The Red Sox and White Sox walked each other all night Thursday and it was brutal.

Fortunately for the visitors, however, none of the nine free passes handed out by Boston pitchers led to Chicago runs as the Red Sox took a 7-3 win at U.S. Cellular Field. The game, which saw the teams combine for 16 walks, gave the Red Sox the series victory in their three-game set in Chicago.

Joe and Tim are in Chicago where the Red Sox are playing the White Sox and Commissioner Manfred stops by the booth for half an inning.

[0:00:00] ... George Red Sox bottomless that we are thrilled to have the Commissioner of Baseball where this mr. rob Manfred. Great to see you sir are ...
[0:00:33] ... is really great to hear him. And you didn't Q&A with the White Sox employees to this woman think you do you think your round. Yeah I had a really full day today I did. Session with the White Sox please. If that session was their season ticket holders to won't with the local press. Two putt cancer radio show the TV ...
[0:01:53] ... inside ball far. The seventeenth and walked for Lari this season for Jeff Garcia played the last four days because of a sore hamstring. I consistently. We're in charge of well labor negotiations say your previous role what we had labor peace since 1994 here. About the contracts coming. I've got what were robbed were hard at work and a project already I have to say. You know our lead negotiator data element Tony Clark from the players' association. Worked out pretty aggressive schedule. Negotiating sessions and you know got you she's out of the table. I ...
[0:06:16] ... to sixteen. Two out and Lowrie walked still a first base. 21 Red Sox in the second inning. On just by knowing that he throws to first run defense thing. There's the mantra of throw that ...

The Red Sox waited until batting practice to clear center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to start and bat ninth against the White Sox on Thursday.

Bradley injured his right ring finger diving back into third on a pickoff attempt in Wednesday’s victory over the White Sox. He had the finger wrapped at BP on Thursday and took his round of hitting before getting the OK to start.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

The Red Sox waited until batting practice to clear center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to start and bat ninth against the White Sox on Thursday.

Bradley injured his right ring finger diving back into third on a pickoff attempt in Wednesday’s victory over the White Sox. He had the finger wrapped at BP on Thursday and took his round of hitting before getting the OK to start.

He’ll be joined in the lineup by first baseman Hanley Ramirez, who missed Wednesday’s game with flu-like symptoms. Ramirez is back and batting fifth.

Had Bradley not been able to go, manager John Farrell told reporters in Chicago that Mookie Betts would’ve slid over to center, with Brock Holt in right and Chris Young in left.

Here’s the lineup, with lefty Henry Owens on the hill:

RF Mookie Betts
2B Dustin Pedroia
SS Xander Bogaerts
DH David Ortiz DH
1B Hanley Ramirez
3B Travis Shaw
LF Brock Holt
C Ryan Hanigan
CF Jackie Bradley Jr.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase
Left-hander Trey Ball missed most of spring training following knee surgery in February. (Darrell Snow/Greenville Drive)

Left-hander Trey Ball missed most of spring training following knee surgery in February. (Darrell Snow/Greenville Drive)

1. Left-hander Trey Ball didn’t think anything was wrong.

He felt something in his right knee for about a month beginning roughly following the New Year, but didn’t think anything of it as it wasn’t too painful, just a loose, aggravating feeling. Ball wasn’t concerned as he felt it would go away.

Then at the beginning of February after running one day it hurt again, but the feeling went away the next day. He told the Red Sox trainers about it and after they examined the knee, it was determined minor surgery was needed.

The 2013 No. 7 overall pick had surgery in early February to repair a small tear in his meniscus and was forced to miss almost all of spring training.

The Red Sox didn’t rush anything with him as he went through the normal progression of a pitcher and continued to throw in extended spring training games when the rest of the minor player league players left for their respective affiliates at the beginning of April.

After a few outings in extended spring training games, Ball made his 2016 debut last Saturday with High-A Salem, where he spent all of last year. The 6-foot-6 lefty went four innings, allowing two runs on three hits while walking three and striking out five. Although it wasn’t game number-wise, Ball was just glad to be back on a mound in a real game.

