Dustin Pedroia suffered what appeared to be a concussion Saturday night. (Getty Images)

Dustin Pedroia suffered what appeared to be a concussion Saturday night. (Getty Images)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — On the surface, anything that transpired on the west coast of Florida involving the Red Sox over the past few days would seem of little consequence. This was a team, after all, that after dropping a 4-3 loss to the Rays Monday afternoon had dropped to a season-worst 19 1/2 games out of first-place.

But there were some notable items that popped up since the summer started it’s annual punctuation Friday:

- Dustin Pedroia was elbowed in the head Saturday, didn’t play for three straight days, and finally explained his lot in life while exiting the clubhouse late Monday afternoon.

Since the incident that drove him from Saturday night’s game — a Logan Forsythe slide into second (click here to see the video)– Pedroia has been battling concussion-like symptoms. By the time he left Florida, the headaches had subsided, but there was still the kind of sleep deprivation (staying up until 4 a.m. Monday) that accompanies concussions.

He will continue to take tests before being cleared, although Pedroia did offer this analysis: “I’m feeling better. There’s a part where you feel normal and then they’ve got to take all these tests and stuff. I’ve got to pass them, which is kind of tough. I didn’t pass many tests in my schooling life.”

There was an outside chance Pedroia might be able to play in New York, but the likelihood is that his return will come back at Fenway Park. He did at least manage to get clearance for the plane from Tampa. “It’s a long drive back,” he noted.

- While Clay Buchholz was pitching one of his best games of the season Sunday afternoon, most of the attention was focused two hours down I-75 in Fort Myers. It was there Rusney Castillo was making his professional debut with the Red Sox, serving as designated hitter for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox.

The 27-year-old outfielder would play a total of two games for the GCL Red Sox, getting four at-bats during the team’s title-clinching game Monday while playing center field without a chance.

In all, Castillo went 1-for-5, ripping a single between third base and shortstop in his first at-bat, while also drawing a walk Monday. He was also thrown out attempting to steal after his base-hit Sunday. (Click here for a complete description of Castillo’s Sunday performance.)

The takeways: 1. Castillo is very fast, but the failed stolen base attempt against a pair of 19-year-olds (pitcher and catcher) suggests that timing might be a bit rusty; 2. He isn’t afraid to take some healthy cuts (see the first swing on his second at-bat); 3. He plays a very shallow center field (as noted by the Boston Herald’s John Tomase Monday).

The plan now is for Castillo to join Double-A Portland for its playoff game in Binghamton, N.Y. Wednesday before most likely meeting up with Triple-A Pawtucket later in the week.

- Speaking of Castillo, Red Sox principal owner John Henry shed some light in regards to the team’s approach to formulating their seven-year, $72.5 million offer to the outfielder when emailing WEEI.com. Henry revealed missing out on Chicago slugger Jose Abreu by just $5 million in ’13 pushed the Sox to go above and beyond this time around.

Henry wrote: “Yes, the financial aspects were impacted by coming close on Abreu. The White Sox did their homework.”

- While the attention was being heaped on the player many believe the Red Sox are counting on being their center fielder in 2015, the current player manning center — Mookie Betts — joined Buchholz in making the most positive impression over the weekend.

Betts went 6-for-16 with six RBI (4 of which came on his first-ever grand slam Friday night). He scored a team-high three runs, adding a much-needed presence on the basepaths while offering the impression of a more than capable outfielder.

Perhaps the most notable takeaway came in the form of manager John Farrell‘s confidence that Betts could handle the lineup’s leadoff spot, where he found himself Monday.

- Other than a deal that sent Kelly Johnson and Michael Almanzar to the Orioles for Jemile Weeks and Ivan De Jesus Jr., according to a source, the Red Sox didn’t come close to pulling the trigger on any other trades prior to the waiver trade deadline Sunday night.

Weeks had a rough debut with the Sox, getting picked off first by Tampa Bay reliever Grant Balfour in the 10th-inning with the game tied after coming in as a pinch-runner for Christian Vazquez.

