ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Just when you thought nothing could go wrong on this road trip for the Red Sox, along came the seventh inning Wednesday night.

Andrew Benintendi

Andrew Benintendi

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Just when you thought nothing could go wrong on this road trip for the Red Sox, along came the seventh inning Wednesday night.

With Andrew Benintendi on second base, Dustin Pedroia grounded a ball to Rays shortstop Matt Duffy. In an attempt to avoid the tag from Duffy, Benintendi appeared to get his left cleat caught in the dirt, resulting in the bending of either the rookie’s ankle or knee.

Benintendi stayed on the ground until Red Sox manager John Farrell and trainer Brad Pearson could arrive to look at the player, who was on his knees near second base. The outfielder would ultimately be helped off the field, putting his weight on both Farrell and Pearson.

At the time of the injury, the Red Sox carried a 3-2 lead over the Rays, with Benintendi having doubled to lead off the seventh. The 22-year-old is currently hitting .324 with an .850 OPS.

Check back for more updates …

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Usually when someone wants to get reaction to David Ortiz breaking some milestone, his canned answer this season has been, “It just means I’m getting old.”

Cue up the quote machine.

David Ortiz. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

David Ortiz. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Usually when someone wants to get reaction to David Ortiz breaking some milestone, his canned answer this season has been, “It just means I’m getting old.”

Cue up the quote machine.

The Red Sox’ designated hitter made history Wednesday night, jumping on a first-pitch curveball from Tampa Bay starter Matt Andriese in the first inning, sending it into the right field bleachers for his 30th home run of the season.

With the two-run blast Ortiz becomes the oldest player in Major League Baseball history to hit 30 homers in a single season, having managed the feat at 40 years and 280 days old.

The home run also allowed Ortiz to reach 100 RBI for the season. He joins Babe Ruth, Albert Pujols, Hank Aaron and Lou Gehrig as the only players with 10 or more season of at least 30 homers and 100 RBI for a single team.

Ortiz now has nine 100 RBI seasons with the Red Sox, tying him with Ted Williams for the most in franchise history.

To watch the homer, click here.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It goes without saying, the Red Sox could have used Carson Smith this season.

Carson Smith will start throwing a baseball again in three weeks. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

Carson Smith will start throwing a baseball again in three weeks. (Kim Klement/USA Today Sports)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It goes without saying, the Red Sox could have used Carson Smith this season.

The righty reliever was brought in during the offseason to help fill the void the Red Sox currently find themselves with — uncovering someone who can lock down the eighth inning. But thanks to Tommy John surgery on May 26, Smith never got his chance to make a mark in 2016.

As is the case with most Tommy John patients, the long-term prognosis for Smith is good. In three weeks he will start throwing for the first time, and continue on a schedule that usually lands pitchers back on the mound a year out from their operation.

But the light at the end of the tunnel hasn’t made dealing with this season any easier for Smith.

“I pick and choose. But sometimes it’s tough to watch the games,” said the 26-year-old while visiting his teammates at Tropicana Field Wednesday afternoon. “Obviously, I want to support these guys and keep up with them. But it’s tough to watch sometimes. I can’t sit down there every night because I know I want to be out there contributing as much as I can.”

The extent of Smith’s contribution to the Red Sox this season was three appearances, in which he allowed a run over 2 2/3 innings.

The goal is to get reliever back to the level he pitched at while with the Mariners in 2015, during which time he managed a 2.31 ERA in 70 appearances. The quest, according to Smith, is for the same results using the same somewhat unique, three-quarter arm angle.

“Nobody has really talked to me about the mechanics of my pitching,” he said. “I don’t see them chafing as a pitcher, but with that said, who knows how it feels coming back to throw. It’s natural. It’s not forced. It would be unnatural to change my arm slot.”

After executing the beginning of his throwing program in Fort Myers, starting at 45 feet and then a week later going up to 60 feet, Smith will spend the majority of his offseason in Houston.

“I’m definitely looking at this optimistically,” he said. “I know I tried to rehab it there for a little bit and it was getting worse over time. I’m just happy to get it done with and knowing that I’m going to work hard through the rehab process and hopefully come back better.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Pablo Sandoval redemption tour is in full swing.

The third baseman reappeared with the Red Sox Wednesday afternoon, having traveled up from Fort Myers, where he has been executing his road back from left shoulder surgery. Judging by appearances, the first step of the process seems to be going well.

Pablo Sandoval appeared in better shape Wednesday than when the Red Sox last saw him. (WEEI.com)

Pablo Sandoval appeared in better shape Wednesday than when the Red Sox last saw him. (WEEI.com)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Pablo Sandoval redemption tour is in full swing.

The third baseman reappeared with the Red Sox Wednesday afternoon, having traveled up from Fort Myers, where he has been executing his road back from left shoulder surgery. Judging by appearances, the first step of the process seems to be going well.

Sandoval has dropped 22 pounds, looking noticeably thinner than when he left Boston to train at Fenway South in June. The third baseman reported that he trains at the Sox’ spring training facility from 6 a.m.-1 p.m., six days a week.

Pablo Sandoval met up with his Red Sox teammates Wednesday at Tropicana Field. (WEEI.com)

Pablo Sandoval met up with his Red Sox teammates Wednesday at Tropicana Field. (WEEI.com)

Besides the structured workouts, which started to include fielding ground balls Monday, Sandoval has been routinely riding a mountain bike approximately 10 miles a day. (A routine confirmed with the program monitoring the workouts on his phone.)

“It’s tough,” Sandoval said. “But like I said you learn your lesson from all the mistakes you make. You’re human, you make mistakes. You have to put all the things in the past. So you have to work out and have good people around you to support you every single day. I’ve got that situation already, with my family around to support me every single day.”

When asked what keeps him motivated throughout his time away from the team, Sandoval was quick to credit the presence of his 3-month-old son, Liam.

“My baby. My son. My little boy. That’s one of those things every time I wake up, looking at him, I want to do everything for him so he can see me back on the field and play baseball,” Sandoval said. “That’s the thing I put in my mind every single day.”

Here are some of the other comments from Sandoval, who addressed the media in front of his locker at Tropicana Field for approximately 10 minutes:

On his shoulder’s strength: “It’s not back to normal but I feel a lot better, started doing a lot of things in the field. Starting hitting ground balls, started playing catch, handling the ball. There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better every day.”

On lessons he may have learned: “Lessons life give you. Everything out there is not easy. You have to work hard to learn all the things you did wrong. Just keep working hard and do everything you can to be a better person on the field and outside the field.”

On expectations for next season: “I just want to be ready 100 percent next year for spring training and try to do all the things I know how to do on the field.”

On if it’s tough to watch the Red Sox’ games: “No it’s not. I live for this. It’s the only thing I know how to do but sometimes things happen for a reason so … I miss the game, I watch every single day, I miss those guys but sometimes you have to put yourself in the situation, in the right situation to be better. I know I miss it but sometimes I look at myself, it’s an opportunity to spend more time with my family. I want to play but now I get to see my baby growing up.”

On where he’s at in his career: “I’m 30. I know. But sometimes you feel like age is going to come to you but you have to put yourself in the situation to separate those things, keep working hard. Look at David [Ortiz], 40 years old, continues playing. He’s a good guy to follow as sa role model, so I want to keep following his steps and do everything I can to show my family I do it for them.”

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Red Sox manager John Farrell made his regular appearance on the Dale & Holley show with Thornton on Wednesday to discuss the starting rotation and other team news.

John Farrell

John Farrell

Red Sox manager John Farrell made his regular appearance on the Dale & Holley show with Thornton on Wednesday to discuss the starting rotation and other team news. To hear the interview, visit the D&H audio on demand page.

