Christian Vazquez (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Christian Vazquez (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

The praise has been heaped on Christian Vazquez since he was recalled to the major leagues earlier this month.

But there one bit of punctuation the catcher needed before feeling all the way back from Tommy John surgery — throwing a runner out trying to steal.

Monday night, during the Red Sox’ 1-0 win over the Braves, he got to check that last test off his list.

Atlanta’s Jace Peterson decided to be the second runner trying to steal on the Sox catcher this season, and first to not make it successfully. Vazquez gunned down Peterson, who was just 12-for-22 in steal attempts last season, with ease.

“You saw me excited, right? It was an exciting moment,” Vazquez said. “It was a long time until this moment.”

And now Vazquez feels he can make the ultimate proclamation.

“It’s 100 percent,” he said of his surgically-repaired right elbow. “The more I’m playing, I’m getting stronger and stronger. I feel good, man.”

And just for good measure, Vazquez also has seen some modest improvement offensively, claiming a double to raise his batting average to .200. That’s two straight games he has a hit after three straight contests of going a combined 0-for-10 with six strikeouts.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

ATLANTA — In case you weren’t paying attention, Rick Porcello has been pitching pretty well.

Rick Porcello improved to 4-0 after another solid outing, Monday night. (Dale Zanine/USA Today Sports)

Rick Porcello improved to 4-0 after another solid outing, Monday night. (Dale Zanine/USA Today Sports)

ATLANTA — In case you weren’t paying attention, Rick Porcello has been pitching pretty well.

The righty was one of the chief contributors in the Red Sox’ 1-0 win over the Braves, Monday night, going 6 1/3 innings without giving up a run. After striking out six and walking two, he now has 30 punch-outs and just five free passes to go along with an ERA of 3.51 and a record of 4-0.

Since he started teaming up with catcher Christian Vazquez, Porcello has a 2.75 ERA in three starts.

The win puts the Red Sox over .500 (10-9) since they were at 6-5 on April 17

The only run the Red Sox would need came off the bat of Sunday night’s hero, Jackie Bradley Jr., who took Atlanta starter Julio Teheran deep over the right field wall in the seventh inning for the outfielder’s first homer of the season.

Teherhan did his best to keep pace against a Red Sox lineup that was without both David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez, giving up the one run over seven innings, striking out eight, walking three and allowing six hits.

The only time the Red Sox were threatened came in the seventh, after Porcello was driven from the game by a Jeff Francoeur double and Freddie Freeman walk. Robbie Ross Jr. came on to get a ground ball to second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who could only get a force out at second.

Ross Jr. ended the Braves’ rally by striking out pinch-hitter Erick Aybar, who came into the game with just one hit in 22 at-bats against left-handed pitching.

Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel closed things out with one scoreless inning apiece.

Closing Time note

Rick Porcello reached base twice for the second time in his career, claiming a hit and a walk. The Sox pitcher did notch a base-hit in his first major league at-bat while with the Tigers, but entered Monday night with just a .174 batting average (4-for-23).


– Christian Vazquez was able to show his arm off in the fifth, gunning down Jace Peterson. Peterson’s percentage of successful steals hasn’t been stellar, with the second baseman getting thrown out in 10 of his 22 attempts last season.

– The Red Sox were fortunate that the Braves catcher, old friend A.J. Pierzynski, didn’t have quite the impact of his counterpart. After dropping a foul pop, and allowing Xander Bogaerts his third steal of the year, the backstop mishandled a Porcello bunt, putting the pitcher at first with Vazquez at second and one out in the seventh. It was ruled a single for Porcello, who had reached earlier in the game on an error.

– While it should have come as no surprise, but part of the Red Sox’ ability to keep the Braves scoreless was continuing the hosts’ futility when it came to hitting home runs. Atlanta has just three homers on the season, eight fewer than the next team on the list, Pittsburgh.


