ARLINGTON, Texas – A few weeks ago, it wouldn’t seem to be a plausible conversation, keeping Sandy Leon on the major league roster when Ryan Hanigan was healthy enough to return.

But that’s exactly the discussion taking place with Hanigan’s return nearing.

Sandy Leon

Sandy Leon

ARLINGTON, Texas – A few weeks ago, it wouldn’t seem to be a plausible conversation, keeping Sandy Leon on the major league roster when Ryan Hanigan was healthy enough to return.

But that’s exactly the discussion taking place with Hanigan’s return nearing.

The problem for the Red Sox is that they can’t attempt to send Leon back to the minors without putting him on waivers, with the 27-year-old catcher not possessing any more options. It was a maneuver the Sox were forced to execute with Leon last season, with the catcher clearing waivers and returning to Triple-A Pawtucket.

This time, with Leon hitting .545 with a 1.343 OPS in his nine games, the move would be appreciably riskier.

“We don’t want to lose him. He’s doing a great job,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell, adding, “I think there were a number of us who felt like we wouldn’t see him again. He did get through and thankfully he re-signed with us even after the end of the season. And as we’re seeing now, he’s proving to be a valuable player for us.”

Farrell noted that Hanigan (who is coming back from a neck injury) would have to catch back-to-back games of nine innings at Triple-A Pawtucket before returning.

And while Blake Swihart is expected to return from his injured ankle in about a month, catching doesn’t appear to be part of the equation when he comes back due to the nature of his injury.

That leaves Leon, Hanigan and Christian Vazquez, who does have options and came into Saturday night’s game hitting .215 with a .557 OPS.

But it has been the turnaround by Leon, who was hitting .243 with a .655 OPS in 36 games with the PawSox before his promotion, that has shaped the debate.

“Probably confidence,” said Farrell of the difference in Leon this season. “I can’t say that the swing has changed all that much. He’s not missed pitches when they’ve been on the plate. He’s shown some discipline at the plate, even some borderline pitches [Friday] night when he takes. I think he’s just come up and he’s jumped in and gotten a couple of key hits. I’m sure that’s boosted his confidence even further.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

ARLINGTON, Texas — With the Red Sox bullpen having to pitch 6 2/3 innings Friday night, manager John Farrell needed some arms for Saturday. That’s why William Cuevas has made the trip to Globe Life Park.

The Red Sox recalled Cuevas to help out the Red Sox relief corps, sending infielder Deven Marrero to Triple-A Pawtucket.

William Cuevas

William Cuevas

ARLINGTON, Texas — With the Red Sox bullpen having to pitch 6 2/3 innings Friday night, manager John Farrell needed some arms for Saturday. That’s why William Cuevas has made the trip to Globe Life Park.

The Red Sox recalled Cuevas to help out the Red Sox relief corps, sending infielder Deven Marrero to Triple-A Pawtucket.

The 25-year-old Cuevas made his major league debut earlier this season on April 21, allowing two runs on three hits in 2 1/3 innings.

He has been pitching as a starter for the PawSox, going 4-3 with a 3.30 ERA in 12 outings. Cuevas last pitched Sunday, allowing two runs over 5 1/3 innings.

Marrero appeared in four games with the Red Sox since being recalled, collecting one hit in seven at-bats.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Here is a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (38-37): L, 8-5, vs. Scranton/Wilkes Barre (Yankees)

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Here is a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday.

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (38-37): L, 8-5, vs. Scranton/Wilkes Barre (Yankees)

— It was a wild game as the PawSox rallied from 3-0 and 5-3 deficits, but eventually fell in 10 innings as Scranton/Wilkes Barre hit back-to-back-to-back solo home runs off reliever Robby Scott in the 10th inning to hand the PawSox the loss. It was the first time Pawtucket has allowed back-to-back-to-back home runs since such records were first kept in 1977.

— Roenis Elias didn’t have his best performance from the mound. The left-hander allowed five runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. He walked three, struck out three and also surrendered three home runs. He’s now 4-3 with a 3.93 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP in 11 Triple-A games this season.

— Brock Holt and Ryan Hanigan continued their rehabs with the PawSox. Holt played seven innings in left field in his fourth rehab game. He hit the ball hard, but went 0-for-4 at the plate lining out in each of his first two at-bats.

“Holt did a nice job and he was encouraged about his day today,” said manager Kevin Boles via MiLB.com. “He got challenged four times out in the outfield, had a real clean break on a ball and had good closing speed on a ball coming in.”

Hanigan played five innings at catcher in the second game of his rehab assignment and went 1-for-2 with a hit by pitch. Behind the plate he picked a runner off and also threw out a runner trying to steal second.

“He looked good and caught well,” said Boles.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (26-46): L, 11-3, vs. Reading (Phillies)

— Despite 15 hits from its offense, Portland managed just three runs as it went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

— Yoan Moncada went 2-for-5, which included his first career Double-A home run. Since joining the Sea Dogs earlier this week, he’s 4-for-19 (.316) with four RBIs.

— Andrew Benintendi went 3-for-5 with a double. He’s been swinging a hot bat of late as he has multi-hit games in five of his last eight. In his last 10 games, he’s batting .317 with eight RBIs.

— Mitch Atkins struggled on the mound as he lasted just 3 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs on 10 hits, while walking one and striking out five. Taylor Grover then would allow three runs over the next 2 2/3 innings of work.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (43-26): Suspended due to rain vs. Frederick (Orioles)

— The teams were to play two games Friday, one being the completion of Thursday’s suspended game, but they could only play a few innings as the first game was called in the bottom of the fifth inning after a strong storm came through the area. The game will be resumed at the point of interruption on Saturday where they will play nine innings and will be followed by another game, which will be shortened to seven innings.

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (38-33): W, 6-5, vs. Lakewood (Phillies)

— Trailing 5-3, Greenville scored two runs in the sixth and another in the seventh to come away with a one-run win. Designated hitter Kyri Washington was the offensive star as he went 2-for-4 with two home runs. A 23rd-round pick in last year’s draft, now has 11 homers in 49 games this season with the Drive.

— Luis Alexander Basabe also homered. He went 1-for-4 with two RBIs in the win.

— Reliever Jake Cosart got the win as the right-hander went 2 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits and striking out one in picking up his third win of the year.

— Adam Lau got the save going 1 2/3 innings, allowing one hit and striking out three.

SINGLE-A (SHORT SEASON) LOWELL SPINNERS (8-0): W, 2-1, at Hudson Valley (Rays)

— The Spinners kept on rolling as they picked up their eighth straight win to start the year as two runs in the fourth would be all the would need.

— Left fielder Tyler Hill went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI to pace the offense, while third baseman Andy Perez went 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI to account for the second Spinners run.

— Enmanuel De Jesus went seven strong innings allowing one run on two hits, walking one and striking out five to pick up his second win of the season.

— Casey Janssen, who recently signed a minor league contract with the organization, allowed a hit and struck out two in an inning of work. It was Janssen’s first appearance with the Red Sox. The plan is after a few outings with the Spinners, he will join Triple-A Pawtucket.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Following the Red Sox’ dramatic victory in the series opener in Texas, Boston will hand the ball to Steven Wright while the Rangers send right-hander A.J. Griffin to the mound Saturday night.

Wright is 8-4 with a 2.01 ERA and 1.098 WHIP. His ERA is fourth best in the majors and leads the American League. Wright is tied for the American League with three complete games and is first with an average of seven innings per start. He is on pace to throw 230 innings in the regular season, which no Red Sox pitcher has done since Pedro Martinez in 1998. Wright has taken precautions to try to preserve his arm.

“I’m trying to cut my bullpen sessions down, but I don’t want cut my bullpen sessions down, but I don’t want cut it down so much where I don’t feel like I’m working,” Wright told the Providence Journal. “The days I’m not on a mound, I don’t do as much long toss because I don’t really feel like I need it at this point. I’m not really going to gain any more arm strength.”

Baseball fans have taken note of Wright’s performances this season and that has generated conversation about him possibly starting the All-Star Game.

On Monday against the White Sox, Wright pitched nine innings, allowing one unearned run, five hits and three walks with six strikeouts in a 10-inning, 3-1 Red Sox loss.

Wright has faced the Rangers once, in 2015. In that start, the 31-year-old knuckleballer went 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs (two home runs), five hits and one walk with four strikeouts in a 7-4 Sox loss.

Griffin is 3-0 in six starts with a 2.94 ERA and a 1.129 WHIP. Saturday’s start will be Griffin’s first since being put on the disabled list with shoulder stiffness on May 8. In a rehab start in Double-A last Sunday, the 28-year-old threw five innings, allowing two runs (one earned), three hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. It was his third rehab start. In Griffin’s last major league start on May 7 against the Tigers he lasted just 2 2/3 innings before leaving with the injury, allowing three runs, four hits and three walks with two strikeouts.

Griffin is 2-1 in four career starts against the Red Sox with a 3.60 ERA and 1.000 WHIP. His last start against Boston came in 2013 when Griffin was a member of the Athletics. In that outing, Griffin went eight innings, allowing no runs, six hits and one walk with three strikeouts in a 3-0 Oakland win.

Red Sox vs. Griffin (RHP)

David Ortiz (10 plate appearances): .375 AVG./.500 OBP/.875 SLG, 1 double, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (10): .100/.100/.100, 1 RBI

Rangers vs. Wright (RHP)

Adrain Beltre is 0-for-3.

Shin-Soo Choo is 0-for-2 with 1 walk and 1 strikeout.

