For the first time since walking off the Fenway Park mound July 10 with an elbow injury, Clay Buchholz returned to the rubber Friday.

Although it was just the mound in the bullpen, it was a major step in Buchholz getting back to full strength, as he threw 20 pitches with a catcher standing in front of home plate, in a bullpen session he refers to as a “front toss bullpen.”

The entire starting rotation watched the session and Buchholz came away pleased, according to interim manager Torey Lovullo.

“He felt great. The reports were that there was a lot of energy, a lot of intensity,” Lovullo said. “He’s finishing his pitches. The conversation I had with Clay afterwards, he’s very encouraged. He was pain free and those were the things we were looking for.”

There was some optimism Buchholz would be able to throw an inning in a game this season, but with the regular season coming to a close a week from Sunday, it doesn’t appear likely — although not completely ruled out.

“Considering how long he’s been down, it’s going to be very risky to give him a start,” Lovullo said. “I don’t think that’s in the cards — whether it’s an inning or a start — we’re unsure right now. We just don’t want to put him in harms way. We want to make sure he’s healthy with step one which was today. Step two will be the bullpen. I think the idea is just getting him on the mound, with he slant, feeling the rubber, feeling the dirty in his spikes — there’s a lot to be said for that for a player who is trying to build confidence coming back from an injury.

“Step one is very good, I don’t want to look too far beyond that, but I don’t think a start is in the cards.”

If Buchholz feels well Saturday, a bullpen would be the next step, but the date of that has yet to be determined.

— The Red Sox will have Saturday be a bullpen game and Lovullo announced Craig Breslow will get the start. The team is hoping to get 40 pitches out of him.

“We just don’t want to stretch him out too far and overwhelm him,” Lovullo said.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

It’s been just over a month since Dave Dombrowski was hired as Red Sox presiden

Frank Wren is the start of a professional scouting change for the Red Sox. (J. Meric/Getty Images)

Frank Wren is the start of a professional scouting change for the Red Sox. (J. Meric/Getty Images)

It’s been just over a month since Dave Dombrowski was hired as Red Sox president of baseball operations so he hasn’t had much time to put his stamp on the organization, but one of the first steps to making a change occurred Friday when the team announced the hiring of Frank Wren as senior vice president of baseball operations.

Ultimately, Dombrowski wants to change the professional scouting aspect of the organization and Wren is the first piece in doing that.

“One of the things — to me one of the biggest changes I will make that I really haven’t gotten into totally because we really haven’t been at that point yet, is our professional scouting — our major league scouting aspect of it,” Dombrowski said. “Not right or wrong or indifferent how people do it is something that I really want changed. A lot of that change is taken behind the scenes.

“Getting closer to announcing what those changes will be, but Frank is part of that change. I am going to put more emphasis on scouting the major leagues strictly, using their evaluation tools, but also be sublimated by another group of individuals that will be very strong in their professional coverage.”

Wren has been around the game a long time, as he has over 30 years of experience working in the front office of baseball organizations. Most recently he was general manager of the Braves from 2008-14. He also worked with Dombrowski for 11 years between the Expos and Marlins from 1987-98.

Wren said he will help out in whatever is best for Dombrowski and will be based from his home in Atlanta.

“I think one of the things Dave and I have talked about over the last few weeks as this all came together is really assisting in a lot of different areas,” Wren said. “I’ve been involved in a lot from the time I played, coaching in minor leagues, to being involved in scouting, running Latin America, to assistant GM and GM. I’ve been involved in a lot of different areas, so wherever I can help out and feel like there’s value for Dave, that’s what I will do.”

While there is a lot of work to done this offseason, both with the talent on the field and within the front office, Dombrowski believes the team has a chance to get back to winning quickly.

“There is a great core of young players here. I think if we make some wise moves to supplement the talent we have here in addition to some of the veteran players, we have a chance to have a good club pretty quickly.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

The Red Sox and Orioles will play the final series at Fenway Park of the season beginning Friday night.

Rusney Castillo

Rusney Castillo

The Red Sox and Orioles will play the final series at Fenway Park of the season beginning Friday night.

Rusney Castillo will get the night off, as Brock Holt will start in left, Jackie Bradley Jr. in center and Mookie Betts in right against Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman.

Devan Marrero will get the start at third base, with Pablo Sandoval out for the foreseeable future.

Sandy Leon will catch Red Sox starter Rich Hill.

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Mookie Betts, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
David Ortiz, DH
Travis Shaw, 1B
Deven Marrero, 3B
Brock Holt, LF
Sandy Leon, C
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Rich Hill, LHP

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

A day after promoting Mike Hazen to general manager, the team has made another move within their front office.