“Everything felt normal,” Ball said. “I’ve had zero problems since getting back on the field, which I am happy about.”

2. With Ball being the No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 draft, a lot was expected of him, but it’s important to realize he was a two-way player in high school, playing center field half of the time. It wasn’t until the summer of 2013 when he started pitching full-time.

Given the lack of experience compared to others, he’s just now discovering exactly how to pitch and use all of his pitches. Ball spent a lot of time during the offseason watching video of his past outings and felt he learned a great deal from doing so.

“I think I’ve grown a lot,” Ball said. “Being able to watch video of how I did in years past and what I am looking to do this year, I think it’s really helped me a lot with the visualization of it. It’s putting things into perspective and really helping my pitches. To be able to have the idea is really helping me.”

The last time High-A Salem manager Joe Oliver saw Ball pitch was early in 2014, but he observed a completely different pitcher last Saturday.

“A lot of it is the experience and maturity finally starting to take root,” Oliver said. “It’s a shame that he was set back about a month with his knee surgery. You’re starting to see secondary pitches starting to improve and be crisper. He’s pitching with a lot more confidence out there. I hadn’t been around him a whole lot in spring training, but did see him briefly in extended spring training in 2014 and I’ve seen a different pitcher than what I saw a couple years ago.”

3. Andrew Benintendi has opened the season with High-A Salem hitting in 22 straight games, a Salem record, which has caused some to wonder when he might be promoted to Double-A Portland.

Typically, promotions within the Red Sox minor league system don’t occur until about the All-Star break, but no one has really opened a year like Benintendi has. It’s still worth noting it’s been just a month and no substantial internal discussions have been had about promoting him as of earlier in the week.

Oliver laid out a few reasons why staying patient and not pressing with a player can pay off, especially on a team with as many talented players as Salem has.

“I think it’s to continue to build the confidence and the momentum for when it’s time to move,” Oliver said. “Also, you look at the need ahead — is there really a great need? There are things you need to take and look at the overall picture. I think right now as far as moving people up, I mean it’s up to the organization to decide if it is the right time and the right place for the player, but you also take a risk of maybe moving somebody not on such a good ballclub or maybe a ballclub that might not be a big impact if you just add one guy. Is it going to be beneficial to move two or three, and it might change the culture of a team.

“As of right now, looking at this ballclub, it’s nice to see these core players winning and tasting what winning is like and playing together and kind of building some continuity. You look at this group and they are probably going to be advancing through the system together. I think if you’re able to keep that group together for an extended period of time, they become more comfortable with eachother and they play better offensively and defensively.”

Perhaps, the Red Sox will promote both Yoan Moncada and Benintendi to Portland together, as Moncada is off to a tremendous start as well. Looking at the Portland roster, there aren’t any outfielders Benintendi would likely be behind and Moncada would be competing with Wendell Rijo at second base.

The Red Sox may also want to look to Jackie Bradley Jr. — also a college draftee like Benintendi — and not make the same mistake they made with him by promoting him too quickly. Like Benintendi, Bradley Jr. started with Salem in his first full season with the organization and was promoted to Portland after 67 games in 2012. But then the center fielder skipped Triple-A all together and made the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster in 2013, which proved to be a mistake as he clearly wasn’t ready for major league pitching and bounced back and forth between Triple-A and the majors, likely hurting his development.

Oliver pointed to the consistent playing time his players are getting as being beneficial in their development. He also added just because a player has a lot of success at one level, it isn’t always guaranteed to carry over to the next.

“I think right now, the players that I have here kind of benefit them with more playing time and more at-bats at this level and build off of it and hopefully take it to Portland or to Pawtucket, whatever the case may be,” he said. “If there becomes a need, they have a lot more foundation to fall back on. A lot of times you can push guys too quick and as well as they were doing at one level, it might disappear at the next level. Anytime you move up you’re going to play against a better group of athletes and the challenge may be greater.”

4. Benintendi isn’t the only former college player in his first season in the system starting the year in Salem, as right-handed pitcher Travis Latkins is doing the same. He was taken in the fourth round out of Ohio State in last year’s draft, but only made one outing with Lowell as the organization monitored his work load.