– The Red Sox squandered a solid scoring opportunity in the fourth inning, getting runners to first and second with one out thanks to a Travis Shaw walk and Josh Rutledge single. But with the count full, Shaw was easily thrown out at third after a swing and miss strikeout from Brock Holt.

– The shift came back to bite the Red Sox in the fifth inning when the big left-handed-hitting Freddie Freeman put down a perfect bunt to the third base side. Neither Porcello or Xander Bogaerts, who was playing at a deep shortstop position with Rutledge, the third baseman, swung over to the other side of the diamond, had a chance.

– The Red Sox couldn’t capitalize on a seventh-inning rally in which they loaded the bases with two outs and Julio Teheran up over 100 pitches. But on the 10th pitch of his at-bat, and the Atlanta starter’s 114, and final, pitch, Xander Bogerts rocket to center field was caught by Mallex Smith to end the threat.

– Ortiz did make an appearance, pinch-hitting in the ninth inning. But despite a rousing round of applause after appearing on the on-deck circle, he ended up striking out to end the frame.


Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford
Chili Davis

Chili Davis

ATLANTA — When Carlos Gomez snapped his bat over his leg Sunday night, having swung and missed at a Henry Owens’ changeup, Chili Davis couldn’t help but smile a bit.

The Red Sox hitting coach is, after all, the guy who started the craze.

While many credit Bo Jackson with first executing the fit of rage, it was actually Davis who many believe was the first to snap a bat (that wasn’t previously broken) over his thigh.

“I remember everything about it,” Davis said of the 1983 incident. “I remember Kevin Gross pitching. I remember he had that big rolling curveball, which he threw in the first at-bat. I was at a point in my career where I read curveballs pretty good. I was the kind of hitter if I saw it and I thought I could hit it, I’m thinking, ‘The next time I see that I’ll be ready for it.’ The next time I went up I saw one, threw it again, took it, strike, and then when two strikes I threw right threw it. The third time up he struck me out again because I kept swinging threw it. I just thought, ‘It had to be this bat, time to die.’ It was a brand new bat. Big handle. Big 36-, 37-ounce bat.

“That was just reaction. It wasn’t planned. I had never done it before.”

It wouldn’t be the last time Davis took his frustrations out on the lumber, either.

One offseason, while vacationing in Hawaii, pitcher Frank Viola threw down the gauntlet while playing golf with the slugger.

“He said, ‘If I ever strike you out twice in a game, will you break your bat over your knee for me.’ I said, ‘Frank, you’re never going to strike me out twice in a game. But if you ever do, I’ll do it,'” Davis remembered. “So during the season he struck me out the second time and after I was walking away I kept hearing a voice yelling, ‘Do it! Do it!’ I turned around and he was on the mound yelling, ‘Do it!’ So I broke it over my knee and he was like, ‘Yeah!’

“You do stupid stuff. When you play sometimes you get angry and you do stupid stuff, and then you get back home and you see it on TV and you’re like, ‘Oh my goodness, how dumb was that.'”

But, as awkward as such a maneuver might seem, Davis totally understand why players like Gomez go that route.

“I understand his frustrations,” the hitting coach said. “He’s a good player and there were a few frustrating at-bats for him. He’s a highly temperamental player. And he’s competitive. You put those two together and sometimes you get frustrated an react in that sort of way.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

ATLANTA — It’s a hole the Red Sox haven’t filled, and really haven’t prioritized, since the season started — a back-up left-handed-hitting outfielder.

Marco Hernandez

Marco Hernandez

ATLANTA — It’s a hole the Red Sox haven’t filled, and really haven’t prioritized, since the season started — a back-up left-handed-hitting outfielder.

But with Brock Holt the only lefty-hitting outfielder on the roster, and Chris Young showing no signs that he will reverse his struggles against right-handed pitching (against which he’s 1-for-12 with eight strikeouts), there is a hole on the roster.

It was a dynamic that forced Red Sox manager John Farrell to pinch-hit for Young with right-handed-hitting Josh Rutledge, Saturday. (Rutledge ripped an RBI double against righty reliever Ken Giles.)

So when David Murphy — who had been with the Red Sox in spring training — opted out of his contract with the Twins Monday, it potentially opened the door for a move. But according to team sources, the Red Sox don’t have any interest in bringing Murphy back.

The plan, for the time being, will be to integrate both the left-hitting Marco Hernandez and Blake Swihart, a switch-hitter into left field with Triple-A Pawtucket. That process began Monday night, with Hernandez playing his first game in left for the PawSox.

Other than Hernandez and Swihart, the Red Sox don’t have any left-handed-hitting outfield options at Triple-A.

Another possibility to see some action in the outfield at some point this season is the hot-hitting Sam Travis. But while the Red Sox have discussed such a move for the future, the organization is committed to keeping Travis at first base for the time being.

– After an uncomfortable season debut with the Red Sox Sunday night, in which he gave up three runs over just 3 1/3 innings, Henry Owens will get another chance.

Sox manager confirmed that Owens will make another start for the Red Sox, with that turn scheduled to take place Friday night at Fenway Park against the Yankees.

– Eduardo Rodriguez will pitch his first official rehab outing Thursday, as planned. But because of the uncertain weather, the venue for the outing might be changing.

Farrell suggested Rodriguez, who is returning from an injured right knee, may have to join Triple-A Pawtucket instead of Single-A Salem due to the threat of rain.

– Hanley Ramirez and David Ortiz both didn’t start the series opener, with Ramirez’s absence coming as more of a surprise. But with the late arrival after the Sox’s 12-inning game in Houston Sunday night, Farrell decided it would be a good time to give Ramirez his first day off of the season.

Ortiz likely won’t play in either of the two games at the Braves’ home stadium.

The Red Sox got to their hotel just after 5:30 a.m., not scheduled a bus to the stadium until 3 p.m. Dustin Pedroia and John Farrell did take matters into their own hands, however, taking a taxi over to Turner Field at about noon.

– With the addition of hard-throwing Heath Hembree, Junichi Tazawa, Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel, the Red Sox all of a sudden find themselves with one of the hardest-throwing bullpens in the majors. And Pat Light, who has hit 100 mph, hadn’t pitched prior to Monday night, while Carson Smith is also on the horizon

According to, the Sox relievers average fastball velocity of 94.3 mph, second only to Kansas City’s 94.4.

“The last couple of years, we’ve been in the bottom third in terms of average velocity and all of a sudden with Heath’s evolvement, with Matt barnes, with Carson coming to us, with Craig Kimbrel, we’ve now assembled a power bullpen and it’s got the ability to come in and get a key strikeout,” Farrell said. “That is a clear, distinct advantage.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (10-8): L, 5-3, vs. Lehigh Valley (Phillies)

Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello

Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello will look to remain perfect when he takes the mound Monday night against the Braves in Atlanta, where he will face off against righty Julio Teheran.

It’s been smooth sailing thus far for Porcello, starting the year 3-0 with a 4.66 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. In his last start Wednesday against the Rays, he went seven innings (his longest outing of the season), allowing three earned runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out nine in the Red Sox’ 7-3 win.

“He’s been very consistent with one, staying out of the middle of the plate,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Porcello. “I think his changeup continues to refine itself. He’s getting some swing and miss. He’s putting away a couple of right-handers tonight with a right-on-right changeup. We stake him to a five-run lead and knowing we needed a deep start he gave us everything we could have asked for, but more importantly, staying in command of the count and using his secondary pitches effectively — curveballs early in the count at times — but the fastball-chanegup combination very good for him.”

In two career starts against the Braves, Porcello is 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA and 1.105 WHIP. He has 10 strikeouts and three walks over 12 2/3 innings.

Teheran, 25, is off to a rocky start in 2016. In four starts he is 0-2 with a 5.64 ERA and 1.39 WHIP. In his last start Wednesday against the Dodgers, however, he was fairly solid. He went 5 1/3 innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits and no walks with three strikeouts. He left with the lead, but the bullpen could not hold it in Atlanta’s 5-3 loss in 10 innings.

“I felt like Julio had given us all he had,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said after the loss about Teheran, who pitched through an illness.

Teheran has started one game against the Red Sox. It came June 16 of last season , when he was hit hard for six earned runs over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked one in his team’s 9-4 loss.

Julio Teheran

Julio Teheran

Red Sox vs. Teheran (RHP)

Josh Rutledge is 2-for-5 and was hit by a pitch once.

Mookie Betts is 3-for-4 with one double, one triple and one RBI, while Brock Holt is 3-for-4 with one double, one home run and one RBI.

Hanley Ramirez is hitless in four at-bats.

Xander Bogaerts is 2-for-3 with an RBI.

David Ortiz is 0-for-2 with one walk, while Chris Young is 0-for-2 with one strikeout.

Braves vs. Porcello (RHP)

Erick Aybar (33 plate appearances): .185 AVG/.333 OBP/.222 SLG, 1 double, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts

Nick Markakis (31): .407/.452/.556, 1 double, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout

A.J. Pierzynski (29): .214/.241/.321, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

Jeff Francoeur (24): .391/.375/.739, 1 triple, 2 home runs, 6 RBIs, 2 strikeouts

Tyler Flowers (22): .150/.227/.200, 1 double, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts

Kelly Johnson (12): .300/.417/.300, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

Drew Stubbs (10): .300/.300/.600, 1 double, 1 triple, 1 RBI, 3 strikeouts

Freddie Freeman (6): .333/.333/.333, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Jace Peterson is 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Blog Author: 
Travis Upham

Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Sunday.

Marco Hernandez

Marco Hernandez

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (10-8): L, 5-3, vs. Lehigh Valley (Phillies)

— Second baseman Marco Hernandez (Boston’s No. 13 prospect at went 3-for-4 with a game-tying RBI double, extending his modest hitting-streak to five games and reaching safely for the 10th time in 10 games played. In the seventh inning on Sunday, the 23-year-old Hernandez turned on a 2-2 pitch against a lefty reliever and sent it into the right-field corner to plate third baseman Mike Miller, knotting the game at 3-3.

Acquired by Boston from Chicago in the Felix Doubront trade, the 6-foot Hernandez is slashing .324/.375/.459 to start to the season with a triple and three doubles; he also made his major-league debut on April 17, going 1-for-2 with a walk, a run, and a stolen base. In 2015, split between Double-A Portland and Pawtucket, Hernandez slashed .305/.330/.454 over 114 games with nine homers, six triples, and 30 doubles; he was a mid-season Eastern League All-Star.

— With the PawSox trailing 3-0 entering the seventh, center fielder Rusney Castillo singled and would later score on an RBI double from catcher Sandy Leon. Shortstop Deven Marrero (Boston’s No. 9 prospect at singled to cut the deficit to 3-2, setting up the Hernandez double to tie the contest 3-3. After a walk to DH Blake Swihart to load the bases, first baseman Sam Travis (Boston’s No. 7 prospect at grounded out to third to end the threat.

Leon also finished 3-for-4, while Swihart and Travis were a collective 0-for-7 on the day; Marrero was 1-for-5 and Castillo 1-for-4 with a run scored.

— RHP Sean O’Sullivan took the loss (2-2, 3.12 ERA) with a final line of: 7 1/3 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO (99 pitches, 68 strikes); the 10 strikeouts were a career best for O’Sullivan in International League play. O’Sullivan, 28, retired 10 straight batters after a single in the first until a leadoff double in the fifth that would lead to a run. Two more scored against O’Sullivan in the sixth after a three-hit span, and he was finally removed after allowing a leadoff walk in the eighth; reliever Wesley Wright could not prevent the inherited runner from scoring as an ensuing triple and double plated the game’s winning runs.

O’Sullivan has seen major league action for the Angels, Royals, Padres, and Phillies over the last seven seasons, starting in 52 of his 66 major league games where he earned a record of 11-23 with a 5.95 ERA. Through four starts with Pawtucket this season, O’Sullivan has struck out 27 batters to just four walks in 26 innings pitched.

Justin Haley

Justin Haley

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (6-12): L, 2-0, at Hartford (Rockies)

— The Portland offense continued to struggle as it managed just four hits on Sunday and was shut out for the third time in a four game span. Portland has not homered since a shot by Wendell Rijo (Boston’s No. 18 prospect at on April 10th, a 14-game drought.

“Just going through a little slump,” Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles told the Portland Press Herald. “That’s part of the game. Sometimes you pitch and can’t hit. Just have to put everything together.”

— RHP Justin Haley suffered from the lack of run support, taking the loss (0-2, 3.44 ERA) despite a solid final line of: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO (90 pitches, 61 strikes). The 24-year-old Haley allowed a run in the first on back-to-back hits but then retired 11 straight before a leadoff walk in the fifth. A leadoff home run in the seventh was the only other damage against Haley as he finished with seven ground-ball outs to just three in the air; the seven innings of work tied a career high.

“Just attacking the zone and throwing strikes,” Haley said. “We mixed a lot (fastballs, sliders and change-ups).”

“The thing that was big for him was he threw a lot of strikes,” Sea Dogs’ pitching coach Kevin Walker said. “He was moving his fastball around well. And he committed to using his off-speed and had some success.”

Selected by Boston in the sixth round of the 2012 draft out of Fresno State, the 6-foot-5 Haley spent the entire 2015 season with Portland where he went 5-16 with a 5.15 ERA in 27 starts, with seven quality starts.

— Lefty reliever Luis Ysla (Boston’s No. 21 prospect at pitched a scoreless eighth inning, striking out two for his fourth straight scoreless appearance. The 23-year-old Ysla touched 94 mph on his fastball, while getting punch-outs on breaking pitches. Acquired by Boston last year from San Francisco in the Alejandro De Aza trade, Ysla has allowed three earned runs over seven innings this season with seven strikeouts and  four walks.

— Left fielder Bryce Brentz (Boston’s No. 30 prospect at drew a walk as he played in his third game since returning from injury suffered during Spring Training; he was previously on Triple-A Pawtucket’s DL before getting the Portland assignment. The 27-year-old Brentz reached safely in all three games played but is just 2-for-10 with the walk and four strikeouts.

Travis Lakins

Travis Lakins

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (11-7): W, 3-2, vs. Winston-Salem (White Sox)

— Yoan Moncada (Boston’s No. 1 prospect at and center fielder Andrew Benintendi (Boston’s No. 3 prospect at both singled in the first inning to promptly extend their hitting streaks to 14 games as Salem plated three runs in the first and hung on for the win.

Moncada, 20, was just 1-for-4 with two strikeouts, but his first inning single led to the game’s first run as he advanced to second on a pickoff attempt (throwing error) and came home on an RBI single from shortstop Deiner Lopez. Moncada has reached safely in all 16 games he’s played this year and is slashing .350/.474/.483 with two triples, four doubles, 15 runs, eight RBIs, 14 walks and 13 stolen bases; his on-base percentage (.474) is tied for the Carolina League lead.

— Benintendi, 21, singled to center in the first and would later score on a wild pitch. He finished the game 1-for-4 with three fly outs to put his slash line at .333/.390/.623 through 17 games with six triples, eight doubles, 15 runs and 11 RBIs. Benintendi’s slugging percentage (.623) is the second-highest mark in the Carolina League.

— RHP Travis Lakins (Boston’s No. 11 prospect at earned the victory (2-1, 2.33 ERA) with a final line of: 5 2/3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 SO (87 pitches, 59 strikes). Lakins’s lone blemish came in the first as he walked the game’s leadoff man and he came in to score on a fielding error by right fielder Mike Meyers. The 21-year-old Lakins would then allow leadoff batters to reach in the second (single) and third (walk) but stranded both runners. Lakins gave up singles in the fifth and sixth before being removed.

Selected by Boston in the sixth round of last year’s draft out of Ohio State University, the 6-foot-1 Lakins has allowed five earned runs this year in 19 1/3 innings, striking out 23 while walking eight; over his last three starts Lakins has allowed just two earned runs in 15 2/3 innings.

Joseph Monge

Joseph Monge

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (10-8): W, 5-1, vs. Columbia (Mets)

— Left fielder Joseph Monge and right fielder Tate Matheny had three-hit games, while first baseman Josh Ockimey went 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs to lead the way for Greenville.

Monge, 20, went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run and has hit safely in eight of his last nine games. On Sunday he singled and scored in the first, reached via error in the second, singled in the fourth and finally singled home an insurance run in the seventh. Selected by Boston in the 17th round of the 2013 draft out of Puerto Rico, the 6-foot Monge is off to a 19-for-60 (.317) start to 2016 with a homer, five doubles, and four stolen bases.

Matheny, 22, went 3-for-4 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored. He put one through the left side with a runner aboard in the first, brought home a run in the second by looping a 2-2 offspeed pitch to center, and singled again on a hard-hit ball to the third baseman. Selected by Boston in the fourth round of last year’s draft, the 6-foot Matheny got a late start to the season but through his first six games is batting 10-for-26 (.385) with a double, eight runs, six RBIs and seven walks.

Ockimey (Boston’s No. 16 prospect at, 20, went 2-for-5 with an opposite-field RBI single in the first and an RBI triple pulled into the right field corner in the sixth. The 6-foot-1 lefty bat now has a six game hit streak and has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games. Selected by Boston in the fifth round of the 2014 draft out of high school in Pennsylvania, Ockimey is slashing .323/.447/.645 over 16 games with five homers (tied for the South Atlantic League lead), the triple, three doubles, 11 runs and 10 RBIs.

— LHP Logan Boyd started and earned the win (3-1, 3.32 ERA) with a final line of: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO (74 pitches, 48 strikes). After a perfect first, Boyd stranded two runners in the second and after allowing a run in the third struck out two to go with a caught-stealing from catcher Austin Rei (Boston’s No. 25 prospect at to end the inning.

Selected by Boston in the 19th round of last year’s draft out of Sam Houston State University, the 6-foot-2 Boyd has allowed seven earned runs over 19 innings this year with 16 strikeouts and just two walks. Last year in 13 appearances with Short-Season Lowell, Boyd was 4-0 with a 2.85 ERA, striking out 37 in 41 innings.

— Relievers Jake Cosart and Bobby Poyner combined for four innings of shutout relief, each allowing just a single.

Cosart, a 22-year-old righty, struck out two and has now made three straight scoreless appearances, with 12 whiffs in 9 1/3 innings so far this year.

Poyner, a 23-year-old lefty, struck out the side in the eighth and another batter in the ninth; he has yet to allow a run this year in 11 innings, striking out 17 without walking a batter.

— According to the Greenville News, the Drive’s home facility Fluor Field will be getting further renovations after the 2016 season. Prior to this year, the stadium opened with improvements including a new video board and sound system.

“Coming in 2017, under construction once this season is over, are some pretty dramatic changes,” Greenville Mayor Knox White said.

The Red Sox are currently committed to their player development contract with Greenville through 2020.

“We invested over $20 million in building Fluor Field 10 years ago,” Drive owner Craig Brown said. “There’s nothing that’s happened in the 10 years that’s changed that one iota. In fact, it’s just confirmed what a wonderful community this is. This is where we live. This is where we want to be.”

Blog Author: 
Ken Laird
Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett talked to the sox centerfielder, who drove in the winning run in the 12th inning against the Astros.

[0:01:18] ... way good series win here on the road to get through this road trip going in all it's a late night and then you gonna do it again tomorrow on short night's rest. In Atlanta. Going to place a National League style baseball. Tomorrow against the Braves put again those Wii game system you guys really get a set up the win. Yeah they all count. So we've got to. Get out there and ...