Chara pulled out of KHL game, told to head to Boston

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Chara pulled out of KHL game, told to head to Boston

How did Zdeno Chara find out that the NHL lockout had ended?

He was pulled out of his KHL game Sunday and told to get ready to head back to Boston. Chara finished up his stint with HC Lev Prague of the KHL with 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in 25 games to go along with a plus-5 rating, and -- most important of all -- is 100 percent healthy.

Agent Matt Keator says Chara -- who will arrive in town on Tuesday -- is "in great shape and ready to go!"

Chara skated in Boston prior to the Christmas holiday while the European Leagues were on an extended break, and said at that point he was still hopeful that a deal would get done. The Bruins Captain was the lone Bruins player left that was still skating competitively overseas after a total of 13 Boston skaters logged European ice time at one point or another.

First impressions: Benintendi injured in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

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First impressions: Benintendi injured in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays:

 

The injury to Andrew Benintendi looked ominous.

Benintendi's left leg buckled as he tried to elude a tag on the bases in the seventh inning. He left the game with the help of two trainers, hobbling badly.

The Sox later announced that Benintendi suffered a left knee sprain, and will be further evaluated Thursday.

It's impossible to determine how serious the injury is. The prognosis could be anywhere from a few days, to, potentially, a season-ending issue.

Regardless, it's a blow to the Sox, who clearly have benefited from Benintendi's athleticism and energy in the three weeks since he's been promoted from Double A.

 

Rick Porcello is gobbling up innings in the second half.

Porcello gave the Sox 7 2/3 innings Wednesday night, allowing three runs. It marked the sixth straight start in which Porcello provided the Sox with a minimum of seven innings.

Through the end of June, Porcello had pitched seven or more innings just four times. Since the start of July, he's done it seven times -- and came within an out of doing it in another start.

Porcello also extended his streak of pitching at least five innings to 34 straight starts, dating back almost a calendar year to Aug. 26 of last year. Of those 34, he's pitched at least six in 31 of those.

In fact, Porcello leads the majors in innings pitched since that streak began.

 

David Ortiz continues to amaze

In the first inning, Ortiz walloped a pitch into the right field seats for his 30th homer, giving the Sox a 2-0 lead three batters into the game.

The homer was significant beyond that, too. With it, Ortiz reached two milestones -- 30 homers and 100 RBI for the season.

It marked the fourth straight season in which Ortiz has reached both, and it also marked the 10th time as a member of the Sox that he had hit both plateaus.

The homer also meant that Ortiz is now the oldest player - at 40 years, 280 days old -- to hit 30 homers in a season. And finally, it gave Ortiz 100 RBI seasons with the Sox, passing Ted Williams, with whom he had shared the record of nine.

And, remarkably, there's more than a month left in the season to add on to those achievements.

 

Benintendi leaves Wednesday's game with knee sprain

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Benintendi leaves Wednesday's game with knee sprain

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Rookie outfielder Andrew Benintendi left Wednesday's game with a knee sprain and will be further evaluated Thursday.

Benintendi was on second base in the seventh inning, with teammate Travis Shaw on third. The Tampa Rays pulled the infield in, and with no out, Dustin Pedroia hit a grounder to short.

Initially, Benintendi was intent on getting to third, but with the infield in, Shaw didn't break from third. That forced Benintendi to head back to second. Tampa shortstop Matt Duffy chased him back to the bag and tagged him out. As he attempted elude the tag, Benintendi's left leg buckled underneath him.

He fell to the ground and got up very gingerly. Benintendi was helped off the field by two members of the training staff, unable to put any weight on the left leg.

Only two nights earlier, Benintendi had made one of the best catches of the season when he leaped above the wall in left to prevent a two-run homer by Rays outfielder Steve Souza Jr.

Benintendi was 1-for-3 with a double Wednesday and is hitting .324 after being promoted from Double A to the big leagues three weeks ago.

 

Neumeier: Clay Buchholz could be important for Red Sox down the stretch

Neumeier: Clay Buchholz could be important for Red Sox down the stretch

Bob Neumeier explains why he thinks Clay Buchholz will ultimately end up being key for the Boston Red Sox down the stretch even if it is just a bullpen role.