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

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

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (24-24): Scheduled off day. Next action Friday vs. Louisville (Reds)

— In a reverse of a roster move on May 25, Boston swapped relief pitchers again as Heath Hembree was sent back to Pawtucket while Robbie Ross Jr. was recalled. In 14 games with Boston over two stints, Ross has a 5.14 ERA with a 9 K/6 BB ratio in 14 innings pitched. Ross had just one appearance in his recent stay with Pawtucket, a scoreless inning with two strikeouts and two walks. Hembree pitched just one inning as well during his three days away from the PawSox, a scoreless frame against the Twins in Minnesota on Monday.

Justin Haley

Justin Haley

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (21-27): L, 2-0, at Binghamton (Mets)

— The tough luck for 6-foot-5 right-handed starter Justin Haley continues. Haley, 23, pitched his fourth straight game in which he allowed just two earned runs. However, he’€™s lost three of those four games to drop his record to 1-6. Haley’€™s line on Thursday: 5 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO. The first five innings were scoreless, before a two-run Binghamton double in the sixth inning ended Haley’€™s day. Over his last four starts (and since coming off the disabled list May 11) Haley’€™s ERA is 3.32. Last year in 17 combined starts between High-A Salem and Portland, Haley combined to go 10-6 with a 2.35 ERA.

— Lefty reliever Robby Scott continued his fine year with two scoreless innings in relief to lower his ERA to 2.75. Scott, 25, has thrown 7 1/3 shutout innings in his last four outings, and has been particularly tough on left handers, with southpaw bats hitting just .143 against him in Double-A. Scott has been up the ladder to Pawtucket three times already this season (3 ER/10 IP), and combined between the two levels has 28 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings of work.

— With an opposite-field double in the first inning, Portland third baseman Jantzen Witte pulled into an Eastern League tie for the most two-baggers, while Witte also recorded his 11th double in the month of May. A 2-for-4 day for Witte brought his average up to .329, good for fourth best in the league. The 25-year-old Texan now has an on-base percentage of .399, seventh best among his league peers. In the field it was Witte’€™s ninth start at third base, as he’€™s played most of the year (34 games) at first base.

Kevin Heller

Kevin Heller

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (25-22): W, 7-2, at Frederick (Orioles)

— Salem jumped on Frederick with a three-run first inning, highlighted by Kevin Heller’€™s two-run home run, then tacked on two more in the second frame on its way to winning a fifth straight game. Heller, playing right field and batting cleanup, was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored, raising his Salem average to .345. It was Heller’€™s second homer in as many days. The 25-year-old Amherst College grad has reached base in 16 straight in High-A since being demoted from Portland, where in 13 games he hit just .132.

— The early lead was plenty enough for Salem starter Ty Buttrey as the 6-foot-6 righty faced the minimum with just one hit allowed through his first five innings. Buttrey surrendered two runs in the sixth but earned the victory to improve to 4-0. Since his promotion from Low-A on May 1, Buttrey has won four of his five outings and surrendered just eight earned runs in 30 innings (2.40 ERA), with a .243 opponent batting average and no home runs allowed.

— Deiner Lopez had a three-hit night in his first appearance in the leadoff spot for Salem. Lopez, a 20-year-old switch-hitting Venezuelan, cracked two doubles and scored two runs. Lopez is off to a 6-for-14 (.463) start in High-A since being promoted from Greenville on May 19. With Salem he has started three games in left field, with most of his work as a second baseman during his time in Greenville. Last year Lopez made just two errors in 142 attempts (98.6 percent) playing second. Wendell Rijo has been anchoring second base for Salem so far this season.

Rafael Devers

Rafael Devers

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (28-19): W, 5-4, at Lexington (Royals)

— Rafael Devers, at ESPN the Red Sox’ No. 2 prospect and MLB’s No. 14 prospect, had three more hits to raise his average to .342 and extend his hitting streak to nine games. The 18-year-old Dominican, signed as an international free agent in the summer of 2013, has become one of the most exciting bats in the Boston system. Last year Devers had a fantastic .322/.404/.506 slash line split between the Dominican Summer League and the Gulf Coast League in his first professional action.

— With the excitement around Devers and Boston’€™s top prospect Yoan Moncada (1-for-5 on Thursday), another talented teenager has flown under the radar as 19-year-old Javier Guerra has excelled in Greenville. Guerra, another international signee (July 2012) by Boston, was 3-for-4 on Thursday to raise his average to .310 and his on-base percentage to .375. A shortstop, Guerra has been consistently slotted in the seven-hole of the Greenville lineup and recently was ranked Boston’€™s No. 16 prospect at MLB.com.

— Four of Greenville’€™s five RBIs came off the bat of Nick Longhi (Boston’€™s No. 23 prospect at MLB.com) on Thursday, as the right fielder had two-knock singles in the fifth and sixth innings. Longhi, who was born in Springfield, Massachusetts (but moved to Florida as an infant) is hitting .257 this year in Low-A after hitting .330 last season in the New York Penn League. Longhi’€™s 2014 season in Lowell ended early as he tore a ligament in his thumb while sliding.

Blog Author: 
Ken Laird

ARLINGTON, Texas — You want eventful? We’ve got eventful.

Rookie left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez was dazzling on Thursday. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)ARLINGTON, Texas -- Eduardo Rodriguez had just pitched the game of his dreams -- actually, it topped that -- and now he had a more practical concern.

Eduardo Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez

ARLINGTON, Texas — You want eventful? We’ve got eventful.

The Red Sox beat the Rangers 5-1 on Thursday night, and the story was rookie left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who made his debut one to remember.

Pitching efficiently and at times looking overpowering, Rodriguez silenced a dangerous offense in its home park while making a case for an extended stay in the rotation.

Rodriguez limited the Rangers to 3 hits in 7 2/3 shutout innings, striking out seven. His fastball routinely punctured the 95-97 mph range and he drew 10 swings and misses. He used his slider, his third pitch, effectively, and incorporated his changeup as the game wore on, throwing 68 of his 105 pitches for strikes.

The 22-year-old’s performance couldn’t have come at a better time, with the Red Sox fresh off a three-game sweep at the hands of the Twins that dropped them to 21-26, just percentage points out of last place in the American League East.

The plan had been for Rodriguez to make one start as the sixth man in the rotation and then rejoin Triple A Pawtucket. But considering the struggles of the rotation, it’s hard to imagine Rodriguez pitching anywhere other than the big leagues when he makes his next start.

On any other night, he’d be the only story that mattered, but two other developments loomed large as well, one good and one bad.

First, the bad news. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts got drilled on the left wrist by a Nick Martinez fastball in the second and was lifted two innings later for pinch hitter Carlos Peguero. Bogaerts appeared to be in considerable pain before remaining in the game, but he didn’t last long and the Red Sox later announced that he departed with a forearm contusion.

There was good news, though, in the form of designated hitter Hanley Ramirez, who punished a pair of balls to left field, including his first home run of May. The Red Sox have stuck with Ramirez since he injured his left shoulder at the end of April, and he showed signs of ending a month-long power outage.

While Bogaerts’ situation could have a huge impact on the roster, that is a problem for tomorrow. For right now, Rodriguez is the story, and what a story it is.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Can it be anyone else? Rodriguez was exactly what the doctor ordered for a Red Sox rotation desperately needing talent. His fastball had the Rangers on their heels and he attacked the zone. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.


— Seeing Ramirez rediscover his power stroke could go a long way towards solving some of the team’s offensive problems, particularly with slumping DH David Ortiz sitting out at least the first half of this series to work on his swing.

— Give rookie catcher Blake Swihart credit for calling a strong game. If the Rangers read a scouting report on Rodriguez, it undoubtedly said to watch out for his changeup. But Swihart crossed them up by not calling one until the third inning and Rodriguez kept them off-balance. Swihart also went 2 for 4 with a run and two RBIs.

— Dustin Pedroia continues to shine in the leadoff spot. He stroked three hits to push his average in the spot to .400. He has at least one hit in each of his seven starts there.

— Mookie Betts went 3 for 5 with a triple and RBI.


— The Bogaerts injury is a huge concern, because the Red Sox lack depth at shortstop. If Bogaerts misses any length of time, Brock Holt is next in line, with Deven Marrero waiting in the wings at Pawtucket.

— After beating out an infield single in the third, Betts was promptly picked off first.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

ARLINGTON, Texas — A great night for the Red Sox was marred on Thursday when shortstop Xander Bogaerts was forced to leave a game against the Rangers in the fourth inning with a left forearm contusion.

Xander Bogaerts

Xander Bogaerts

ARLINGTON, Texas — A great night for the Red Sox was marred on Thursday when shortstop Xander Bogaerts was forced to leave a game against the Rangers in the fourth inning with a left forearm contusion.

Bogaerts was hit in the wrist in the second inning by a Nick Martinez fastball and appeared to be in considerable pain, slamming his helmet in frustration and taking steps towards the Red Sox dugout. After a lengthy visit from the training staff and manager John Farrell, Bogaerts stayed in the game.

However, he was replaced in the fourth by pinch hitter Carlos Peguero in the fourth, and there’s no word yet on the severity of his injury.

Bogaerts is hitting .268 with a pair of homers. He went 0-for-12 in the recently completed series against the Twins, and was looking to get back on track Thursday before getting hit.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase
Dale, Michael and Jerry Thornton check in with Sox Skipper John Farrell for his weekly chat. John breaks some news about David Ortiz with us.

[0:02:17] ... the result were ordered to take a little bit different approach with David Ortiz and extra day's gonna back him out let him more current and in the cage. I get the chance to regroup and hopefully that bring him back a little bit more fresh all you're always looking for. I you know some adjustment. Two to jumpstart fringe. By back him up do you mean David Ortiz is out of tonight's lineup. Here. And I assume that that that that that probably means Hanley Ramirez is the DH. That would mean. They are and how long do you expect Ortiz to be out of the lineup John. ...
[0:03:18] ... other guys he and we really haven't seen them before in Boston Hanley Ramirez and up doubles and evolved to sting and lessons guys that you relied on or pitcher expecting to give you big performances ...
[0:05:08] ... the players that have the greatest place certainly that stated that that Dustin Pedroia. In the I can tell you that in the in player meetings or in meetings that we have for today for the ...
[0:08:09] ... manager John Ferrell sort of buried the lead in the about the David Ortiz things. That is that is big news something that you can ask them about if next week. I just visit WEEI. Dot com slash folk Egan did submit your question for our weekly interview if chosen. You can be dining with John Farrell at Mohegan Sun during the post season. Yeah a little bombshell I would I would say a. Now I know at some point and it's in the others an hour time difference only it won't be long before they'll be a ball park but at some point. They are now going to go to David Ortiz and ask him about this decision and and whether he would you know was okay what this. And it will be interesting for me anyway Michael he certainly handled. Being dropped to fifth with. You know no problem at all I wonder what he thinks of this one. I think it'll be time. Because. Carol said David Ortiz when the leaders of the team along with a Dustin Pedroia. And and how we talked about it yesterday. Into one here. A lot of fans don't wanna hear that you know that the manager goes to the employee to ask. If everything is okay you like the iron fist hey you gonna do irritated let. I'd be shocked. They're John Ferrell didn't go to David Ortiz. Say what do you need. What if I play it this. Would replace him to give you a couple of days you get a couple days off. You can get your swing back you'll come out and say. Hey I'm all screwed up and I just need a couple of days in my head right you know. I'll hit 'cause I always hit in everybody's mind. I think I think it is already been. Discussed. And so David Ortiz is gonna execute the plan today my prediction and execute the plan and come out and say nice things now with that. ...

ARLINGTON, Texas — Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz will miss at least two games to work on his swing in the cage, manager John Farre

ARLINGTON, Texas — Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz will miss at least two games to work on his swing in the cage, manager John Farrell said on Thursday before the opener of a four-game series against the Rangers.

Mired in a 3-for-31 slump that has dropped his average to .216, Ortiz will take a step back and focus on his mechanics.

“Get some extra work done in the cage, try to get him going again before we get him back in the lineup,” Farrell said. “I think he’s feeling under the weather as well. As you do with every player, you talk and try to keep up to date with each guy individually and this is a chance to hopefully have him get over that, as well as address some of the things and give him a little bit of a breather.”

Ortiz waved off reporters who approached him today, saying he was sick and, “you don’t want to be near me.” But neither Ortiz nor Farrell cited illness as the reason the slugger is out of the lineup.

With Ortiz sidelined, Hanley Ramirez is expected to shift from left field to designated hitter.

Farrell said there’s nothing wrong with Ortiz physically, and acknowledged that part of the break is for mental purposes. He informed Ortiz of the decision after Wednesday’s loss to the Twins, and wouldn’t rule out a return to the lineup in Texas.

“Have a chance to hopefully accomplish a few things and that’s to get him over what he’s dealing with,” Farrell said. “It’s a combination of a few things. There’s some of that, there’s some of what he’s battling a little bit, but hopefully more than anything, just take a little bit of a step back and regroup.”

In other Red Sox news:

— Farrell said Daniel Nava, who was placed on the disabled list with a left thumb sprain, had been limited in his pregame work, which affected his timing.

— Outfielder Carlos Peguero, acquired from the Rangers on Wednesday, is on the roster to face his former team. Farrell said he’ll be used as a left-handed bat off the bench. Peguero, who owns a pair of 30-homer seasons in the minors, said he “thanks God,” the Red Sox picked him up.

He said it will be strange to face his former team.

“At the beginning yeah, but this is a business,” Peguero said. “This is baseball. You can be here today and then be in another place. I’m not going to be surprised. I’m going to be calm and happy to perform.”

— With Nava sidelined, jack-of-all-trades Brock Holt can now add “backup first baseman” to his resume.

Blog Author: 
John Tomase