Latkins was a bit surprised skipping Greenville, but said it showed the organization believed in him.

“It was surprising,” Latkins said. “I thought I was going to Greenville, but I had a good spring and things started to fall into place.”

“It meant a lot to me,” he added. “It showed they had a lot of confidence in me and they were ready to see what my talent could do and what I could do at a higher level. It really meant a lot.”

Through five games this year, the right-hander is 3-1 with a 2.13 ERA while striking out 27 in 25 1/3 innings. Latkins said the key to his success is re-discovering his changeup.

“I had it my freshman year in college and then I kind of lost it my sophomore year. I don’t know what it was,” he said. “I kept it for the rest of college, but it wasn’t really working. Then I got here and it all of a sudden came back for some reason. Ever since I have been throwing it here it’s gotten better and better each time.”

5. It doesn’t appear pitcher Michael Kopech is close to joining an affiliate after he broke his hand in an altercation with a teammate during spring training. Although Kopech began throwing about two weeks ago, it’s just been playing catch to this point and there isn’t a timetable for when he might begin throwing in an extended spring training game, or get out of Fort Myers all together.

Kopech is coming off a 2015 season which saw him miss the majority of the second half after he was suspended 50 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. He was selected in the first round of the 2014 draft and has a fastball that tops off in the high-90s. He’s one of the best pitchers in the Red Sox’ farm system, but just hasn’t pitched enough to truly showcase his talent.

6. Moncada hit his first home run of the season — a grand slam in Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader, totally clearing the scoreboard in right field at Salem’s Lewis-Gale Field. It came from the left side of the plate for the switch-hitting second baseman. According to Salem’s director of broadcasting and media relations Kevin Burke, Trackman stats revealed the grand slam left the bat at 107 mph and went 448 feet.

It was one of the longest home runs Oliver has ever seen.

“I’ve never seen a ball — and I have only been here a short period of time — he cleared the scoreboard here,” Oliver said. “I’ve only seen one or two balls — one in a game that Devers hit the scoreboard and I think one or two in batting practice — but [Moncada] cleared the whole thing. We were all talking as a group about how his approach in batting practice has been staying center of the field and driving the ball the opposite way and working on trying to use the whole field with his approach. He hit that ball about as far as you can hit a baseball.”

7. Rain outs have been a big story with the Red Sox’ farm system to begin the 2016 season. Pawtucket had two rain outs in the first month. Portland has had one rain out so far this year. Salem has had three, including back-to-back days earlier this week and Greenville has had two.

With how much pregame work goes on at the minor league level, rain outs and then doubleheaders to make the games up can impact some of the work that goes on with individual players before games.

“There are times where a rain out is pretty welcome when you’re in one of those long stretches and need a break, but obviously just a couple of weeks into the season, you want to get these guys into a routine and get some quality work in to get these guys going,” Single-A Greenville manager Darren Fenster said. “When they come early it kind of prevents us from getting the work in that we need to. The comfort of them getting into a routine may take a little bit longer, but it’s part of the season.”

Having two rain outs on back-to-back days was especially difficult for Salem as it needed to move things around so the players could get some work in. The last thing Oliver and his staff wanted was to have three days in a row without the team getting any work done.

“It takes away a lot of your pregame routine just because of the length of the day,” Oliver said. “[Tuesday] we were able to get some extra work in with the infielders — get them out here earlier, but low key and not make it an intense work out. Just work on fundamentals and basics. We’ve had two rain outs back-to-back days and you have to push the envelope to try and get work in because you don’t want to go three days in a row without getting work in.”

8. After barely making the Opening Day roster, but not getting a chance to play and thus being sent down to Pawtucket after a week and a half, Rusney Castillo hasn’t done much with the opportunity to play almost every day. Through 16 games, the left fielder is batting just .234 with five RBIs. The least encouraging thing is he’s slugging just .281 with three doubles and no home runs.

The Red Sox have also converted Blake Swihart and Marco Hernandez to left field, which perhaps is an indication the organization may not believe in Castillo as much as it did when they signed him to a seven-year, $72.5 million deal in 2014.