“Oh, it’s definitely not a good feeling,” Weeks said. “It’s not the feeling you want. But like I said, I think the staff and everybody knows that we play the percentages there. He went completely against what he usually does. It’s not a good feeling. It’s nota good feeling. But you’€™ve got to get up and be ready to play tomorrow.”

- Koji Uehara still hasn’t pitched since Aug. 25 in Toronto. The Red Sox closer warmed up twice Monday, but never got in the game. He could be seen rubbing his shoulder after his last warm-up toss, but denied there was any such physical issue when asked after the game.

- The Red Sox are ready to go to a six-man rotation, with Brandon Workman and Anthony Ranaudo slated to join the team in New York. (Ranaudo was sent to Single-A Greenville in order to allow for a quick recall. And, yes, he actually did go to Greenville.)

- Despite Monday’s offensive struggles, the Red Sox actually hit .391 with runners in scoring position for the series, with Yoenis Cespedes going 3-for-3 in such situations.

Speaking of Cespedes, his throw almost cutting down Ryan Hanigan in the 10th Monday was the talk of the post-game. After a review, it was determined that the one-hopper was just a bit tardy. But what was perhaps most impressive was the accuracy. When asked about what he had improved on the most since arriving in the United States, Cespedes actually identified his throwing accuracy, saying he works on his four times a week.

He also explained the thought process behind throwing into the field like a softball pitcher on occasion, as was the case Friday night.

“I’€™ve been doing that for years,” he said of the unique throw. “I did at times last year, but really started messing around with it more this year. It’€™s just something fun to do. It’€™s a way to have fun out there.

“I just do it when it comes to me. I don’€™t plan it. When I was back in Oakland there would be times I would do it seven or eight times a game.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Rusney Castillo went 0-for-3 with a walk in Monday’€™s Gulf Coast League title game, making him 1-for-4 through two professional games and closing the book on his GCL stint.

Rusney Castillo went 0-for-3 with a walk in Monday’€™s Gulf Coast League title game, making him 1-for-4 through two professional games and closing the book on his GCL stint.

The Red Sox revealed Monday that Castillo will head to Double-A Portland Wednesday for the start of their postseason against Binghamton.

Castillo, whom the Sox signed to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract last month, went 1-for-2 Sunday as he made his professional debut. He was also thrown out stealing.

For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

Blog Author: 

(For the final month of the regular season, ‘€œClosing Time’€ will now be called ‘€œWhy you should have cared,’€ taking into consideration the team’€™s increasing distance from a .500 record.)

Mookie Betts had two hits out of the leadoff spot. (Getty Images)

Mookie Betts had two hits out of the leadoff spot. (Getty Images)

(For the final month of the regular season, ‘€œClosing Time’€ will now be called ‘€œWhy you should have cared,’€ taking into consideration the team’€™s increasing distance from a .500 record.)

Mookie Betts has ascended up the Red Sox‘€™ batting order in recent days, and his first tango in the leadoff spot suited him well in a 4-3 10-inning loss to the Rays.

Betts had hit eighth in nine straight games after his mid-August recall and was moved up to seventh for three straight before hitting second on Sunday. He found success in the leadoff spot Monday, going 2-for-5 with an RBI double and a run scored.

The run scored was a key one, as Betts, after singling in the top of the eighth with the Sox trailing down a run, was advanced to second on a groundout by Brock Holt and scored on a Yoenis Cespedes single.

Monday marked Betts’€™ second straight game with an RBI, as he contributed a run-scoring single in Sunday’€™s win over the Rays.

Here are some other things to care about as the Sox fell to 60-77:

- Mike Napoli hit a solo shot to left center in the bottom of the fourth to snap an 0-for-13 skid. With his 17th homer of the season, Napoli is closer to becoming the Sox’€™ second player with 20 home runs this season (David Ortiz leads the team with 30). Ortiz and Napoli were the only Sox hitters with 20 homers last season, which was the first time since 1997 that the Sox didn’€™t have at least three players hit 20 or more home runs.

- Though Napoli came through in the fourth, he struck out swinging to end the top of the eighth after Cespedes had tied the game.

- Cespedes displayed a rocket from left field as he tried to throw out Ryan Hanigan going for a double in the 10th, and though the ball got to second before the runner, Hanigan got his hand under the tag of Holt to reach second safely.

- Xander Bogaerts made a very strong play on a ball hit up the middle from James Loney in the bottom of the sixth inning. Bogaerts dove to knock the grounder down and recovered with a weak throw to beat the runner. The lack of zip on the throw didn’€™t ultimately hurt the Sox, as Loney does not get down the line well.

- Bogaerts doubled in the top of the fifth, but was thrown out attempting to steal third. He’€™s now been caught stealing three times this season while only successfully swiping two bases.

- Jemile Weeks was picked off of first base in the top of the 10th after he was put in to pinch-run for Christian Vazquez.

- Ruby De La Rosa allowed six hits and three earned runs while walking none and striking out four over 5 1/3 innings Monday. The showing was a step in the right direction after he had allowed seven hits and three earned in 4 2/3 innings in his last outing against the Blue Jays.

- Edward Mujica, who had allowed two hits and an earned run in two of his previous three appearances, threw a 1-2-3 eighth inning with two strikeouts Monday. Mujica had gone four straight appearances without allowing a hit prior to the aforementioned three-game stretch, so Monday’€™s outing is a step back in the right direction for the veteran reliever.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Dustin Pedroia, sidelined since displaying concussion-like symptoms after taking an elbow to the head during Saturday’s game, remained out of the lineup for Monday’s series finale with the Rays at Tropicana Field.

“A little bit better, and yet he still has some of the symptoms. So this is clearly a day-to-day thing,” manager John Farrell said of Pedroia, who was was hit by Rays baserunner Logan Forsythe on a play at second base. “We’€™re probably at least another day from any kind of exertion test or any kind of ramping up of the heart rate to see if there’€™s still some residual … but he’€™s sore where the impact took place on the side of the head. As I mentioned the other day, we’€™ll be cautious with this.”

The Red Sox next play a three-game series with the Yankees starting Tuesday, but Farrell implied that the team doesn’t expect Pedroia to play in the Bronx.

“I think if he returns at some point during the Yankees series, that’€™s optimistic,” Farrell said. “Not ruling it out. Dustin may have a different view of that right now. We still have to go through all the required steps, regardless of DL or not, and that’€™s documentation, that’€™s testing, that’€™s examination by medical people, doctors included. We’€™re in the midst of that.”

Brock Holt started a second base Monday for the second straight day. Mookie Betts was primarily a second baseman in the minors before transitioning to center field this year, but Farrell said the team has no plans to return the rookie to the infield now.

“No, because it’€™s been quite a while since Mookie has had any reps at second,” Farrell said. “He’€™s had a lot on his plate this year with defensive positioning and changes to it and don’€™t want to take him back and forth.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Mookie Betts continues his climb up the Red Sox batting order, as the rookie will bat leadoff in the finale of a four-game series against the Rays at

Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts

Mookie Betts continues his climb up the Red Sox batting order, as the rookie will bat leadoff in the finale of a four-game series against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Monday afternoon.

Betts batted seventh in the first two games, then was in the No. 2 slot behind Brock Holt on Sunday, when he collected a double and an RBI single in a 3-0 victory. He’s 4-for-11 with five RBIs in the series and now is batting .259/.344/.424 on the season (85 at-bats).

Holt, who leads the American League with a .364 average in day games (43-for-118), will bat second.

In the Labor Day matinee the Sox will attempt to slow down left-hander Drew Smyly (9-10, 3.31 ERA). Smyly, acquired from the Tigers in the David Price deal at the trade deadline, has won three straight with a 0.88 ERA over that span. In his last outing, Smyly allowed one run on two hits in a 3-1 victory at division-leading Baltimore on Wednesday. That was preceded by a complete-game two-hitter in an 8-0 win over the Blue Jays.

“This is probably one of the better stretches I’ve had as a starter,” he told MLB.com.

Smyly is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in four career appearances (two starts) against the Red Sox. David Ortiz is 4-for-7 against him.

On the hill for Boston is Rubby De La Rosa (4-5, 3.81 ERA), who allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings in the Red Sox‘ 11-7 victory in 11 innings over the Blue Jays last Tuesday. The right-hander has a 6.46 ERA over his last three starts.


Mookie Betts, CF

Brock Holt, 2B

Yoenis Cespedes, LF

Mike Napoli, DH

Allen Craig, 1B

Daniel Nava, RF

Will Middlebrooks, 3B

Xander Bogaerts SS

Christian Vazquez, C

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

A somewhat brief synopsis of the action in the Red Sox farm system over the weekend:



Right-hander Matt Barnes matched a season-high with 10 strikeouts. (Jillian Souza/Pawtucket Red Sox.)

Right-hander Matt Barnes matched a season-high with 10 strikeouts. (Jillian Souza/Pawtucket Red Sox.)

– Though right-hander Matt Barnes allowed five runs in seven innings on Saturday, he matched a season-high with 10 strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter. The outing was the fourth straight, fifth in six starts and sixth in eight starts that the 24-year-old pitched into the seventh inning, a noteworthy development for a pitcher who had struggled with his pitch efficiency in the past.

Barnes entered the All-Star break with a 4-7 record, 5.06 ERA, 6.9 strikeouts per nine and 3.7 walks per nine. In eight starts after the break, however, he went 4-2 with a 2.38 ERA, 7.8 strikeouts and 2.5 walks per nine. Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal explained that Barnes has been dialing back his fastball at times, working around 90-91 mph rather than reaching for velocity at all times, and it would appear that the improved second half numbers testify to the success of the approach.

– Left-hander Henry Owens allowed just three hits in six innings, though all were for extra bases (homer, two doubles) in a four-run yield. Still, the 22-year-old walked two and punched out nine, and though he’s shown some vulnerability to homers (four in 38 innings) and authored a modest 4.03 ERA since moving up to Pawtucket, he has also shown the ability to get swings and misses in volume, resulting in 10.4 strikeouts and 2.8 walks per nine while pitching at least six innings in five of six outings.

– Outfielder Bryce Brentz went 3-for-8 over the weekend, extending his streak of consecutive games reaching base to 15. He’s hitting .263/.373/.544 with seven extra-base hits, nine walks and 15 strikeouts during the run.

Alex Hassan went 3-for-3 with a walk on Sunday, giving him three three-hit games in his last seven contests. In 114 Triple-A games this year, he’s hitting .287/.378/.426.

Jackie Bradley Jr. went 1-for-8 with a walk and three strikeouts over the weekend. In 14 games, he’s hitting .212/.246/.273 with three walks and 18 strikeouts since being sent down to Triple-A.



Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez has been dominant in six starts for Portland. (Lynn Chadwick / Portland Sea Dogs)

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez has been dominant in six starts for Portland. (Lynn Chadwick / Portland Sea Dogs)

– Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez allowed one run on five hits in six innings, walking two and striking out four on Sunday, earning his third win with Double-A Portland — matching in six starts the number of victories he had in 16 starts with Double-A Bowie before the 21-year-old was traded from the Orioles to the Red Sox for Andrew Miller. Rodriguez has been as good as virtually any pitcher in the Sox system since his arrival, giving up no more than one earned run in any of his outings while pitching at least six innings in five of his six starts. The well-built, athletic left-hander has a 0.96 ERA with 39 strikeouts and eight wallks in 37 1/3 innings with Portland. With the playoffs looming, Rodriguez’s outing was cut short after just 70 pitches, but he flew threw six innings by virtue of a 73 percent strike percentage and an average of just 11.7 pitches per inning.

– Second baseman Sean Coyle went 2-for-4 with a homer and double on Saturday, with the longball giving him 16 for the year, matching a career-high from 2013 (though it took Coyle 37 percent fewer games to reach the mark in 2013 than 2014). The game improved his line to .294/.369/.511 for the year, a significant improvement from his .241/.321/.513 line of a year ago (albeit with less pure mashing).

But is he a clearly improved hitter? Coyle did drop his strikeout rate from 29.0 to 24.7 percent, meaning he struck out with roughly 15 percent less frequency than he did a year ago. (His walk rate also dropped slightly, from 10.7 to 9.7 percent.)

Still, the chief distinction between the 2013 and 2014 editions of Coyle came in the form of a batting average on balls in play that jumped from a career-low .275 to a career-high .361. Given that he’d never before had a BABIP above .317, it’s hard to imagine that Coyle’s line in 2014 is an accurate projection of his likely carer path. Still, it underscores the idea of what his upside can be in years where the stars align.

– Right-hander Justin Haley matched a pair of career highs by logging seven shutout innings and punching out nine batters on Saturday. He gave up four hits and a walk, and in six outings since his promotion to the Sea Dogs, the 23-year-old has a 1.19 ERA with 33 strikeouts and 16 walks in 37 2/3 innings while holding opponents to a .222 average. He’s pitched at least six innings in each of his six Double-A starts.



Right-hander Simon Mercedes closed out the regular season with one of his best outings of 2014. (John Corneau / Lowell Spinners)

Right-hander Simon Mercedes closed out the regular season with one of his best outings of 2014. (John Corneau / Lowell Spinners)

– Right-hander Simon Mercedes closed out the year with one of his best outings of the year, recording a career-high seven innings while matching another career-high with nine punchouts. He gave up four hits and walked two.

While Mercedes’ performance this year in High-A proved somewhat unimpressive, with a 5-10 record and 4.76 ERA, there were markers to suggest he still has considerable potential as either a starter or a late-innings bullpen arm. The 22-year-old punched out 7.8 per nine innings,and while his 4.0 walks per nine represented a higher-than-expected total, it reflected in no small part two starts in which he lost the zone and issued a total of nine walks in seven innings. And of the balls put in play against him, an impressive 52.6 percent were on the ground — where the vicissitudes of minor league infields and infielders turn what should be quick outs at the big league level into hits in the lower minors.

So, while it wasn’t the breakout year that some had anticipated when Mercedes was the head-turning performer on the back fields in spring training, there’s reason to believe that he wasn’t as far off from such a performance as his primary statistics might suggest.

– Right-hander Jonathan Aro, in his first start of the year on Saturday, allowed three hits over five shutout innings, walking two and striking out six. In seven games and 20 innings since his promotion from Greenville, the 23-year-old is 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA, 24 strikeouts and seven walks.

– Though Carlos Asuaje went just 1-for-9 over the weekend, it appears that word of his Salem exploits now has circulated throughout the Carolina League. He walked once in each of the three weekend games, and now has walked in five straight games as well as 11 times in his last 11 contests. In the process, he’s boosted his already impressive .310/.355/.517 line to marks of .325/.398/.517.

Pat Light threw a seven-inning complete game on Saturday, allowing one run on three hits while punching out two, getting seven groundball outs and not walking anyone. The 23-year-old finished the regular season with a 6-6 record and 4.93 ERA.

Jose Vinicio went 4-for-12 with a double over the weekend, boosting his line for the year to .264/.288/.320 on the strength of a stretch of a 14-game stretch in which he collected at least one hit in 12 games and multiple hits in nine contests. He’s hit .423/.426/.538 — though with no walks and nine strikeouts — during the stretch.

– In his only at-bats of the weekend following a tweaked ankle last week, Manuel Margot went 1-for-2 with a double and drove in three on Saturday. He’s hitting .333/.360/.556 with six extra-base hits in 15 games since his promotion from Greenville.

– Second baseman Reed Gragnani had multi-hit games on both Saturday and Sunday, going 4-for-9 with a walk and two triples over the weekend to push his average back up to .300 with a .409 OBP and .406 slugging mark. He has 64 walks and 51 strikeouts for the year, with his ability to put the ball in play, even with minimal power, clearly working in his favor over his first full professional season.

– Catcher Jake Romanski went 4-for-4 with a Salem-record four doubles on Sunday, with his 17-game Salem line jumping from .235/.250/.412 to .291/.304/.527.



Left-hander Trey Ball punctuated his second-half turnaround with six scoreless innings on Saturday. (Darrell Snow/Greenville Drive)

Left-hander Trey Ball punctuated his second-half turnaround with six scoreless innings on Saturday. (Darrell Snow/Greenville Drive)

– Left-hander Trey Ball wrapped up his first full pro season on Saturday with six shutout innings in which he allowed five hits, didn’t walk anyone and punched out five. The outing punctuated a strong finishing two-month kick that saw Ball permit two or fewer earned runs in nine of his final 11 starts, a stretch in which he went 4-3 with a 2.70 ERA, a stretch in which he punched out 6.8 batters per nine innings, walked 3.5 per nine and held opponents to a .195 batting average. The results, combined with a clean, repeatable delivery and the ability to use his 6-foot-6 frame to leverage a still-projectable low-90s fastball down in the strike zone give the Sox hope that Ball can still justify his status as the No. 7 overall pick of the 2013 draft. He finished his first full year with a 4.68 ERA in Greenville — a level where the organization’s top pitching prospect, Henry Owens, had a 4.87 ERA in his pro debut in 2012.

– Left-hander Daniel McGrath wrapped up his year with a two-run yield over six innings, marking the ninth time in 19 outings that the 20-year-old had delivered six or more innings. He had a solid rather than a spectacular year that was nonetheless noteworthy for its consistency, the product of being able to compete with three pitches (fastball, curve, change) that all have the definition of big league average offerings. McGrath held opponents to a .223 average while going 6-6 with a 4.07 ERA in 19 starts.



– Right-hander Reed Reilly, a 2014 seventh-rounder who is being moved from the bullpen at Cal Poly to the rotation as a professional, had a sharp outing on Saturday, tossing five shutout innings (the fourth time in five starts that he’d logged five innings) while allowing two hits, walking none and punching out four. He has a 3.89 ERA, 30 strikeouts and six walks over 39 1/3 innings in his pro debut.



– A little-noticed prospect named Rusney Castillo made his professional debut. Rob Bradford examines the obscure outfielder.

Javier Guerra went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles on Saturday, then walked in five plate appearances on Sunday. The four hits represented represented a season high and matched a career high, while the ongoing signs of the ability to drive the ball for extra-base hits suggests a potential separator that could make the 18-year-old a very intriguing shortstop prospect. Just six of the 22 shortstops in the big leagues this year with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title have a slugging percentage of .400 or better. Between the regular season and postseason, Guerra — signed in 2012 out of Panama — has a .435 slugging mark.

Rafael Devers went 1-for-5 with an opposite-field homer on Saturday (a game in which he flew out to center, left and right fields) and 1-for-4 on Sunday. The 17-year-old has eight homers in 72 games in a pro debut split between the DSL and GCL — and he led both affiliates in homers.

– Left-hander Dedgar Jimenez threw five innings in which he permitted one unearned run on two hits and a walk with three strikeouts to earn the win on Saturday. Just as was the case when he was named the organization’s DSL Pitcher of the Year in 2013, Jimenez has shown a willingness to attack and compete; he struck out 40 and walked just nine in 54 1/3 innings this year. In his 12 outings, he walked more than one batter just once.

– Outfielder Trenton Kemp went 3-for-7 with a homer and walk over the weekend; the 18-year-old is 6-for-12 in three postseason games.



– Center fielder Yoan Aybar went 3-for-4 with a double and triple on Saturday then went 1-for-4 with a double on Sunday. That followed a pro debut in which the athletic 17-year-old showed intriguing pop, with 21 extra-base hits in 56 games.

– Left-hander Enmanuel De Jesus navigated around four hits and two walks to throw 4 2/3 shutout innings, the 17-year-old’s fourth outing in five starts in which he didn’t give up an earned run. During that stretch, he has a 0.76 ERA.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier