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06/06/2012 - 4:44pm
Bard to pitch Friday in Pawtucket

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said that right-hander Daniel Bard will make his first appearance for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday, starting but making a relatively short appearance. The team hasn't defined the length of that outing, but as is sometimes the case with minor league starters who struggle, the team wants to build off of a short stint and go from there.

"He has a very good idea of what he's got to do," said Cherington. "He's just focusing on the fundamentals of what allowed him to be elite and what will allow him to be elite in the future, getting those locked in and then we'll worry about pitch counts and role and all that stuff later."

Bard was 5-6 with a 5.24 ERA, 34 strikeouts and 37 walks in 55 innings in 11 games (10 starts) this year in his conversion from the bullpen to the rotation. He was sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday after walking six in just 1 2/3 innings and allowing five runs on Sunday....

06/06/2012 - 4:35pm
Source: Sox close to deal with 1st rd pick

According to a major league source, the Red Sox are close to deals with both supplemental first-round pick Pat Light (taken with the No. 37 overall selection) and second-rounder Jamie Callahan. The two hard throwers are in Boston for physicals as they finalize their deals.

Both are right-handed pitchers with significant upside, with Light -- who pitched at Monmouth University -- having what Red Sox scouting director Amiel Sawdaye called one of the best fastballs in the draft (a pitch that regularly registered at 98 mph this spring) and Callahan -- a Dillon (SC) High School product whom the Sox are signing away from a commitment at the University of South Carolina -- featuring a low- to mid-90s fastball and the makings of a swing-and-miss curve.

The bonus figures were not immediately available. Light's selection had a $1.394 million recommended slot figure, while Callahan's featured a $565,600 slot.

For more on Callahan, who went 7-1...

06/06/2012 - 3:06pm
Bobby V: No decision on Bard's future

Bobby Valentine made his weekly appearance on The Big Show Wednesday and talked about the future of Daniel Bard. Bard was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday after struggling mightily during his time in the starting rotation. Valentine was asked if Bard will return to Boston as a starting pitcher or move back to the bullpen, where he had considerable success over the past three seasons.

"The conversation that Ben [Cherington] and Daniel and I had yesterday is that he's going to get comfortable with his mechanics, get comfortable with himself throwing the ball and we're not going to necessarily discuss the role," said Valentine of Bard, who has a 5.24 ERA and 37 walks in 55.0 innings pitched this season. "But when we touched on it, the idea that staring is still what he wants to do, and what we still think he can do."

Adrian Gonzalez has just four home runs in 244 plate appearances this season, and his .723 OPS is 157...

06/06/2012 - 2:39pm
Lineup: Gonzalez back in RF, hitting sixth

Adrian Gonzalez will make his 10th start of the season in right field on Wednesday as the Red Sox (28-27) look to end a two-game losing streak against the Orioles (31-24, tied with Tampa for first place in the AL East) at Fenway Park. Gonzalez, with just four home runs in 244 plate appearances this season, will bat sixth in the lineup on Tuesday. He has not hit sixth in a lineup since September 12, 2006 with the Padres.

Kevin Youkilis moves to first base and Will Middlebrooks -- not in the lineup the previous two games -- gets the start at third base. Darnell McDonald, activated from the disabled list (strained right oblique) on Tuesday as Daniel Bard was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, makes his first start since May 8 in left field.

Josh Beckett (4-5, 4.26) will be opposed by left-hander Wei-Yin Chen (4-2, 3.75). 

LINEUP:

Aviles, SS

Pedroia, 2B

Youkilis, 1B

Ortiz, DH

Middlebrooks, 3B

...

06/06/2012 - 12:39pm
Broussard: Spoelstra 'in over his head'

ESPN NBA analyst Chris Broussard joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday to discuss the Eastern Conference finals series following Boston’s Game 5 win Tuesday night. Broussard said the Celtics will win Game 6 and the series, citing Boston’s championship mentality as a reason for eventual triumph over the Heat.

“I have nothing but the utmost respect for the Celtics. … Even when they lose, you walk away saying those guys are winners,” Broussard said. “They’re champions, they play with so much heart and mental toughness. They play through injuries, through adversity, they’re well-coached, they execute, they can play in the clutch. They’re great.

“And I feel that lack of respect for the Heat, because they don’t play up to their potential. They don’t execute, I don’t think they’re well-coached. … This team needs somebody with the credibility to kick them in...

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