Prince Fielder is 1-for-3.

Robinson Chirinos is 0-for-2.

Mitch Moreland is 0-for-2.

Blog Author: 
John Hand

ARLINGTON, Texas — A year ago, Cole Hamels’ future was the hottest topic in baseball.

The then-Phillies pitcher represented one of the trade deadline prizes, with the Red Sox linked to the lefty for more than a year. In the end, however, the Rangers reeled in Hamels, an acquisition that has paid off handsomely for Texas.

Cole Hamels says he would have come to the Red Sox if a deal was struck. (Tim Heitman/USA Today Sports)

Cole Hamels says he would have come to the Red Sox if a deal was struck. (Tim Heitman/USA Today Sports)

ARLINGTON, Texas — A year ago, Cole Hamels’ future was the hottest topic in baseball.

The then-Phillies pitcher represented one of the trade deadline prizes, with the Red Sox linked to the lefty for more than a year. In the end, however, the Rangers reeled in Hamels, an acquisition that has paid off handsomely for Texas.

According to Red Sox sources, roadblocks impeded the pursuit of Hamels. Besides Philadelphia’s steep asking price, some in the organization believed Hamels’ ability to block a trade to Boston was complicating matters.

But talking to WEEI.com prior to Friday night’s game against the Red Sox, Hamels said the no-trade clause wouldn’t have been an issue. (He did block a deadline deal to Houston, and didn’t have to approve the trade to Texas.)

“It was a team I would have played for,” Hamels said.

According to the 32-year-old, he never got the impression that a deal sending him to the Red Sox was realistic.

“Truthfully, no, because our general manager never made any effort toward it and never really talked about it,” Hamels said when asked if he ever thought he would be headed to Boston. “That’s obviously behind closed doors because I didn’t know what was going on. But my feeling was it happened when it happened because that’s when they wanted it to happen. If there was any indication it would have happened earlier, the Red Sox were probably the only team at that time. But all indications implied they weren’t going to make that sort of effort.

“I’m sure everybody is open to the Red Sox. You see the guys they have. They have guys. I think the value that they put on me and the value that they wanted in return I think were non-talking points for the Red Sox. Both sides didn’t have to change, and why would they.”

When asked when he got the vibe that the Phillies and Red Sox weren’t going to be matching up, Hamels said, “Before spring training (2015).”

The Red Sox wisely held on to some of the foundation players then-Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro was asking for. (Which Amaro has since publicly acknowledged since.) And Philadelphia ended up with a very respectable haul from the Rangers, trading Hamels for top prospects Jorge Alfaro and Jake Thompson, along with pitcher Matt Harrison.

It played out as Hamels predicted, with the Red Sox never matching up with Amaro and the Phillies. Since being dealt, the southpaw is 15-2 with a 3.19 ERA with the Rangers.

“I never got that sense,” said the pitcher regarding the Red Sox having a realistic chance at making the acquisition. “Normally you have kind of a gut instinct. But the Phillies could do whatever they wanted, and the Red Sox could do whatever they wanted. I don’t think they were anywhere close to even attempting. I got that feeling. If you’re not close you don’t try to force it, and they weren’t going to force it.

“I think when play with an organization long enough you understand what they need and the direction they were going to go. You understand they need X, Y, and Z for a person like me. Obviously, I know what baggage I was carrying with contracts and this and that. There are just a lot of moving parts. Even though we’re baseball players we’re pretty intelligent in the baseball world and understand what it would takes. You kind of realize that it’s a lot more difficult than what it really is. You just kind of have to go off of that.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Jackie Bradley Jr.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

ARLINGTON, Texas – Jackie Bradley Jr. already had quite a night.

In the sixth inning, he had launched his 13th home run of the season. And then in the ninth inning Bradley Jr. led off with a walk and scored via Sandy Leon’s two-out triple.

But the outfielder’s greatest accomplishment might have been predicting one of the Red Sox’ most improbable home runs of the season — Mookie Betts’ game-tying, two-out blast in the ninth.

According to Bradley Jr., that’s exactly what happened.

“That guy, man. I called it,” said Bradley Jr. of Betts after the Red Sox’ 8-7 win. “I hate to take a lot of credit, but I called it. In that situation, it was big. It was a big swing from a big-time player. He’s a play-maker.”

So, what made the center fielder so confident his teammate would come through?

“Why? You have the play-maker at the plate,” Bradley Jr. explained. “It was just something that I was feeling. If you don’t believe me you can ask Rick [Porcello]. He was to my right. He’ll vouch for me.”

And, sure enough, Porcello did confirm the prediction.

It was arguably the biggest home run, and best prognostication of the season.

“It was one of those things where everybody was feeding off one another,” Bradley Jr. said. “It got to the point that in your mind it felt like you were going to win that game.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford