Franklin Morales once again proved overpowering as a starter, and Will Middlebrooks once again proved overpowering as a hitter, as the Red Sox continued their recent run of strong play with an 8-4 victory over the Braves. The Sox have now won six of seven and eight of 10.

Middlebrooks was again a force in the heart of the order, going 3-for-4 with an RBI double (which gave the Sox a 2-1 first-inning lead they'd never relinquish), a solo homer (his ninth) and a single. He is now hitting .331 with a .368 OBP, .592 slugging mark and .960 OPS, and he leads all AL rookies in homers.

Bobby Valentine clarified his comments from Friday when he indicated Kevin Youkilis was informed of not playing. Saturday afternoon, Youkilis said he never spoke with Valentine about playing time. Valentine explained in his media briefing that he thought one of his coaches spoke to him about sitting on the bench while Will Middlebrooks started. 

"Before the lineup was put up, that's true," Valentine said of not speaking to Youkilis.

Asked when he actually spoke to Youkilis, Valentine said he didn't want to get into timelines.

Right-hander Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox' scheduled starter for the series finale against the Braves on Sunday, has been scratched due to illness. Valentine said that he expected Buchholz, who is 8-2 with a 5.53 ERA this year, to be skipped entirely in this turn ofthe rotation rather than having his start pushed back. Right-hander Aaron Cook will be activated from the disabled list in order to start in Buchholz's place.

Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford started his 20-day minor league rehab assignment in the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League on Saturday. In five plate appearances, Crawford was hitless (two groundouts to second and a flyout to center) with two walks. The 30-year-old served as the designated hitter in the contest.

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 According to a major league source, multiple teams are interested in trading for Red Sox' infielder Kevin Youkilis, although a timetable for the completion of any deal remains unclear.

Another industry source reports the Red Sox are actively attempting to deal Youkilis, speculating that it could be a matter of days before a trade is completed. 

Chipper Jones understands what Adrian Gonzalez has been facing.



Following the Red Sox’ 4-1 loss to the Braves, Jon Lester expressed his frustration, with the Sox having come away with losses in four of his last six starts.

"I don't know. I'm getting tired of the same old [expletive],” Lester said. “I'm making good pitches, and they're getting hit. I don't know what else to do. The process is there. I'm still not getting results. It's the same book, different chapter for me."

Lester finished his outing allowing three runs on 10 hits over seven innings (throwing 118 pitches).

Martin Prado and Jason Heyward each had three hits while righty Jair Jurrjens stifled the Red Sox on three hits over 7 2/3 innings to lead the Braves to a 4-1 win on Friday night at Fenway Park. The loss snapped Boston's five-game winning streak. After being found not guilty on all federal perjury charges earlier in the week, seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens - the team's all-time co-leader in wins - took in the game from the front row of Monster seats. 

Rich Hill told WEEI.com prior to the Red Sox' game Friday night against the Braves that he is scheduled to throw Tuesday, which would be the first time since going on the 15-day disabled list with a strained flexor tendon in his left elbow.

Both Red Sox Bobby Valentine and general manager Ben Cherington confirmed what Daniel Bard told reporters in Pawtucket, that the pitcher would be spending the rest of the 2012 season as a reliever.