Koji Uehara expects to be available to pitch out of the bullpen by Thursday. (AP)

Koji Uehara expects to be available to pitch out of the bullpen by Thursday. (AP)

For Koji Uehara, the stiffness he felt in his right shoulder evoked concern based not so much on the symptoms themselves as the Red Sox closer’s history with comparable discomfort. While with the Rangers, Uehara had once experienced shoulder stiffness, tried to pitch through it and ultimately suffered a setback that led to a couple months on the disabled list.

This time, however, the symptoms subsided quickly, to the point where Uehara was able to have an aggressive long-toss session at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. With that behind him, it came as little surprise — but welcome news — when he was given a clean bill of health after getting checked out at Mass. General on Monday.

“It was a good feeling to know that I was able to throw from that long distance [on Sunday] and also the fact there was no structural damage [revealed by Monday's exam]. That gave me a lot of peace of mind,” Uehara told reporters through interpreter C.J. Matsumoto. “I think [the concern] was more mental, the fact I had the same kind of feeling two years ago, that was sort of a sticking point.’€

Uehara threw long toss from 200 feet and then had a pitching session on flat ground. The Sox plan for him to throw a bullpen session off a mound on Wednesday, and if that goes well, he’d be ready to return by Thursday.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

At first, Dustin Pedroia thought that he was just dealing with some soreness related to the ongoing rehab from his offseason surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. But when the issue persisted and worsened, he realized that he’d incurred a separate injury in his wrist when he got wiped out on a double play turn against the Brewers.

Dustin Pedroia is expected to return to the Red Sox lineup on Wednesday. (AP)

Dustin Pedroia is expected to return to the Red Sox lineup on Wednesday. (AP)

At first, Dustin Pedroia thought that he was just dealing with some soreness related to the ongoing rehab from his offseason surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. But when the issue persisted and worsened, he realized that he’d incurred a separate injury in his wrist when he got wiped out on a double play turn against the Brewers. With the soreness increasing as he continued to play and swing a bat, Pedroia started to imagine worst-case scenarios — foremost, a wrist fracture.

Much to Pedroia’s relief, those scenarios were dismissed on Monday when an exam and MRI at Mass. General revealed that he was dealing only with inflammation rather than a fracture. And so, rather than measuring his absence in weeks or months, Pedroia expects that — after receiving a cortisone injection on Monday — he’ll be able to return to the lineup on Wednesday, after missing just two starts.

“I was a little bit worried. It was getting worse every day,” Pedroia told reporters prior to the Red Sox’ game against the White Sox on Tuesday night. ”If it was broke, I would have been out a long time. It’€™s good news. Hopefully I’€™ll be in there [Wednesday]. They gave me a shot to calm everything down. Hopefully, it takes, they say 24 to 48 hours to kick in and then get out there and go.”

Pedroia said that he wanted to “strangle [manager John Farrell] and get in there” on Tuesday, but he and the team ultimately agreed that the long-term benefit of taking an extra day to rest outweighed forcing a return to the lineup for the opener of the series against the White Sox.

Ultimately, the notion that Pedroia will be available in “some limited capacity” (in Farrell’s characterization to reporters) on Tuesday and ready to return to the lineup on Wednesday comes as a relief to a team that, already without Will Middlebrooks and Shane Victorino, could ill afford to lose its best all-around player.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

While Dustin Pedroia avoided the disabled list when he was diagnosed with inflammation rather than a fracture of his left wrist on Monday, his day-to-day status did not mean an immediate return to the lineup.

Dustin Pedroia remains out of the Red Sox lineup for the second straight game. (AP)

Dustin Pedroia remains out of the Red Sox lineup for the second straight game. (AP)

While Dustin Pedroia avoided the disabled list when he was diagnosed with inflammation rather than a fracture of his left wrist on Monday, his day-to-day status did not mean an immediate return to the lineup. Pedroia, who was scratched on Sunday due to soreness in his wrist, is likewise out on Tuesday for the opener of a three-game series against the White Sox in Chicago. In his absence, Jonathan Herrera will play second, Ryan Roberts gets the start at third base and Grady Sizemore will lead off for the second straight contest. Sizemore is once again in left field, with Jackie Bradley Jr. remaining in center and Daniel Nava in right.

Jake Peavy and A.J. Pierzynski, longtime batterymates with the White Sox, will be paired against their former team, which will feature right-hander Erik Johnson on the mound. For complete batter vs. pitcher histories, click here. For comprehensive Red Sox coverage, visit weei.com/redsox.

RED SOX LINEUP

Grady Sizemore, LF

Xander Bogaerts, SS

David Ortiz, DH

Mike Napoli, 1B

Daniel Nava, RF

A.J. Pierzynski, C

Ryan Roberts, 3B

Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

Jonathan Herrera, 2B

Jake Peavy, SP

 

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

The Red Sox will head to the south side of Chicago as they open up a three-game set against the White Sox on Tuesday.

It was a rough weekend in the Bronx for the Red Sox, who dropped three of four to the Yankees and fell to last place in the AL East with a 5-8 record. While the pitching has been solid for the most part, the Red Sox offense has been sputtering as of late. The team is batting a collective .255 with a .695 OPS through the first 13 games of the season, and Red Sox hitters went 27-for-134 (a .201 average) with 11 runs over the course of four games against the Yankees over the weekend.

But the club got some much-needed good news on Dustin Pedroia, who missed the final game of the series against the Yankees with a sore left wrist. The second baseman is hitting just .139 since injuring his wrist on April 4, but tests reveal that there’€™s no fracture and Pedroia is listed as day-to-day. Close Koji Uehara also is day-to-day, and is making progress after missing the past couple of games due to some shoulder stiffness. At least for the time being, it seems like two of the club’€™s most important pieces will avoid DL stints.

They’€™ll look to rebound from the disappointing weekend as they take on the White Sox, a team that lost almost 100 games in 2013. But the White Sox are off to a relatively hot start in 2014, going 7-6 and boasting one of the most productive offenses of the young season. The White Sox own the highest team OBP in the majors (.356), highest average (.284) and the most home runs (18) in the American League.

Heading to Chicago will mark a return for three members of the Red Sox. Jake Peavy spent more than four years with the White Sox before he was traded to Boston last summer, while A.J. Pierzynski spent a large chunk of his career in Chicago, from 2005 to 2012. Pitching coach Juan Nieves also spent five years as the White Sox bullpen coach before joining the Red Sox staff.

Here are the pitching matchups for the series:

Jake Peavy (0-0, 2.13) vs. Erik Johnson (0-1, 9.58)

Clay Buchholz (0-1, 6.97) vs. John Danks (1-0, 4.15)

Jon Lester (1-2, 2.57) v. Chris Sale (3-0, 2.66)

WHO’€™S HOT: RED SOX

– Peavy, who will open the series against his former team, has been dominant in his first two starts of the season. The righty’€™s allowed just three runs on nine hits in 12 2/3 innings. Peavy had one of his best starts in a Red Sox uniform his last time out, fanning eight over 6 2/3 innings, giving up one run to the Rangers in what would be a no-decision for the starter.

Grady Sizemore is one of the few members of the lineup who is still swinging a hot bat. Though the outfielder went 0-for-4 in the series opener with the Yankees, he finished the set 4-for-13 with a home run and three RBIs. Sizemore is batting .343/.395/.571 with two doubles and two home runs on the season.

– With Uehara sidelined for the time being, Chris Capuano could become an even more important piece in the bullpen. The 35-year-old has been excellent for the Red Sox so far, giving up just four hits in his scoreless 6 1/3 innings of work while striking out five without allowing a walk. Capuano gave the Sox a chance to make a comeback on Sunday night, taking over for starter Felix Doubront with two outs in the seventh and shutting down the Yankees offense through the next inning and a third.

WHO’€™S HOT: WHITE SOX

Alexei Ramirez may be the hottest bat on an offense that has been better than anticipated so far. Ramirez has opened the season with a 13-game hit streak, batting .420/.463/.680. The shortstop sent White Sox fans happy after a blown save by closer Matt Lindstrom, launching the game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth. He sits atop the American League with 21 hits.

– Ramirez isn’t the only one to collect a hit in every game he’€™s played so far. Conor Gillaspie is in the midst of an 11-game streak and is batting .341/.396/.439 on the season. The third baseman has driven in nine runs and knocked four doubles in his second year as a full-time player.

Adam Eaton, who was acquired from the Diamondbacks in the offseason, has gotten off to a great start with his new club. The 25-year-old has been getting on base a ton, batting .327 with a .419 OBP. He leads the majors in runs scored, crossing the plate 14 times in just 13 games. Before going 0-for-4 on Sunday, Eaton had put together a string of five consecutive multi-hit games.

WHO’€™S NOT: RED SOX

– Newcomer Burke Badenhop has been one of the few members of the bullpen who has struggled so far. The righty gave up a run on three hits (including a home run) in Saturday’€™s loss to the Yankees, and has given up runs in three of his four outings in 2014.

– The Red Sox are missing the bat of (a healthy) Pedroia. Jonathan Herrera is an adequate replacement, but he profiles more as a utility guy than the type to receive the majority of starts at any given position. His bat hasn’t impressed so far, with the infielder hitting .211 with a .529 OPS through eight games. Prior to collecting a hit on Sunday night, Herrera had been hitless in his previous eight plate appearances.

– Remember when Mike Carp hit almost .500 last April, clubbing eight extra-base hits in only 26 plate appearances? This April hasn’t been quite the same. Carp has struggled in limited at-bats, hitting just .231 on the season. He’€™s collected just three hits (and just one since April 4) with just one going for extra bases. With Shane Victorino inching closer to a return from the DL, Carp could be the odd man out of a crowded outfield.

WHO’€™S NOT: WHITE SOX

– Though he opened the 2014 season with three home runs in his first three games, outfielder Alejandro De Aza has cooled off considerably since. De Aza is hitting just .107 (3-for-28) without a base hit since the opening series, and went hitless for a stretch of six games.

– Though the offense is keeping the White Sox afloat in the standings, their bullpen is in a state of disarray. Lindstrom, the closer, has already blown two saves, with one of those coming on Sunday, when he gave up two singles and a walk and uncorked a wild pitch as the Indians scored two runs in the ninth (both runs were unearned thanks to an error). Ronald Belisario and Scott Downs both come into the series with ERAs over 15.00. Set-up man Nate Jones has the dubious honor of owning an incalculable ERA, allowing four runs on two hits and three walks without recording an out before hitting the disabled list with a back injury. The White Sox enter the series with the worst bullpen ERA in the majors at 6.93.

– The White Sox starting rotation is anchored by their ace, Sale, and Jose Quintana, but the back of the rotation gets a little shaky. Danks has been solid through his first two starts, but Johnson and Felipe Paulino have gotten roughed up in their first few outings. Johnson has given up a total of 19 hits in his 10 1/3 innings of work, including a 10-hit, seven-run drubbing in his season debut. Paulino hasn’t been much better, allowing six earned runs in each of his last two starts, while failing to make it past the sixth in all three of his outings.

Blog Author: 
Katie Morrison

Sean Coyle slammed his second homer of 2014 for Double-A Portland on Monday. (Salem Red Sox)

Sean Coyle slammed his second homer of 2014 for Double-A Portland on Monday. (Salem Red Sox)

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

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 9-5 WIN AT ROCHESTER (TWINS)

(BOX)

– Outfielder Bryce Brentz went 3-for-5 with his second homer of the year, a no-doubter to left field in which he stayed back on a breaking ball from left-hander Edgar Ibarra. It’s been an inconsistent start to the 2014 campaign for Brentz, who sandwiched Monday’s 3-for-5 night and a 2-for-5 night with a homer last Thursday around an 0-for-10, three-game stretch. Yet it is worth noting that Brentz negotiated four walks during that three-game hitless streak, and he now has seven walks for the season. Since reaching the upper levels of the minors for the start of the 2012 season, Brentz only has two months in which he’s taken more walks than he has this April — last April, when he walked nine times in Pawtucket, and June 2012, when he walked 15 times with Portland. He’s hitting .195/.313/.366 this year.

– Third baseman Garin Cecchini, who turns 23 on Sunday, went 1-for-4 with a double and a walk. The double ended a stretch of eight straight games without an extra-base hit, while the walk was Cecchini’s first in seven games. On the year, he’s hitting .310/.370/.357 with four walks and eight strikeouts.

– Right-hander Anthony Ranaudo permitted five runs on eight hits (two triples, a double and five singles) while walking three and striking out five. Through three starts this year in Pawtucket, the 24-year-old has allowed 14 runs (though just 10 earned) in 14 2/3 innings, with 16 strikeouts, eight walks and an opponents’ batting average of .311.

Rich Hill had his second straight outstanding appearance, throwing 2 2/3 scoreless innings in which he allowed one hit and struck out three. That performance came three days after he likewise tossed two shutout innings while allowing one hit and striking out two. In five games, he has a 2.08 ERA in 8 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts and four walks. Opponents are hitting .167 against the 34-year-old, with lefties having gone 1-for-10 against the veteran.

– After a hot start, catcher Christian Vazquez has cooled considerably. After a 1-for-5 game on Monday, the 23-year-old is 4-for-28 with two walks and six strikeouts in his last seven games.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 9-4 WIN VS. BINGHAMTON (METS)

(BOX)

–Though Sean Coyle has been displaced at second base by the ascendance of Mookie Betts, Feats of Coyle did their own displacing, at least for a day, on Monday. The (mostly) third baseman went 3-for-4 with his second homer of the season and two steals. Between the 5-foot-8 Coyle and the 5-foot-9 Betts, the Sox have two of the unlikelier-looking impact hitters in the Eastern League. In 10 games, Coyle is hitting .343 with a .410 OBP and .543 slugging mark along with four steals in as many attempts. Though he strikes out with considerable frequency (including this year, when he’s punched out in 28 percent of his plate appearances), he shows the ability to make a considerable impact on the ball when he makes contact. He also is an asset on the bases, as suggested by the fact that he’s now 31-for-31 in steals in High-A and Double-A. When he was at second, he looked like a player with the upside of being a more athletic version of Dan Uggla. Though he’s moved over primarily to third (with occasional games at second when Betts isn’t playing there), the 22-year-old is offering a glimpse of that considerable potential again in his first exposure to Portland.

Coyle cleared the Maine Monster in deep left-center. Here’s a look:

Breaking: Henry Owens gave up runs. The left-hander, who had opened the year with 12 2/3 shutout innings, got hit hard for four runs on six hits, including two two-run homers and three doubles, while walking three and striking out just four in five innings of work. It’s worth noting that all four of the runs came in the third inning, with the 21-year-old keeping his opponents off the board on either side of that first considerable hiccup of the year.

Kevin Thomas of the Portland Press-Herald has an excellent look at the reality that, as talented as he is and as dominant as he’s been since the start of 2013, Owens remains a work in progress. The takeaway from the article is offered courtesy of Portland pitching coach Bob Kipper:

‘€œHe has an exceptional change-up,’€ pitching coach Bob Kipper said. ‘€œBut without the fastball, the change-up becomes less exceptional.’€

If Owens is not putting the fastball where he wants it, there can be trouble.

‘€œThe ability to control the delivery to the extent he can command his fastball ‘€“ that is the biggest area in his development,’€ Kipper said. ‘€œLast year it was suspect at times.’€

– Feats of Mookie: Transforming the meaning of good days and bad days. Mookie Betts offered what, for him this year, was tantamount to a struggle, going 2-for-5 with a double. His average fell from .457 to .450, his OBP dipped from .512 to .500 and his slugging mark slipped from .743 to .725. He’s reached base multiple times in nine of Portland’s 10 games this year, and he’s extended his regular season on-base streak to 39 games dating to last year in High-A Salem. (Salem broadcaster Evan Lepler notes that Betts also reached base in all six of Salem’s postseason games.)

His double off the wall in right-center on a breaking ball away (even against a pitcher whom the broadcaster described as “burnt toast”) suggests a player capable of driving a ball anywhere that it’s thrown in the strike zone.

– Left-hander Robby Scott, a 24-year-old whom the Sox purchased from the independent North American League in 2011, tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings. He’s now recorded seven shutout innings in his three appearances with seven strikeouts and no walks. Opponents are 2-for-22 (.091) against him.

HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX: 9-6 LOSS VS. MYRTLE BEACH (RANGERS)

(BOX)

– Outfielder Kevin Heller remains the hottest hitter in the Red Sox system (outside of the increasingly mythical Mookie Betts), and on Monday, the right-handed-hitting 24-year-old out of Amherst went 2-for-3 with a double and two walks. He’s now hitting .440/.563/.680 in eight games. He’s also recorded outfield assists in back-to-back games.

– Catcher Carson Blair snapped a seven-game, 0-for-21 stretch by going 2-for-4 with a walk. He did, however, strike out twice, and now has whiffed 14 times in 41 plate appearances.

SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE: 11-3 LOSS VS. CHARLESTON (YANKEES)

(BOX)

– Left-hander Cody Kukuk may possess the highest ceiling of any pitcher in the Red Sox organization save for Henry Owens and Trey Ball, albeit with control questions that raise significant questions about how close he’ll come to that ceiling. Still, as a 21-year-old with impressive size (he’s listed at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds), athleticism and power (mid-90s heat from the left side along with a slider that has the potential to be an above-average pitch, along with a changeup that shows promise at times), he’s the type of pitcher who can allow teams to dream big when he turns in outings like Monday’s.

Kukuk turned in five innings, finding the strike zone with 48 of his 73 pitches (66 percent) while permitting four hits (three singles and a double), walking one and punching out eight. He now has 17 strikeouts (11.8 per nine innings) and seven walks (4.8 per nine innings) in his first three starts in Greenville. While the walks total sounds high, it represents a drop from the 6.8 walks per nine he had last year, and he has yet to lose the strike zone completely (as he was sometime prone to do in 2013). In short, there is progress, nudging Kukuk in the direction of that very, very high ceiling.

– Second baseman Wendell Rijo went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk, continuing a very impressive early-season run. The 18-year-old has gotten on base in all nine contests to date, hitting .355/.474/.548 with four extra-base hits, six walks and eight strikeouts.

Blog Author: 
Alex Speier

After taking a day off on Monday, the Red Sox will look to bounce back from a challenging weekend in the Bronx as they send Jake Peavy to the mound against the White Sox and Erik Johnson.

Peavy heads into Tuesday’€™s game in search of his first win of the season. Despite giving up just three earned runs in a total of 12 2/3 innings this season, Peavy received a no-decision in each of his two starts. During his last outing, a game against the Rangers last Wednesday, Peavy gave up one earned run on three hits over 6 2/3 innings. The Red Sox went on to win that game in the eighth inning when David Ortiz hit a three-run home run to put Boston on top 4-2.

“That stat means nothing to me. It really doesn’t,” Peavy said Wednesday of not having a win yet this season. “We won [against Texas]. I’€™m more on the team win on my fifth day. I take them hard. Losing to Milwaukee on Opening Day was tough. I feel like I got the win today just as much as the 24 other guys feel the same, especially at this point in time.”

Peavy faced the White Sox for the first and only time in his career on Aug. 31, 2013. The 32-year-old righty earned the win after he scattered two runs and five hits over seven innings. Boston eventually won the game 7-2. Peavy came to Boston halfway through the 2013 season after spending 4 1/2 years with Chicago.

While Peavy has limited experience against Chicago, Johnson has even less against the Red Sox as the 24-year-old, who is in his second season in the majors, has never faced Boston.

Erik Johnson

Erik Johnson

Johnson struggled in his first outing of the year as he earned the loss after giving up seven earned runs over 4 2/3 innings. In his most recent start, a game against the Rockies last Wednesday, Johnson picked up a no-decision after he gave up four earned runs on nine hits over 5 2/3 innings.

Red Sox vs. Johnson (RHP)

No current Red Sox have faced Johnson.

White Sox vs. Peavy (RHP)

Adam Dunn (39 plate appearances): .161 AVG/.308 OBP/.355 SLG, 2 HR, 6 RBIs, 7 walks, 11 strikeouts

Jordan Danks (3): .333/.333/.333, 1 strikeout

Conor Gillaspie (3): .500/.667/.500, 1 walk

Alejandro De Aza is hitless but has one RBI in three plate appearances vs. Peavy.

Paul Konerko has one strikeout in three plate appearances.

Alexei Ramirez has one hit in three plate appearances.

Blog Author: 
Meredith Perri

A.J. Pierzynski and the Red Sox have been swinging splinters so far in 2014. (AP)This is the dangerous time, when a glimpse at a team is likely as not to represent a walk past funhouse mirrors. The view is distorted, with strengths and weaknesses alike stretched and smushed in a fashion that reveals little about the true shape of a performance. 



The Red Sox, who faced concerns about the possibility of losing a pair of critical roster members in closer Koji Uehara (shoulder stiffness) and second baseman Dustin Pedroia (left wrist soreness), received positive news in the examinations of both players at Mass. General Hospital on Monday (an off-day for the Red Sox).