After suffering a knee injury Wednesday night in Tampa, rookie outfielder Andrew Benintendi had a MRI Thursday morning to reveal the true extent of the damage.

Michael Kopech has been on a roll with High-A Salem. (John Wacher/Salem Red Sox)

Michael Kopech has been on a roll with High-A Salem. (John Wacher/Salem Red Sox)

1. Top pitching prospect Michael Kopech is dominating High-A Salem.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.23 ERA in 10 starts with the club and over the 51 1/3 innings pitched, he’s totaled 81 strikeouts. In his last start Wednesday night he went a career-high seven shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out 10, while walking two. Over his last five starts, in four of them he’s had 10 or more strikeouts.

While he’s dominating at this level, the Red Sox still want him to work on pitches other than his fastball, as while he can succeed in High-A with his high 90s fastball, it won’t work in Double-A, Triple-A and especially the majors.

“At that level you’re going to get by with velocity,” Red Sox minor league pitching coordinator Ralph Treuel said. “We’ve seen at the major league level you have to have that second and third pitch. Velocity is not enough and a lot of guys in the big leagues who are throwing in the mid-90s, they have to have something to complement the fastball. Otherwise, they aren’t going to get through the lineup more than one time.”

Given he missed the first two months of the season after breaking his hand during an altercation with a teammate during spring training, he hasn’t thrown as many innings as most other Red Sox starters. With this in mind, there’s a good chance he pitches in the Arizona Fall League.

It will give him an opportunity to work on his stuff, while going against perhaps better competition than he’s facing now.

“It continues to be the mix. Don’t just fire fastballs. Work on your secondary pitches. Keep working on the slider, which has really become a good pitch for him,” Treuel said. “The big thing for me is to use a changeup more often. Major league starters have changeups. He has to realize that and he does realize that and he has picked up the usage I think the last couple outings.”

Kopech has one of the best fastballs in minor league baseball, but as has been seen first-hand at the big league level with Joe Kelly, Kopech needs to develop another pitch/pitches to be successful.

2. Jason Groome made his professional debut on Monday with the Red Sox in the Florida Gulf Coast League. The tall left-hander started the game and tossed two shutout innings against the GCL Rays. Groome allowed just one hit — a two-out double — while not walking a batter and striking out three. He was on roughly a 35-pitch, 1-2 innings limit and came out of it as expected. He will start again Saturday in the GCL and is expected to be on the same pitch limit. The big picture plan remains for him to get to a point where he pitches in a game with short-season, Single-A Lowell this summer to get a taste of pitching in front of a crowd and in a stadium.

3. Michael Chavis, the Red Sox’ 2014 first-round pick, was promoted from Single-A Greenville to High-A Salem earlier this week. The third baseman was in his second full season in Single-A and even though he wasn’t putting up the greatest of numbers, it was time for him to get promoted and see what he can do at the next level. In 74 games with Greenville this season, he batted .244 with eight home runs and 35 RBIs.

4. With Chavis’ promotion, some expected Salem third baseman Rafael Devers, who has been on a tear the past two months, to get promoted to Double-A Portland, but that will not be the case, per source. First of all, the Sea Dogs have Yoan Moncada now manning third base and also, Salem is in the postseason and it’s important to the organization for players to get a feel for what it is like to play in the postseason. Devers will continue to get consistent playing time at third base and it appears Chavis will get his at-bats in the DH spot. Devers has been on fire in the second half, hitting .322/.364/.557.

5. Another thought with Chavis going to Salem, is the possibility of short-season, Single-A Lowell third baseman Bobby Dalbec getting promoted to Single-A Greenville. The fourth-round pick in this June’s draft is currently on an eight-game hit streak and is batting .450 over his last 10 games with four home runs. Overall, in 24 games with Lowell he is batting .385 with six home runs and 25 RBIs. It doesn’t seem like a promotion is imminent, but it certainly hasn’t been ruled out over the last few weeks of the season.

6. Starter-turned-relief Jake Cosart has made a very nice transition to his new role this season. With Single-A Greenville he was 4-1 with a 2.05 ERA over 29 outings spanning 52 2/3 innings, while striking out 76 batters. The 2014 third rounder was recently promoted to High-A Salem and has continued his success as the 22-year-old hasn’t allowed a run in 9 2/3 innings with Salem, while striking out 16.

“He’s got stuff,” Treuel said. “For him, he’s 95-100 mph. We’d like to see the breaking ball get a little better. He does throw a split that is serviceable — he has to refine a secondary pitch to be effective at the highest level.”

7. With Anderson Espinoza now a member of the Padres organization, the best pitcher in Greenville is likely Roniel Raudes. The 18-year-old, and youngest player in the South Atlantic League, is 11-5 with a 3.73 ERA while striking out 101 in 108 2/3 innings. Being so young and throwing over 100 innings, it would appear the organization is keeping an eye on his innings, as he was skipped this time through the rotation, but the team maintains it was just a skipped turn like they do with every starter during the season. In his last time out, he delivered one of his best starts of the season, going seven shutout innings, while walking one and striking out four.