Former Braves GM Frank Wren has been hired by the Red Sox. (J. Meric/Getty Images)

Former Braves GM Frank Wren has been hired by the Red Sox. (J. Meric/Getty Images)

A day after promoting Mike Hazen to general manager, the team has made another move within their front office.

Former Braves general manager Frank Wren has been hired as senior vice president of baseball operations. Within the press release it says Wren will serve as a talent evaluator and will assist president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski in all aspects of baseball operations. He and Dombrowski previously worked together for 11 years between the Montreal Expos and Florida Marlins.

It is unclear where Wren fits in the organization in terms of power, as it relates to Hazen.

The Red Sox also announced a few other moves:

— Athletic trainer Rick Jameyson has decided to leave the organization to pursue other opportunities.

— Jared Banner has been promoted to director of player personnel

— Brad Pearson, MS, ATC, CSCS has been named head athletic trainer

— Paul Buchheit, MS, ATC, CSCS has been named assistant athletic trainer

For more Red Sox news, visit

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Mike Hazen, who on Thursday was promoted to Red Sox senior vice president and general manager, checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning and said he believes the team is not far away from

Mike Hazen

Mike Hazen

Mike Hazen, who on Thursday was promoted to Red Sox senior vice president and general manager, checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning and said he believes the team is not far away from competing for another championship. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Hazen, 39, has been with the organization for a decade, including two World Series titles and two (closing in on three) last-place finishes in the AL East.

“There has been a lot of success. Certainly the last few years are unacceptable and we need to do a better job of what we’re doing at the major league level specifically,” he said. “I think if you look at the farm system — and many consider it to be the No. 1 farm system — you look at the youth on the major league roster, I think there are a lot of good things going on here and I hope that is a reflection of that. Maybe this promotion initially is a reflection of that, because there are a lot of good, hard-working scouts, front-office people, player-development staff that have been here for a long time that have been very successful.”

Hazel said he wasn’t sure what would happen after Dombrowski was brought in last month and Ben Cherington stepped down.

“You never know. These things go in many different directions,” Hazen said. “I didn’t know Dave very well at that point in time. And so at that point you just don’t know. You never know how he’s going to assess the situation. Thankfully for us, a lot of us, I think he’s come in and been open-minded to how the front office could be constructed and how, depending on what he needs, what he needs to make the best decisions. Thankfully for a lot of us he took his time through that. It’s been a month, I’ve had the opportunity to work with him now for a month. We just jumped right in on Day 1, just getting after it. Hopefully that connection was started then and has continued to now.”

Hazel pointed to the farm system as a point of pride for the Cherington staff, and something that undoubtedly impressed Dombrowski.

“I think there’s a lot of building blocks here that I think he’s come in and said, there’s [Xander] Bogaerts, [Mookie] Betts, [Blake] Swihart, [Christian] Vasquez, E-Rod [Eduardo Rodriguez], Henry Owens. There’s a lot of good things that have led to those players being on the major league team. There’s also a lot of really good prospects, some of the best in baseball, that are in our system that are also going to be fueling the next run of success. There’s a lot of work that’s gone into that,” Hazen said.

“Yes, we’ve made some poor decisions. I’ve been a part of those poor decisions at the major league level and I take responsibility for that, too. We’re going to have to make some adjustments with how we do things. But that’s why Dave is here. He’s going to help us make some of those adjustments. But again, I think there’s a lot of good work here. And I think in a reflection of that Dave has seen that.

“But again, you never know how these things are going. A month ago everybody in that front office thought the same thing, things could go in either direction. And thankfully they didn’t.”

Asked how close the Sox are to being competitive again, Hazen sounded an optimistic tone.

“I know I’m biased, but I think we’re right around the corner. I really do,” he said. “I think the way we’ve played. Pablo [Sandoval] and Hanley [Ramirez] and some of the stuff that’s been written a lot about these guys — these guys are good major league players. I think they’re going to bounce back. We’ve already seen [Rick] Porcello bounce back since the All-Star break. We’ve seen some of the younger guys really step up. Obviously, [David] Ortiz and [Dustin] Pedroia have had good years, great years in some cases for the them. The emergence really of Bogaerts and Betts, Swihart sitting in the middle of the lineup in a lot of cases, [Jackie] Bradley bouncing back, I think our outfield defensive alignment as you see it now, we’re saving runs on a nightly basis.

“There’s a lot of pieces that are coming together. Again, we have a lot more work to do. We have a lot more building to do in the offseason. But I still think it’s right around the corner.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at

On Cherington’s future: “I think he’s in a good place. I’ve been talking to him for a long time in the past month. I said it yesterday [at the press conference], I’m not in this position if it’s not for Ben Cherington. Nobody has helped develop me, mentor me more than Ben Cherington did. And that will always be the case for the rest of my life. Ben’s going to be able to pick his spots, in my opinion, whenever he wants to. I don’t think that time probably is now. But I think when you look at it, when you step back, life’s about timing. If you evaluated the John Lackey contract after Year 1, and now we’re talking about this guy leading us to the World Series in 2013. I believe that that’s going to be the way some of these play out. You can’t always just judge these things through the first six months of their deal. But look, the record is the record, and we all have to live with that. That’s part of the gig.

“Ben’s going to be fine. Ben’s one of the smartest, most engaging, human people that I’ve ever met. And people love working for him. Some other owner out there is going to recognize that and hire him.”

On the possibility of making a big move in the offseason: “It’s too hard to predict right now because we don’t know exactly how the free agent market is going to unfold or the trade market is going to unfold. But certainly starting pitching is an area that we’re going to be focused on, and pitching in general as we go off into the offseason.”

On Ramirez playing first base after struggling in left field: “Yes, I am [confident he can make the move]. He was a shortstop at the major league level for a long time. He knows how to field a ground ball. I think his hands work pretty well. Given his history at shortstop — yes, it’s a different technique, different footwork that goes on at first base that he’s going to have to figure out. But we have all the confidence that that’s going to happen.”

On which team he believes is best positioned for the postseason: “I still like Toronto. What those guys did at the deadline, I think those four guys in the middle of their lineup, along with Russell Martin and then David Price. That offense, I think in a lot of ways how it carried us. Even though I know they talk about October pitching. But you have to still be able to beat that pitching in October, too. I know the Blue Jays may be a little thin in other areas, but you’ve got David Price and you’ve got that offense. I’d probably I’d take them.”

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

The Red Sox start their final home series of the season Friday night against the Orioles, sending Rich Hill to the mound to face Kevin Gausman.

Hill (1-0, 1.93 ERA) is making his third start of the year after being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket earlier this month. After having not started a major league game since 2009 with Baltimore, Hill has been stellar in his return to the rotation, shutting down both the Rays and Blue Jays on the road. In the two starts he has allowed eight hits and three runs with 20 strikeouts (10 in each outing) over 14 innings. He is the first Sox pitcher to have 10 strikeouts in his first two starts with the club.

Hill’s last outing was Sunday against the Jays. He went seven innings and allowed three runs while striking out 10 in Boston’s 4-3 win.

“He’s been really special these past two outings,” center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. said following the game. “It’s fun playing behind him, that’s for sure.”

The 35-year-old left-hander is seeing the Orioles for the first time this season, but he has seen them on 10 other occasions in his career, pitching six innings and allowing five hits and one run with six strikeouts.

Hill is making his first home start of the year. He has a 1-0 record with a 2.45 ERA over 18 1/3 innings in his career at Fenway Park.

Kevin Gausman

Kevin Gausman

Gausman (3-6, 4.26 ERA), who was moved to the starting rotation on June 20, is coming off a no-decision against the Rays on Sunday, going six innings and allowing eight hits and four runs with six strikeouts.

Despite going less than five innings in a start just once since the All-Star break, Gausman is 2-5 in the back half of the season with a 3.98 ERA over 12 starts.

The 24-year-old right-hander has seen the Sox three times this season (one start), putting together a 1-0 record. He has a 1.86 ERA and has held Sox batters to a .171 average over 9 2/3 innings.

Gausman has appeared in five games (one start) at Fenway in his career, with a 0-0 record and 2.35 ERA. Through 12 innings he’s allowed eight hits and three runs with 12 strikeouts.

Orioles vs. Hill (LHP)

J.J. Hardy (12 plate appearances): .400 AVG/.500 OBP/.600 SLG, 2 doubles, 2 walks

Steve Pearce is 2-for-5.

Chris Davis is 0-for-2.

Ryan Flaherty is 1-for-2 with a triple and 2 RBIs.

Adam Jones is 1-for-1.

Matt Wieters is 1-for-1 with an RBI.

No other Orioles have faced Hill.

Red Sox vs. Gausman (RHP)

David Ortiz (12 plate appearances): .400 AVG/.500 OBP/1.100 SLG, 1 double, 2 HRs, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Xander Bogaerts (11): .273/.273/.273, 1 strikeout

Dustin Pedroia (9): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout

Mookie Betts (7): .286/.286/.286, 2 strikeouts

Ryan Hanigan (5): .400/.400/1.000, 1 HR, 2 RBIs

Pablo Sandoval (5): .600/.600/.800, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Jackie Bradley Jr. (4): .000/.500/.000, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Rusney Castillo is 1-for-4.

Brock Holt is 0-for-3 with a walk.

Josh Rutledge is 0-for-2 with a walk.

Travis Shaw is 0-for-2 with a walk and 2 strikeouts.

Allen Craig is 0-for-2 with a strikeout.

Blake Swihart is 0-for-2.

Sandy Leon is 0-for-1.

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