An industry source confirmed a report by WEEI’s Lou Merloni that, with the Red Sox pitching staff taxed by a combined 11 innings of work on Monday and Tuesday, the team will call up right-hander Alex Wilson from Triple-A Pawtucket for Wednesday night’s game. In order to make room on the roster for Wilson, Daniel Nava will be optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

An industry source confirmed a report by WEEI’s Lou Merloni that, with the Red Sox pitching staff taxed by a combined 11 innings of work on Monday and Tuesday, the team will call up right-hander Alex Wilson from Triple-A Pawtucket for Wednesday night’s game. In order to make room on the roster for Wilson, Daniel Nava will be optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Shane Victorino will thus wait until at least Thursday for his activation from the disabled list.

Nava, a key contributor to the Red Sox’ title run in 2013 when he hit .303 with a .385 OBP and .445 slugging mark while playing four positions, never enjoyed consistent production in the season’s first three-plus weeks this year. He hit .149 with a .240 OBP and .269 slugging mark.

‘€œWe’€™re trying to get him going offensively,’€ Sox manager John Farrell said on Tuesday. ‘€œHe’€™s probably swung the bat a little bit more earlier in counts than we’€™ve seen in the past and that might be maybe some reflection of the current level of confidence. When he’€™s squared up some balls, he hasn’€™t seen the fruits of that too much. Like all players, they go through a little bit of a peak and valley and we’€™re trying to get him out of that right now. Fundamentally I can’€™t say it’€™s any one thing that he’€™s breaking down from a swing mechanic standpoint.’€

Wilson, who made his big league debut last year, has made eight scoreless appearances in Pawtucket this year, most recently when he recorded a season-high four outs on Monday. He’s struck out nine and walked five while showing an ability to get a considerable number of outs on the ground, effectively employing the two-seamer he developed last year while favoring his injured thumb that denied him his typical power on his four-seam fastball.

Victorino completed his third rehab game on Tuesday in Triple-A Pawtucket, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He has gone 1-for-11 with an infield single during his rehab assignment.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier
Rubby De La Rosa made his fourth straight dominant start in Pawtucket on Tuesday. (AP)

Rubby De La Rosa made his fourth straight dominant start in Pawtucket on Tuesday. (AP)

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

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 7-5 LOSS VS. BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)

(BOX)

– Dominance remained routine for Rubby De La Rosa. The right-hander fired another six dazzling innings, allowing one run on just three hits (all singles) while punching out seven and walking one. His control wasn’t as precise as it had been — just 53 of his 89 pitches (60 percent) found the strike zone — but he still managed to overmatch Buffalo, which couldn’t make any decent contact against him. He recorded eight outs on the ground, with a pair of double plays in the mix, and through his first four starts of the year, his performance has been the most impressive of any pitcher in the Red Sox system this year.

De La Rosa has logged at least five innings in each of his starts and has yielded no more than one run in an outing. He has walked two or fewer in all four of his starts, and now has 21 strikeouts (8.3 per nine innings) and just four walks (1.6 per nine innings) in 22 1/3 innings. Opponents are hitting .151 against him, with left-handed hitters experiencing only slightly less misery (.194/.256/.250) than their right-handed compatriots (.108/.150/.135). He has yet to give up a homer. Indeed, he’s given up only three extra-base hits — all doubles. He’s now recorded 56 of his 68 outs this year (82.4 percent) by strikeout or groundball.

He hasn’t just been beating his opponents. He hasn’t given them a chance. He’s shown a tremendous three-pitch mix (fastball, change, slider) that he can use to throw strikes. His pace, sometimes lethargic last year in a fashion so extreme that it raised questions about his focus, has picked up considerably this year, a sign of his growing confidence.

And so, at 25, he has made the most compelling case imaginable that he deserves a shot to start in the big leagues. He only needs to wait for the opportunity to present itself.

Shane Victorino, in the third and perhaps last game of his rehab assignment, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, and he’s 1-for-11 with an infield single in Pawtucket. However, he got tested by a number of plays in right field on Tuesday.

“He was tested out there in right field, having to run at those balls at the gap, being tested on the fly ball towards the line,’€ PawSox manager Kevin Boles told the Providence Journal. ‘€œTo see him move and react ‘€” there were a lot of positive signs out there.’€

However, it appears Victorino likely will have to wait at least one more day before a call-up, at a time when the Red Sox might need a pitcher.

Brandon Snyder, playing first base, went 2-for-4 with a pair of homers (his third and fourth of the year), marking the fourth multi-homer game of his pro career. Though he’s struggled to a .196 average and .283 OBP early, seven of his nine hits have been for extra bases, resulting in a .522 slugging mark.

– Left-hander Drake Britton fired a scoreless inning and didn’t allow a hit, but he continued his struggles with the strike zone. He walked a pair in his inning of work, and now has issued seven free passes (against eight strikeouts) in 10 1/3 innings.