9. Converting Jake Cosart from a starter to a reliever seems to have been the right move as the right-hander has performed well through the first month of the year with Single-A Greenville. In eight games, he has a 2.70 ERA, but the most impressive thing is he has 21 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings. He’s started to be put in high leverage situations and may even get the chance to close soon, as his high-90s fastball and emerging split-finger fastball could be deadly. (To work on the splitter, he’s stopped throwing a breaking ball for now.)

“It’s been a good transition for him,” Fenster said. “We’re definitely easing him into it. I think the first couple of innings were short one-inning stints and starting a clean inning. As this kid gets some innings under his belt, he’s had a handful of two-inning outings and eventually he’ll have an opportunity to close a game out to see how it takes. He’s done a good job of coming in and attacking the strike zone with a very good fastball.

“He has as quick of an arm as you’re going to see. It’s a matter of him being able to repeat what is a pretty max-effort delivery and being able to repeat that to command the fastball. He’s working on a split-finger fastball and that will hopefully help his regular fastball play up a little bit.”

Added Fenster: “You don’t see many comfortable swings against him.”

10. Salem third baseman Rafael Devers is going through the toughest stretch at the plate of his career. He’s opened the season batting just .144 in 24 games. He has shown flashes of breaking out of it and getting back to his 2014 form with seven extra-base hits and 12 RBIs, but overall he’s still adjusting to the better pitching compared to Single-A.

Oliver was quick to point out even though the 19-year-old — and one of the youngest players in the league — is struggling at the plate, he hasn’t let it carry over into the field.

“I think right now he’s starting to understand a little bit more about the pitching he’s seeing at a higher level,” Oliver said. “Pitchers are commanding pitchers a little better. They are pitching him away and he’s having to make adjustments on being able to cover pitches out over the plate. He can’t be so pull conscious. He’s working daily with hitting coach Nelson Paulino. He’s starting to feel a little bit more comfortable and confident driving the ball to left-center and center field.

“He’s making improvements and I think the biggest thing that I’ve seen is it hasn’t effected his defense. Typically when a young player struggles offensively, he usually takes it out to the field and he struggles defensively, but that hasn’t been the case. He’s actually played even better defensively and has shown extreme focus being able to leave the at-bats on the bench and play really clean defense.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

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

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (13-13): W, 7-2, at Lehigh Valley (Phillies)

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

Chris Marrero

Chris Marrero

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (13-13): W, 7-2, at Lehigh Valley (Phillies)

— Trailing 2-0 going into the eighth inning, the PawSox scored seven runs in the final two innings, including five in the ninth to come away with the win to even their record at .500. Chris Marrero had the big hit in the eighth — a two-RBI single. He finished the game 3-for-5 with 4 RBIs.

— Catcher Dan Butler also had a solid day at the plate as he went 2-for-3 with a double.

— Blake Swihart, playing left field, went 1-for-3 with two runs scored, and so did first baseman Sam Travis. It was an off-day for Rusney Castillo.

— It was a strange day for starter Brian Johnson as it was uncertain if he would start at all because of the weather. He did start, but was removed after one inning and 28 pitches. He walked three batters and allowed two runs. The team said afterwards it wasn’t injury-related. In five games this season he’s 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA, but has 14 walks in 21 innings.

— Roman Mendez picked up the win as he tossed three scoreless innings of relief.

Jake Romanski

Jake Romanski

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (8-18): L, 6-3 (rain-shortened), vs. Binghamton (Mets)

— The game was called after seven innings due to rain. Binghamton scored all six of its runs in the final three innings of action. Ty Buttrey delivered one of his better starts of the season, as the right-hander went five innings and allowed two runs on six hits while walking a batter and striking out two. His ERA is now 4.09 on the year.

— In relief of Buttrey, Nik Turley took the loss as he allowed four runs in just 1 2/3 innings.

— Catcher Jake Romanski has carried over his hot start into May, as he went 2-for-3 in the game. For the season he’s batting .348.

— Outfielder Bryce Brentz went 1-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored. He’s still on the Red Sox’ 40-man roster, but has battled injuries for seemingly the last three years. With Portland this year he’s batting .194. It’s likely he will be promoted to Pawtucket soon as sort of one last chance to show what he has. He’s known for his power — something the system lacks — but just hasn’t been on the field enough to showcase it.

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (18-8), W, 9-2, vs. Carolina (Braves)

— Yoan Moncada scored a career-high four runs in his first three-hit game of the season in Salem’s win. He also stole a base, which was his Carolina League-leading 19th of the season. Moncada is now batting .348 on the year with 10 extra-base hits and 14 RBIs at the top of the Salem batting order.

“I want to steal 100 bases,” he said via “That’s just the way I am. I like being aggressive on the basepaths.”

— Another game, another monster night for Andrew Benintendi. The center fielder went 2-for-4 with a triple to extend his hit streak to a Salem record, 22 straight games. For the season, he’s batting .376 with 19 extra-base hits and 25 RBIs in 25 games. Of his 38 hits, exactly half have gone for extra bases.

— Dedgar Jimenez got the win on the mound as he tossed six scoreless innings.

— Salem has now won seven straight games for the second time this season.

Mitchell Gunsolus

Mitchell Gunsolus

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (12-12): W, 6-4, vs. Augusta (Giants)

— Greenville got great performances from the mound from all three pitchers in the win. Starter Marc Brakeman went five innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on eight hits to pick up the win. Jake Cosart came on following him and tossed two innings, allowing a run. Five of his six outs were recorded via strikeout. Bobby Poyner closed his fourth game of the year with two scoreless innings following Cosart.

— As a team, Greenville pounded out 15 hits. It was led by third baseman Mitchell Gunsolus and DH Joseph Monge, who each had three hits in the win. One of Gunsolus’ hits was a homer.

— Luis Alejandro Basabe, Kyri Washington, Austin Rei and Jeremy Rivera all had multi-hit games as well.

— Greenville got good production from the bottom of its order as Nos. 7-9 hitters went a combined 7-for-12.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Henry Owens

Henry Owens

The Red Sox close out their series with the White Sox on Thursday by sending lefty Henry Owens out against right-hander Erik Johnson, who was just called up from Triple-A.

Owens (0-0, 4.82 ERA, 1.92 WHIP) has made two starts for the Red Sox since his call-up from Pawtucket, and while he has no record to show for it, Boston won both games. After lasting just 3 1/3 innings and allowing three runs on five hits with four walks and four strikeouts in an April 24 game against the Astros, Owens faced the Yankees last Friday and went six innings, giving up two runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts.

Owens has not yet faced the White Sox in his 13-game MLB career.

Johnson, a second-round pick of the White Sox in 2011 out of the University of California, was called up this week when the team decided to cut ties with veteran left-hander John Danks.

In four starts this season with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights, Johnson is 1-1 with a 3.74 ERA and 1.38 WHIP.

The 26-year-old has started 16 games for the White Sox split almost equally over the last three seasons, compiling a record of 7-4 with a 4.17 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. Last year he went 3-1 with a 3.34 ERA and 1.40 in six starts, covering 35 innings.

His lone appearance against the Red Sox came on April 15, 2014, when he pitched 6 2/3 innings and allowed one run on three hits and two walks with nine strikeouts but did not factor in the decision. Chicago eventually walked off with a 2-1 win, with the winning run scoring on a throwing error by Xander Bogaerts with two outs in the ninth inning.

Erik Johnson

Erik Johnson

Red Sox vs. Johnson (RHP)

Xander Bogaerts is 0-for-3 with 2 strikeouts.

David Ortiz is 0-for-3 with 1 strikeout.

Jackie Bradley Jr. is 0-for-2 with 1 walk.

Ryan Hanigan is 1-for-1, with an RBI single.

White Sox vs. Owens (LHP)

Austin Jackson is 1-for-3 with 2 strikeouts.

Jerry Sands is 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

Clay Buchholz claimed his first win of the season Wednesday night.</p>
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David Ortiz continues to amaze.

The 40-year-old designated hitter has already announced this season will be his last, but at this rate, the Red Sox may refuse to accept his retirement.