Clay Buchholz has made three spot starts for the Red Sox with both Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez out with injuries, and he has performed well enough to put himself in the running for a permanent spot in the rotation. Farrell said “it probably looks like Clay by default” will return to the bullpen, however, once Wright and Rodriguez are healthy enough to start.

“Setting aside the decision, he’s done a heck of a job in the three starts he’s made for us,” Farrell said. “He seemingly is getting deeper into games, looks stronger as he goes. Steven Wright is going to come off of the DL Friday to make that first start against Kansas City. I think until we get to the bullpen tomorrow with Rodriguez, that will give us a better read on when he slides back in.”

Added Farrell: “The one thing we do have to contend with is with Wright coming back, we’re going to have to make room for him on the roster. If that looks as a reliever going out, then obviously there’s going to be a need in that bullpen. Those are the things that are being factored in, but nonetheless, Clay has done a heck of a job at giving us a boost, and when you look at the way the rotation has gone the last two or three times through, it’s been extremely encouraging.”

Farrell said Buchholz has been much more consistent throwing quality strikes, which has helped spark his turnaround on the mound.

“Obviously, going out of the stretch exclusively has minimized some of the movement in his delivery when he’s in the windup,” Farrell said. “It’s allowed him to make adjustments from one pitch to the next. I think just some subtle adjustments have really added to the depth to his cutter. Last night it was probably the best cutter he’s had I would say in a couple of years time. In addition to staying behind his arm and you saw the power and the velocity, he held 94 pretty much throughout. Those are the reasons why he’s been so consistent in really these three starts.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.

On concern over Drew Pomeranz and his innings pitched: “It’s something we’ve talked about, but I think the plan that we’ve used, and one that’s been established the way he’s worked throughout the course of this year is we haven’t started [him in] an inning over 100 pitches. This isn’t a 22-to-25-year-old, he’s 28 years old, it’s a guy a little more physically mature. He’s doing a very good job of late with the efficiency and the number of pitches thrown inside an inning. All those things are pointing to a guy that will maintain his spot in the rotation. The fact is we traded a premium young pitcher for a guy we really like in Pomeranz, and to put him in the bullpen, I don’t know if we’re at that point yet.”

On reliever Junichi Tazawa, who has struggled of late: “We’ve got to build some confidence with him, there’s no doubt. He’s a guy that we know has pitched a lot of meaningful innings and we’ve also seen the last couple of years towards the end of the year where things have he’s started to maybe pull back, not so much pull back but, the performance hasn’t been as strong throughout the course of the year. Right now, trying to pick some spots to regain some confidence and regain a little bit of the arm strength provided we are in a spot to give him recovery time and ample rest.”

On Andrew Benintendi’s quick adjustment to the majors: “I think the thing that really stands out is just his overall emotional control. He’s very even-keeled, he’s very even-tempered. You don’t see a lot of rushing or panic in the box when he’s down two strikes. He’s shown very good plate coverage, and in a short period of time there’s been a pretty distinct attack plan against him by some right-handers with some even cutters or sliders in tight. He’s shown the ability to hit pitches in multiple parts of the strike zone, it’s a pretty polished hitter for a young guy. I think the way he’s handled the entire environment, that’s the thing that stands out the most.”

On the tough road trip and how the players have handled it: “I couldn’t be more proud of the way that they’ve embraced this. You throw in the makeup game in Cleveland, we’re bouncing around a little bit, there’s been a little bit of a feeling of it doesn’t matter where, what time or what time we’re going to get in on a travel day. They’ve done a good job of not allowing that to be any more of an obstacle or a distraction. Bar any other thoughts, our pitching has been what’s allowing us to win on the road, and particularly our starters. They’ve maintained games, they’ve worked deep into games, we’ve had some elite performances, particularly in the first two games of this series by both David Price and Clay. All things considered, we’re responding to the challenge that’s at hand.”

Blog Author: 
Nicholas Frazier