– Right-hander Dalier Hinojosa was roughed up, allowing five runs (four earned) without recording an out. All five batters he faced reached base in a diverse array of ways: a single, double, triple, walk and error. He has a 6.48 ERA.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 5-3 WIN (11 INNINGS) AT BINGHAMTON (METS)

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– Feats of Mookie: Transcendence. Mookie Betts went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles, a pair of walks, a pair of steals and a pair of runs. One of the singles wasn’t terribly well struck, but still…

Betts has now reached in all 15 games this year after finishing 2013 by reaching in 30 straight regular season games. He is hitting .452 with a .500 OBP, .694 slugging mark, seven steals (in eight attempts), 10 extra-base hits and as many walks (7) as strikeouts (7). He’s doing this all at the age of 21, in a league where the average position player is in his age 24 season.

– Right-hander Aaron Kurcz, who missed all of 2013 following Tommy John surgery, made an impressive return to the hill, firing a shutout inning in which he recorded all three outs by punchout. In his first outing since July 21, 2012, he allowed one hit, walked none and threw 15 of 19 pitches for strikes. In 2012, the now-23-year-old — acquired from the Cubs as part of the compensation arrangement involving the departure of former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein — had an eye-popping 12.9 strikeouts per nine innings before his injury. Sea Dogs radio broadcaster Mike Antonellis reported that Kurcz was at 94-96 mph.

– Catcher Matt Spring had struck out in each of his first four plate appearances before launching a game-winning two-run homer in the 11th inning in his fifth trip to the plate. It was his first homer of the year.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: OFF DAY

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 4-2 LOSS VS. ASHEVILLE (ROCKIES)

(BOX)

– Center fielder Manuel Margot went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, and he’s now reached base multiple times in each of his last four games, going 5-for-13 with the two doubles, three walks and four steals. The 19-year-old has boosted his season line to .273/.333/.491 in the process.

– Shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin, 20, added to his impressive April by going 1-for-3 with a double, walk and steal. He’s managing his at-bats well, having walked more times (11) than he’s struck out. He has considerable speed, but has lacked assertiveness on the bases despite having a green light, with Tuesday’s steal representing his third in as many attempts this year, but his first since he swiped a pair of bases on Opening Day. Lin is hitting .280/.397/.340.

– For the first time in 14 games this year, 18-year-old Wendell Rijo did not reach base, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. It was the second three-strikeout game of his 68-game pro career.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier
Tim Wakefield discussed the Sox tough start to the season. He is optimistic that the guys can turn it around.

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The Red Sox will host the Yankees for the middle game of a three-game series Wednesday evening as John Lackey gets the nod against Michael Pineda.

When he takes to the mound on Wednesday, Lackey will look to break a recent streak in which he has given up six earned runs and picked up the loss in each of his last two appearances. Lackey’€™s last outing on Friday started out rough as he gave up a leadoff double to Baltimore’€™s Nick Markakis. Despite a replay that appeared to show the ball landing outside the line, the call on the field was upheld, and the Red Sox were down 1-0 by the end of the inning. The right-hander ultimately gave up six runs on 10 hits, four walks and six strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings in what became an 8-4 loss to the Orioles.

“I thought he had good stuff tonight,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the game (via MLB.com). “He managed their lineup with a couple of walks that were instead of giving in. They had a number of ground balls that found some holes; bunched some hits together. Doesn’t get a break in that first inning, on the double, then the infield base hit by [Adam] Jones. The [two runs in the fifth] inning, that was a little bit too much at that point to overcome.”

Lackey’€™s other six-run outing was against the Yankees on April 12. Lackey gave up 10 hits, four of which were home runs, in 5 2/3 innings. Carlos Beltran and Alfonso Soriano each had one homer against Lackey while Brian McCann went yard twice during the game. The 35-year-old has gone a career 10-11 with a 4.99 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP in 28 starts against New York.

Unlike Lackey, Pineda comes into the matchup having given up no more than one earned run in any of his starts this season. In his most recent outing, a tilt against the Cubs on April 16, Pineda gave up four hits and one walk with three strikeouts over six shutout innings on the mound.

Pineda created controversy in his last outing against the Red Sox, a 4-1 Yankees win on April 10, as he apparently had pine tar on his hand and arm. The 25-year-old gave up just one run on four hits with two walks and seven strikeouts during the appearance. The one run came off of a solo shot by Daniel Nava during the seventh inning. Before the 2014 season, Pineda only had one appearance against the Red Sox — a 4 1/3-inning loss in which he gave up seven runs on eight hits.

Yankees vs. Lackey (RHP)

Ichiro Suzuki (120 plate appearances): .292 AVG/.333 OBP/.372 SLG, 6 doubles, 1 HR, 7 RBIs, 6 walks, 16 strikeouts

Derek Jeter (79): .294/.377/.426, 6 doubles, 1 HR, 8 RBIs, 4 walks, 18 strikeouts

Mark Teixeira (78): .313/.410/.448, 3 doubles, 2 HR, 13 RBIs, 10 walks, 12 strikeouts

Brian Roberts (48): .267/.313/.311, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 3 walks, 6 strikes

Alfonso Soriano (45): .195/.267/.293, 1 double, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts

Brett Gardner (37): .324/.378/.471, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 4 RBIs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Kelly Johnson (18): .222/.222/.222, 2 RBIs, 3 strikeouts

Carlos Beltran (15): .167/.267/.500, 1 double, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

Jacoby Ellsbury (13): .308/.308/.308, 3 strikeouts

Brian McCann (3): .667/.667/2.667, 2 HR, 3 RBIs, 1 strikeout

Yangervis Solarte (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout

J.R. Murphy and Dean Anna are hitless in one and two at-bats, respectively, vs. Lackey.

Red Sox vs. Pineda (RHP)

Mike Napoli (6): .000/.333/.000, 2 walks, 1 strikeout

Dustin Pedroia is hitless in six at-bats vs. Pineda.

David Ortiz (5): .400/.400/.600, 1 double, 1 strikeout

A.J. Pierzynski (5): .200/.200/.400, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Xander Bogaerts (3): .667/.667/.667, 1 strikeout

Daniel Nava (3): .333/.333/1.333, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts

Grady Sizemore is hitless in three at-bats vs. Pineda.

Jackie Bradley Jr., has one walk and one strikeout in two plate appearances vs. Pineda.

Jonathan Herrera has two strikeouts in two at-bats vs. Pineda.

Blog Author: 
Meredith Perri

There was Jacoby Ellsbury, performing in familiar roles and familiar fashion.



Grady Sizemore contributed to a woeful defensive night for the Red Sox. (AP)

Grady Sizemore contributed to a woeful defensive night for the Red Sox. (AP)

While the Yankees flashed some leather in both the infield and outfield, the Red Sox‘ subpar defense played a critical role in their 9-3 defeat on Tuesday night.

Though Jon Lester wasn’t necessarily the recipient of a tough luck loss, shaky defense behind him led to a total of five unearned runs on the evening.

“Errors are part of the game, mistakes are part of the game, and tonight that hurt us,” Lester said. “Other nights, we’ve been able to make up for them or we were able to play exceptionally well. I’ll never fault a guy for making an error, I know that the effort is always there.”

With two outs in the fifth inning, Mike Napoli missed a line drive off the bat of Brian Roberts that was hit his way, resulting in an error and allowing a run to score. Right fielder Grady Sizemore then collected the ball and threw to home (though it was off the mark) while Brian McCann, who advanced from first to second on the error, strayed away from second base towards the dugout. The miscues opened the floodgates for the Yankees, who took advantage of the second chance and scored three more runs thanks to a two-run double from Ellsbury and an RBI single from Derek Jeter.

Napoli made no excuses for the misplay, assuring that the finger injury he suffered last week was not a factor.

“I just didn’t make the play,” Napoli said. “It was a little weird…McCann was on first, and I kind of lost it for a second. I thought I was on it but I have to make that play. That was a key situation in the game…It kind of disappeared on me for a little bit. I have to stick with it and see it into my glove.”

That error in particular served as a turning point in the game, since the Red Sox had scored two runs on back-to-back home runs from Napoli and David Ortiz in the bottom of the fourth to cut the Yankees’ lead in half. Lester could not record the final out of the inning, lasting just 4 2/3 and throwing 118 pitches.

“That’s why defense is important,” Napoli said. “You get off the field, Lester doesn’t have to throw extra pitches, you might get an extra inning or so [out of him]. That was a key time of the game and I’ve got to make that play.”

But poor defense was a theme throughout the entire evening.

Earlier, in the top of the third inning, the Yankees collected three straight doubles to lead off the inning, all of which were close to being outs. Center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. came within inches of nabbing a deep fly to center off the bat of Alfonso Soriano, but the ball bounced beside his glove.

“I felt like I was pretty close,” Bradley said. “It was one of those plays where you try to jump as high as you can and you probably take your eye off the ball at the last second as it’s coming down.”

Mark Teixeira then followed up with a bloop to right field that fell in between a triangle of Dustin Pedroia, Sizemore and Napoli and resulted in a run. Then McCann lined a shot to left that Jonny Gomes was unable to track down.

Catcher A.J. Pierzynski was the owner of the first of the Red Sox’ two errors on the evening, skipping a throw into center field in the first inning while trying to catch Jeter heading to second after a passed ball. It was Pierzynski’s second miscue of the season.

“I just tried to hurry and made a bad throw,” Pierzynski said. “It was a good read by Jeter, I was trying to make a play and I just short-hopped [Pedroia] and it went into center field.”

“Tonight, the ball gets away from him, he’s throwing off balance, ends up throwing it into center field,” manager John Farrell said of Pierzynski. “The only thing I can say to that is we continue to go through early work to get his footwork squared away.”

Without the solid gloves of Will Middlebrooks at third and Stephen Drew at shortstop and a constantly shuffled outfield alignment, inconsistent defense has plagued the Red Sox throughout the early going of 2014. Xander Bogaerts is still experiencing some growing pains at shortstop, while Bradley, Sizemore, and Daniel Nava have each played at least two different outfield positions, with Bradley and Sizemore each getting starts at all three. Prior to tonight, the Red Sox had the second-worst Defensive Efficiency Ratio in the American League at .682.

“We’ve given some extra outs,” Farrell said. “At this level, when you do that, you’re asking for trouble. It’s something we continue to address, work at internally. There’s not going to be wholesale changes made. We have to go out and execute with greater efficiency.”

The Red Sox might get some help in that department soon with the impending return of Shane Victorino. The right fielder might bring a little more stability to an outfield that looks different just about every night. Middlebrooks, who is working his way back from a calf strain, may provide a defensive upgrade over the combination of Jonathan Herrera and Brock Holt when he returns. While it’s hard to quantify the type of effect the less-than-stellar defense has had on the team’s record thus far, on a night like Tuesday night it’s easy to see the impact that a good defense can make.

Blog Author: 
Katie Morrison

The Red Sox thought that they might activate Shane Victorino from the disabled list as soon as Wednesday, following the third game of his rehab assignment in Triple-A Pawtucket (in which the outfielder went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts).

Right-hander Allen Webster could be brought up by the Red Sox on Wednesday. (AP)

Right-hander Allen Webster could be brought up by the Red Sox on Wednesday. (AP)

The Red Sox thought that they might activate Shane Victorino from the disabled list as soon as Wednesday, following the third game of his rehab assignment in Triple-A Pawtucket (in which the outfielder went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts). But with the Sox having gotten just 2 1/3 innings from Clay Buchholz on Monday and 4 2/3 frames from Jon Lester on Tuesday, the team felt that a taxed bullpen that had worked a combined 11 innings over those two games might require reinforcements. As such, manager John Farrell said that the team might consider a pitcher instead of activating Victorino on Wednesday.

“We’ve got to take a look,” said Farrell. “We may have a pitching move because of how deep we’ve had to go in the bullpen the last couple of days, so Shane is not a given for [Wednesday].”

If the Sox make a move for a pitcher, an obvious choice would right-hander Allen Webster, who is the scheduled starter for Pawtucket on Wednesday. Webster is on the 40-man roster, and he has some experience in the big leagues as a reliever at the end of last year. He could provide the Sox with length if they endure another game that requires the services of the ‘pen. The other option would likely be Alex Wilson, who pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings on Monday to give him eight scoreless appearances (spanning eight frames) this year in Pawtucket. Wilson would be able to give more than three outs, though he’s unlikely stretched out to the point of being able to provide long relief if needed, at a time when both Chris Capuano and Burke Badenhop likely will be unavailable.

None of the other options on the 40-man roster seem to fit for a one-day callup. Drake Britton pitched on Tuesday, making him a less-than-ideal callup. Brandon Workman started on Monday, so would not be a consideration. Anthony Ranaudo has never pitched in relief, and he’d be pitching on three days’ rest. Rubby De La Rosa — the best pitcher in Pawtucket to date — started on Tuesday night.

As for a move to open a roster spot for a pitcher and then Victorino, the Sox haven’t announced any decisions, but outfielder Daniel Nava met with Farrell behind closed doors following Tuesday’s game. Nava’s endured a season-long struggle, hitting .149/.240/.269, and he’s been out of the starting lineup in two of the last four games, including Tuesday night against right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.

“We’re trying to get him going offensively and [Jonny Gomes] gives us a little bit more of that right now,” Farrell explained before the game of the decision to start Gomes over Nava. “He’s probably swung the bat a little bit more earlier in counts than we’ve seen in the past and that might be maybe some reflection of the current level of confidence. When he’s squared up some balls, he hasn’t seen the fruits of that too much. Like all players, they go through a little bit of a peak and valley and we’re trying to get him out of that right now. Fundamentally I can’t say it’s any one thing that he’s breaking down from a swing mechanic standpoint.”

Nava has two options remaining, and so he can be sent down without exposing him to waivers.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

Johnny Damon had warned Jacoby Ellsbury before the game Tuesday that he would find out just how vicious Red Sox fans could be for leaving Boston for the Yankees.