holt is next in line, with Deven Marrero waiting in the wings at Pawtucket.

— After beating out an infield single in the third, Betts was promptly picked off first.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

ARLINGTON, Texas — A great night for the Red Sox was marred on Thursday when shortstop Xander Bogaerts was forced to leave a 5-1 victory over the Rangers in the fourth inning with a left forearm contusion.

Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts

ARLINGTON, Texas — A great night for the Red Sox was marred on Thursday when shortstop Xander Bogaerts was forced to leave a game against the Rangers in the fourth inning with a left forearm contusion.

Bogaerts was hit in the wrist in the second inning by a Nick Martinez fastball and appeared to be in considerable pain, slamming his helmet in frustration and taking steps towards the Red Sox dugout. After a lengthy visit from the training staff and manager John Farrell, Bogaerts stayed in the game.

However, he was replaced in the fourth by pinch hitter Carlos Peguero in the fourth, and there’s no word yet on the severity of his injury.

Bogaerts is hitting .268 with a pair of homers. He went 0-for-12 in the recently completed series against the Twins, and was looking to get back on track Thursday before getting hit.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase