The Red Sox have activated outfielder Shane Victorino from the disabled list after the outfielder missed most of two months with hamstring and back injuries. To clear a spot on the roster, the Sox optioned Mookie Betts back to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he will play center field, right field and some second base.

For more on both players, click here.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier
Rubby De La Rosa

Rubby De La Rosa

The Red Sox continue their three-game series with the Royals at Fenway Park Saturday when they send Rubby De La Rosa to the mound against Danny Duffy.

De La Rosa (2-2, 2.89 ERA) was effective in an outing in which he was limited to just 84 pitches over five innings last Wednesday after pitching for Triple-A Pawtucket three days prior. He gave up three runs on six hits and no walks for a no-decision in an eventual 5-4 Red Sox win over the White Sox. De La Rosa’s start may have been stronger if it weren’t for the solo home runs he surrendered in the first and second inning.

“When you miss a location, you pay the price,” De La Rosa said after the game.

De La Rosa’s outing was strong enough to keep him in the rotation for his first start after the All-Star break. Saturday will be the right-hander’s first-career start against the Royals. His only appearance against Kansas City came in a one-inning relief appearance last season. He gave up a pair of solo home runs in the inning.

Duffy (5-9, 2.76 ERA) has been more reliable for the Royals this season than his win-loss record indicates. The lefty started the season in the bullpen while still re-establishing himself after 2012 Tommy John surgery, but he has proven to be an effective starter since cracking the rotation. Duffy has allowed three runs or fewer in seven of his last eight starts, but has lost his last two.

Duffy got a bad break in his most recent outing last Saturday. He allowed two runs (one earned), five hits and no walks to go with six strikeouts over six innings, but was outdueled by Anibal Sanchez in a 2-1 loss to the Tigers.

Saturday will be Duffy’s first start against the Sox since May 8, 2012. He gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings in a no-decision. Duffy is 0-1 with a 7.07 ERA in three career starts against the Red Sox.

Royals vs. De La Rosa (RHP)

Danny Valencia (4 plate appearances): .000 AVG/.000 OBP/.000 SLG, 1 strikeout

Danny Duffy

Danny Duffy

Raul Ibanez (3): .333/.333/.333

Billy Butler hit a solo home run in his lone plate appearance.

Alex Gordon, Omar Infante and Mike Moustakas are all hitless in their lone plate appearances.

Red Sox vs. Duffy (LHP)

Dustin Pedroia (8 plate appearances): .429 AVG/.500 OBP/.857 SLG, 1 triple, 1 double, 3 RBIs, 1 walk

David Ortiz (5): .600/.600/1.200, 3 doubles, 3 RBIs

Mike Napoli (4): .667/.750/2.000, 1 HR, 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Jonny Gomes struck out in both of his plate appearances.

Blog Author: 
Nick Canelas

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

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 4-3 WIN VS. BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)

(BOX)

Alex Hassan

Alex Hassan

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

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 4-3 WIN VS. BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)

(BOX)

– Outfielder Alex Hassan homered for the fourth straight game, going 1-for-3 with a walk and his sixth longball of the year. He’s amidst a few impressive streaks, among them, including a 12-game hitting streak and a 21-game streak of games in which he’s reached base via hit or walk. Since rejoining Pawtucket on June 10 following the first big league stint of his career, Hassan is hitting .374/.459/.661 with five homers and 22 extra-base hits in 31 games. He has an extra-base hit in 10 of the last 11 games.

– Outfielder Shane Victorino went 1-for-4 with a double while playing seven innings, giving him three hits in the last two rehab games (all against right-handed pitchers). The Red Sox will check in with Victorino on Saturday to see if he’s physically ready for activation from the disabled list.

– Third baseman Will Middlebrooks had an eventful rehab game, going 0-for-2 with an almost-three-run-homer that was instead brought back into the park by a leaping outfielder for a sacrifice fly and getting hit by a pitch that nearly incited a brawl. The plunking on the arm was delivered by Esmil Rogers, the same right-hander who ended Middlebrooks’ rookie season in 2012 by breaking his wrist with a fastball. According to the Providence Journal, Middlebrooks slammed his bat to the ground by home plate and expressed his displeasure with what he deemed to be an intentional pitch to Rogers.

‘€œHe didn’€™t mean to hit me [in 2012],’€ Middlebrooks told the Journal. ‘€œI didn’€™t agree with tonight just because there was a base open, he missed me and then he hit me. I didn’€™t agree with that. I thought that was bad baseball. I’€™m not a guy to charge the mound, especially here. I’€™m here trying to get my innings up, not trying to fight people. It [ticked] me off, yeah’€¦ He should carry himself better than that. Think his emotions just got the better of him.’€

– Right-hander Steven Wright allowed three runs on three hits (including a solo homer and double) by the time he’d gotten through just six outs, but the knuckleballer then settled to retire 17 of the last 19 batters he faced, permitting just one more hit (a single) with another batter reaching on an error. Wright totaled eight innings — his third straight outing of eight frames — in which he allowed the three runs on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts. He has a streak of five straight starts and seven of eight outings in which he’s worked at least seven innings, and in nine starts on the year, he has a 5-1 record, 2.21 ERA, 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings and 2.1 walks per nine, with Triple-A opponents hitting just .188 against him.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 7-4 LOSS AT NEW HAMPSHIRE (BLUE JAYS)

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Derrik Gibson, in his first start back in Portland following a brief promotion to Pawtucket at the end of the first half (Gibson was sent back to Portland during the break in time to participate in the Double-A All-Star Game), went 3-for-4 with a walk, and is now hitting .321/.411/.429 on the year in Portland.

– Third baseman Michael Almanzar went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk, his third straight game with an extra-base hit. Prior to the streak, the 23-year-old had just two extra-base hits in his first 13 games back with Portland.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 4-2 LOSS VS. FREDERICK (ORIOLES)

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– Right-hander Joe Gunkel pitched a career-high 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits (one double) while walking two and striking out three. In six starts with Salem following his promotion, Gunkel hasn’t been as dominant as he was in Greenville — opponents have a .270 average against him in the Carolina League, in contrast to a .149 mark in the South Atlantic League; his strikeouts per nine have dropped roughly in half from 10.9 to 5.5; his ERA is up from 2.28 to 3.86 — but he’s been consistently solid at the higher level, attacking the strike zone and permitting just 2.5 walks per nine, keeping the ball in the yard (1 homer in 32 2/3 innings) and often on the ground and competing well.

Nick Moore, serving as DH in his first game since a promotion from Lowell, went 1-for-4 in his High-A debut. The 21-year-old hit .254/.275/.492 with three homers and nine extra-base hits in 17 games with the Spinners.

SINGLE-A GRENVILLE DRIVE: RAINED OUT VS. ASHEVILLE (ROCKIES)

SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS: 11-2 WIN AT BATAVIA (MARLINS)

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– For the third straight start of his pro career, right-hander Kevin McAvoy delivered a pair of scoreless innings. The fourth-rounder, who turns 21 on Monday, tossed a pair of perfect innings with two strikeouts. In six professional innings, McAvoy has allowed three hits, walked none, struck out five and gotten nine groundball outs.

Sam Travis had his second three-hit game in three contests and his third multi-hit day out of his last four games, going 3-for-6 with a double. The 20-year-old has reached base in 11 straight games, boosting his season line to .297/.333/.405.

Danny Mars went 3-for-5 with a double. The 20-year-old has hits in 14 of his 17 games en route to a .386/.463/.557 line. Though the switch-hitter’s double on Friday came against a lefty, he’s produced more robust numbers against righties (.447/.500/.617, compared to .261/.393/.435 against lefties).

ROOKIE LEVEL GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX: 4-2 LOSS VS. GCL TWINS

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Ryan Lavarnway, on the 60-day disabled list after suffering a fractured hamate in June, went 1-for-3 with a double while serving as DH.

– First-round pick Michael Kopech tossed two no-hit innings, allowing a walk and striking out two. The hard-throwing right-hander has recorded nine outs in his first two pro games, four by strikeout and four by groundball.

Javier Guerra saw his 14-game hitting streak come to an end when he struck out as a pinch-hitter for Lavarnway. The 18-year-old is hitting .325/.342/.494.

– First baseman Josh Ockimey went 2-for-4 with a double, his fourth multi-hit game in 10 contests this month.

DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE RED SOX: 10-2 WIN AT DSL CARDINALS

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– It was Groundhog’s Day for left-hander Jhonathan Diaz, who had his second straight start of five shutout innings in which he allowed two hits on two walks while striking out five. The 17-year-old is now 4-2 with a 1.74 ERA and 2.2 walks per nine innings along with 7.2 punchouts per nine.

– Outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe went 3-for-5 with a double, triple and walk. Both extra-base hits came against right-handers, with the 17-year-old switch-hitter now in possession of a .315/.462/.568 line against righties and a .179/.219/.179 line against lefties.

– Center fielder Yoan Aybar went 2-for-5 with a steal. He now has three multi-hit games in his last four contests, helping to boost the 17-year-old’s line to .314/.369/.475 with 14 extra-base hits in 31 games.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

According to a team source, the Red Sox are cautiously optimistic that right fielder Shane Victorino will be ready for activation on Saturday against the Royals.

Shane Victorino may be activated on Saturday. (AP)

Shane Victorino may be activated on Saturday. (AP)

According to a team source, the Red Sox are cautiously optimistic that right fielder Shane Victorino will be ready for activation on Saturday against the Royals. Manager John Farrell told reporters on Friday night that Victorino would be examined at Fenway Park on Saturday to verify that he’s ready to return from the D.L.

Victorino went 1-for-4 with a double while playing seven innings in his second of back-to-back games with Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday, and he was 3-for-8 over the two games (with all three hits coming against right-handed pitchers). The 33-year-old has played in just 21 games this year, spending the majority of the year on the sidelines in two separated disabled list stints for hamstring strains, the second of which was complicated by back discomfort. Victorino is hitting .242 with a .276 OBP and .352 slugging mark, and given the fitful nature of his season, the Sox have rarely benefited from the dynamic player who impacted the game in numerous ways last year.

“We’ve missed his energy. We’ve missed his talents, his in-game decision, his instincts on the basepaths — we’ve missed a very good player for the majority of the year,” said Farrell, who added that it wouldn’t be a surprise if Victorino requires some time of readjustment at the major league level before he achieves familiar levels of production given the amount of time that he’s missed.

If Victorino is activated, the Red Sox, according to an industry source, are expected to create a roster spot by optioning Mookie Betts back to Triple-A. Though hitting just .235 with a .278 OBP and .382 slugging mark, Betts has shown flashes of a far-reaching skill set. Yet he’s played in just 10 games in the three weeks since his promotion from Triple-A, and concerns about both the need for his playing time and a desire for Betts to gain further comfort in the outfield (where his routes are, unsurprisingly, a work in progress given that he has spent less than two months in the outfield as a pro) point to the merits of sending Betts back down.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier
Xander Bogaerts got on-base a total of three times Friday night, spurring the Sox to a 5-4 victory. (AP)

Xander Bogaerts got on-base a total of three times Friday night, spurring the Sox to a 5-4 victory. (AP)

There seemed to be only one emotion conveyed on Xander Bogaerts‘€™ face as he rounded the bases following his fourth-inning home run Friday night:

Relief.

After trudging through a miserable 14-for-121 slump that sapped his average from  .304 on June 3 down to .235 on July 13, Bogaerts finally broke through his six-week downturn in a major way, blasting a timely two-run home run and reaching base a total of three times en route to a 5-4 Red Sox victory over the Royals.

It seemed as if the Red Sox were on their way to another disappointing defeat Friday night, trailing Kansas City by a score of 4-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning before Bogaerts stepped to the plate.

With Daniel Nava leading off first base, Bogaerts turned on a 85 mph cutter from Royals starter James Shields, depositing the 1-1 offering into the center field bleachers for his seventh home run of the season, cutting the deficit to just one run.

It was Bogaerts’€™ first home run since June 13 against the Indians, snapping a career-high 89 at-bat homerless spell. That same home run against Cleveland also marked the last time that Bogaerts had gotten an extra-base hit before Friday’s contest.