8. Shaun Anderson, who was selected in the third round of this past June’s draft, didn’t get off to the best start in his pro career as he started two games and allowed nine earned runs in just 2 2/3 innings with short-season, Single-A Lowell. The University of Florida product has been back in the GCL for a few weeks working to get back to 100 percent, which is fairly normal for a college player going from relieving in college to now being a starter as a professional.

9. One player completely flying under the radar this season is right-hander reliever Victor Diaz with Single-A Greenville. Overall, he’s 2-5 with a 4.08 ERA over 34 appearances, but he’s been dominant of late. Diaz hasn’t allowed a run in his last 13 appearances, dating all the way back to July 8. In that time he’s thrown 20 innings and struck out 28 batters. He’s certainly a name to keep an eye on, as this has been a very impressive stretch.

10. Aside from a stinker of an outing his last time out, right-hander Justin Haley has been impressive in Triple-A Pawtucket. In his three starts prior to that, he tossed three straight shutouts — a six-inning shutout July 31, a seven-inning shutout Aug. 7 and an eight-inning shutout Aug. 12. Between Portland and Pawtucket this season, the 25-year-old is 12-8 with a 3.09 ERA. Haley is Rule 5 draft eligible after this season, so if he isn’t added to the 40-man roster he could be picked by any other team in the draft during the Winter Meetings. It doesn’t seem likely the Red Sox will add him to their 40-man at this point in time.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

Less than 18 hours after hitting his 30th home run of the season, David Ortiz will get the afternoon off in the series finale against the Rays.

Hanley Ramirez will be the DH in his absence, while Travis Shaw will play first base and Aaron Hill will play third base as the Red Sox go up against Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi.

David Ortiz

David Ortiz

Less than 18 hours after hitting his 30th home run of the season, David Ortiz will get the afternoon off in the series finale against the Rays.

Hanley Ramirez will be the DH in his absence, while Travis Shaw will play first base and Aaron Hill will play third base as the Red Sox go up against Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi.

Bryan Holaday will catch Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz.

Outfielder Andrew Benintendi predictably isn’t in the lineup after suffering a knee injury Wednesday night.

Here is the complete Red Sox lineup:

Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Mookie Betts, RF
Hanley Ramirez, DH
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Chris Young, LF
Aaron Hill, 3B
Travis Shaw, 1B
Bryan Holaday, C
Drew Pomeranz, LHP

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

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

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (68-62): W, 10-4, at Lehigh Valley (Phillies)

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

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (68-62): W, 10-4, at Lehigh Valley (Phillies)

— The PawSox offense was surging Wednesday night with Ryan LaMarre and Chris Dominguez each hitting two home runs. Both ended up with three hits on the night while LaMarre had four RBI and Dominguez had three. The 27-year-old LaMarre is hitting .305 in AAA this season through 77 games.

— Also with three hits and as many RBI was Rusney Castillo, who went 3-for-5 with a double.

— Making good use of the offensive help was starter Sean O’Sullivan, who climbed to 7-6 after allowing one run on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings of work. The 28-year-old righty has a 4.42 ERA with Pawtucket this season with a 1.31 WHIP and .287 opponents batting average.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (51-76): W, 10-7 vs. New Hampshire (Blue Jays)

— Cleanup hitter Nate Freiman crushed a three-run, walk-off home run to help Sea Dogs outlast the Fisher Cats in the rubber match of the series. The 29-year-old Freiman went 2-for-3 with a double and four RBI with the walk-off homer. He’s hitting .286 this season with 10 home runs in 80 games with Portland.

— Starter Kevin McAvoy went 6 2/3 innings, allowing six runs (three earned) on eight hits with a walk and three strikeouts in the no decision. The 23-year-old righty is 8-7 this season with a 5.54 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP.

— On top of Freiman, Ryan Court, Aneury Tavarez and Mauricio Dubon each had a pair of hits, with Court smacking two doubles and Tavarez driving in two runs.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (79-48): W, 9-1, vs. Potomac (Nationals)

— Michael Kopech was outstanding in his 10th start of the season for Salem, allowing no runs on one hit over seven innings with two walks and 10 strikeouts. The No.5 Red Sox prospect on MLB.com, the 20-year-old is 4-1 with a 1.23 ERA, a 0.94 WHIP and .144 opponents batting average. Over his last five starts, in four of them he’s had 10 or more strikeouts.

— Rafael Devers had a tough night at the plate, going 0-for-5

— With the exception of Devers, every Salem hitter had at least one hit, with Jose Sermo leading the charge offensively, going 3-for-4 with a solo shot in the fourth inning. Jayce Ray drove in three runs and scored one himself in a 2-for-4 effort.

— In addition, each batter except Devers had at least one run scored.

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (67-61): W, 8-2, vs. Augusta (Giants)

— The Drive scored seven runs in the first two innings and that was they needed in their route of the GreenJackets.

— Offense came from multiple sources, as leadoff man Luis Alexander Basabe 2-for-5 with a double, Josh Ockimey went 2-for-4 with a three-run home run in the first inning, and Kyri Washington went 3-for-3 with a triple an RBI and a run scored.

— On the mound, starter Daniel Gonzalez was solid over six innings, allowing two runs, one earned, on five hits and as many strikeouts with one walk. Gonzalez climbed to 4-5 on the season with the win. The 20-year-old righty has a 3.98 ERA and 1.25 WHIP.

— The bullpen help of Marc Brakeman and Gerson Bautista allowed a combined two hits and no runs, while Bautista struck out three.

SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS (38-26): L, 5-3, vs. Vermont (Athletics)

— The Spinners watched a six-game winning streak slip away, as they allowed three runs in the fifth inning to push the Lake Monsters ahead to what proved to be an insurmountable lead.

— Starter Dakota Smith got saddled with the loss, allowing four runs, two earned, over five innings of work. He allowed six hits with four walks and a pair of strikeouts. The loss brings the 23-year-old righty to 3-2 with a 1.82 ERA.

— Tyler Hill, Jerry Downs and Yoan Aybar were the source of offense for the Spinners, each driving in a run.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

The Red Sox will wrap up their four-game series with Tampa Bay on Thursday afternoon by sending Drew Pomeranz to the hill to face right-hander Jake Odorizzi.

With the Sox, Pomeranz is 2-2 with a 4.23 ERA and a 1.357 WHIP in seven starts. Overall with Boston and San Diego, Pomeranz is 10-9 with 2.95 ERA and a 1.140 WHIP in 24 starts. He picked up his second consecutive win last Saturday with a 3-2 victory over the Tigers. In the outing, the southpaw pitched five innings, allowing just a solo home run, four hits and no walks with three strikeouts. Pomeranz left the game after five innings because of a rain delay that lasted over a hour.

In two games (one start) as a member of the Athletics, Pomeranz went 1-0 against the Rays. In his lone start vs. the Rays in 2014, Pomeranz pitched five scoreless innings, giving up only three hits and two walks with three strikeouts in a 3-0 Oakland win. He last saw the Rays in relief appearance in 2015. In that showing he pitched two-thirds of an inning, allowing a double while recording one strikeout.

Odorizzi is 8-5 in 26 starts with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.211 WHIP. On Saturday against the Rangers, Odorizzi pitched six innings, allowing one run, six hits and one walk with four strikeouts in an 8-2 Rays win.

“It was a tight game for a while, and [Odorizzi] pitched really well to keep it right there,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said (via MLB.com).

When asked what was working for him in that start, Odorizzi said, “A little bit of everything, really. I can’t pinpoint one thing that was working. I just had to battle, feel the situation out. They did a great job of fighting off some pitches, so I was just going with whatever we felt in the moment.”

Since the All-Star break, the righty has yet to lose a start in seven outings while posting a 1.64 ERA.

In 10 career starts against the Red Sox, Odorizzi is 2-3 with a 4.36 ERA and a 1.267 WHIP. On July 10 he pitched five innings, allowing four runs, six hits and one walk with four strikeouts in his team’s 4-0 loss.

Red Sox vs. Odorizzi (RHP)

Xander Bogaerts (25 plate appearances): .389 AVG./.480 OBP/.667 SLG, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 3 RBIs, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts

David Ortiz (24): .182/.250/.364, 1 double, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts

Dustin Pedroia (19): .316/.316/.579, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 2 strikeouts

Mookie Betts (18): .333/.444/.400, 1 double, 1 RBI, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts

Brock Holt (16): .267/.250/.667, 1 double, 1 triple, 1 home run, 4 RBIs, 5 strikeouts

Jackie Bradley Jr. (10): .100/.100/.100, 3 strikeouts

Chris Young (9): .333/.333/.778, 1 double, 1 home run, 1 RBI, 1 strikeout

Sandy Leon is 1-for-6 with 1 double, 1 walk and 2 strikeouts.

Travis Shaw is 3-for-7 with 1 double and 1 strikeout.

Hanley Ramirez is 2-for-5 with 1 double and 2 RBIs.

Aaron Hill is 0-for-2 with 1 strikeout.

Rays vs. Pomeranz (LHP)

Matt Duffy (10 plate appearances): .222 AVG./.300 OBP/.222 SLG, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Logan Forsythe (9): .250/.333/.250, 1 walk

Logan Morrison is 1-for-6 with 2 strikeouts.

Brad Miller is 2-for-5 with 1 home run and 1 RBI.

Evan Longoria is 0-for-2 with 1 strikeout.

Kevin Kiermaier is 0-for-1 with 1 strikeout.

Bobby Wilson is 0-for-1 with 1 walk.

Blog Author: 
John Hand

Drew Pomeranz has no plans on drawing back on his innings this season. (Bob Mackson/USA Today Sports)ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Drew Pomeranz doesn't even want to entertain the idea of drawing back. No innings limits.



The Red Sox lost a game in horrible fashion, but that might not have been the worst takeaway from Wednesday’s 4-3 walk-off loss to the Rays.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — With his backpack finally filled up and thrown over his shoulders, Andrew Benintendi started his long walk out of the visitors’ clubhouse Wednesday night. This time, however, it was a lot longer, and a lot more painful, than when he entered.