“€œThat was pretty good, the inside of the ball,”€ Bogaerts said after the game. “€œI was trying to hit something the opposite way, my bat just rolled over a lot of stuff and that’€™s a bad feeling. But I’€™ll take that every day.”

Bogaerts, who’€™s round-tripper helped pull Boston right back into the game , was the first of two home runs in the inning, as Jonny Gomes lofted a sinker from Royals southpaw Scott Downs into the same area of the bleachers for a two-run, pinch-hit home run that would give the Red Sox a 5-4 lead that they would not relinquish.

It was a refreshing sight to see Bogaerts play a key role in the Red Sox victory. After all, correlating success to the 22-year-old slugger’€™s performances as of late has been hard task to accomplish.

For most of the first half of the season, Bogaerts was every bit the player that both wowed many during Boston’€™s World Series run in 2013 with his disciplined approach at the plate and was viewed as a favorite to capture the AL Rookie of the Year Award.

As late as June 7, Bogaerts was fourth in the American League in on-base percentage (.387) and second amongst AL rookies in batting average (.299) and first in hits, doubles and walks.

What followed was the roughest stretch that the young third baseman/shortstop has ever endured during his brief tenure in the majors.

Over the next 29 games following June 7, Bogaerts posted a discouraging line of .103/.140/.131 with just 5 RBIs. His usual refined and patient approach at the dish was also lost, as Bogaerts struck out 32 times during that run -€“ accounting for over a quarter (29 percent) of his at-bats during that period of time  -while only walking five times.

If tonight’€™s performance serves as any indication, it appears that Bogaerts may finally begin to emerge from his recent spell. However, Bogaerts said that he did not change his approach at the plate both during the last month and half and on Friday.

“I just go out there and try to play the best I can and help the team win, that’€™s all I try to do,”€ Bogaerts said.

“€œHopefully this gives him a chance to breathe a little bit,”€ said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “It’€™s the first extra-base hit in a while and hopefully it allows him to see some of the work that he’€™s been doing pre-game and the video work and the countless conversations with [hitting coach Greg Colbrunn], with [assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez]. To see it play out with the timely home run, it should be a boost for him.”

Friday’€™s encouraging win does not take away the Red Sox still have the odds stacked against them in terms of playing October baseball this season. Boston still sits8 1/2 games behind Baltimore and have just a 7.3 percent chance of making the playoffs.

However, a rejuvenated Bogaerts might just be the trump card the Red Sox need to make a memorable postseason push.

“It’€™s a good opportunity for us to gain a lot of ground and we’€™ll just take it day by day, game by game and hopefully we come out on top,”€ Bogaerts said.

Blog Author: 
Conor Ryan

Jonny Gomes' pinch-hit, two-run homer was the decisive blow for the Red Sox Friday night. (AP)You will be hard-pressed to find anybody in the Red Sox clubhouse who will admit it.



ROB BRADFORD

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Jonny Gomes joined Joe & Dave after the win, in which his pich homer gave the Sox the lead.

[0:00:07] ... all time Red Sox page home runs with 61 behind number one Ted Williams. Yeah I guess rumor has it that. You know let me know and I'm not trying to chase to -- and that ...
[0:01:00] ... and from that that's -- there. What's your basic approach when you pinch hit did Johnny is some guys like -- the first mention other guys like to wait. -- the -- correct book was out you know you know that we'll be written but I tell you what you know every single. Pinch hit every single opportunity is a different situation. You know runner on third lesson to you know to say you know sac -- ...
[0:02:28] ... despite the tough times in the stands to be a very great confidence booster for him. Yeah absolutely no you're talking. You know you're talking just hanging in there here's the big -- We kind of ...





Jonny Gomes joined Joe & Dave after the win, in which his pich homer gave the Sox the lead.

[0:00:07] ... of all time Red Sox original brown was 61 behind number one Ted Williams. Yeah I guess rumor has it that. You know let me know and I'm not trying to chase to -- and that ...
[0:02:29] ... the tough times in the stands to be a very great -- confidence booster for him. Yeah absolutely no you're talking. You know you're talking just hanging in there here the big leagues. We kind of put a lot of weight you know on both -- you know playing third base here you know -- Boston Red Sox in the world championship team. Everyone's well you know you got to go check his birth date you know and realize that ...