McQuaid improving, skating in limited capacity

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McQuaid improving, skating in limited capacity

Things continue to return back to normal for Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid.

The Bs defenseman, who is recovering from multiple blood clot surgeries on his arm, has been skating regularly with the rest of the local NHL players over the last few weeks with a trip home to Prince Edward Island for the holidays sandwiched in between.

On Thursday McQuaid was skating locally with NHL locals Shawn Thornton, Tuukka Rask, Keith Yandle, Ryan Whitney, Brian Boyle and Jay Pandalfo among other out-of-work hockey players.

Hes also graduated from skating on his own at one end of the rink to getting involved in games of shinny with the rest of the players and even snapping off a shot while the players are running through drills. Thats a long way from the multiple surgeries needed three months ago, and thats a very good thing.

Between those skating sessions and daily physical therapy McQuaid is feeling better every day, and getting more hopeful that hell be able to return at some point this season.

You just try something new every day and see how it feels, and so far its all been pretty good, said McQuaid. Its about working on my strength and getting my legs back because I was off the ice for so long. But things have been pretty good so far.

It doesnt appear that it will be when the NHL season is expected to open on Jan. 19 and it might not even be February when most normal people would be close to fully recovered from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. But McQuaid is off the blood thinner medication when it was originally thought he might be on it for a six-month period that would have kept him out of NHL action -- and building back up his upper body strength.

Its obvious that McQuaid is well down from his playing weight last season, and will need to keep building strength as his NHL game is based on being able to take hits and dole them out all at the same time.

In the meantime the Bruins will need to get along with new defenseman Aaron Johnson along with a host of hopefuls from Providence. None will be able to replace McQuaids intimidation factor in the interim, or his solid defensive capabilities in his own end.

But McQuaid is talking about when rather than if for a potential return to the lineup, and thats a very good thing.

Quotes, notes and stars: "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving"

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Quotes, notes and stars: "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving"

NEW YORK -- Quotes, Notes and Stars from the Red Sox' 5-1 loss to the Yankees:

QUOTES

* "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving." David Ortiz, unaccustomed to ovations and cheering at Yankee Stadium.

* "I thought he threw a high number of strikes. There was good swing-and-miss to his changeup and he took the opportunity and showed well." John Farrell on Henry Owens.

* "It's just taking good swings in good counts. It's just being a more mature hitter and looking for the right spots to pick and choose." Xander Bogaerts, who has tripled his homer output since last year.

NOTES:

* With his fourth-inning homer, Xander Bogaerts tripled his home run total from last year, improving from seven to 21.

* The season series between the Red Sox and Yankees ended with the Sox winning 11 of the 18 games.

* The Boston bullpen has given up eight runs in the last two nights after allowing only seven this month before Wednesday night.

* The Sox suffered only their second sweep of the season. They were also swept by the Tigers in July.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. has reached base safely in his last 13 games.

* Junichi Tazawa has contributed seven straight scoreless outings.

* Robbie Ross Jr. allowed a season-high three walks -- all in the same inning.

* Henry Owens has a career ERA of 8.53 against the Yankees.

* David Ortiz went hitless (0-for-11) in his final series at Yankee Stadium.

STARS:

1) CC Sabathia

Sabathia turned back the clock and looked like a far younger version of himself, pitching into the eighth and allowed just a run on four hits while striking out eighth.

2) Jacoby Ellsbury

Ellsbury had a hand in the first Yankee run -- walk, stolen base, run scored -- and doubled home the second run in the fifth inning.

3) Xander Bogaerts

The Sox had little offense on the night, but Bogaerts smoked a solo homer in the fourth to account for their only run.

First impressions: Owens improves, Scott scuffles

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First impressions: Owens improves, Scott scuffles

NEW YORK -- First impression from Red Sox' 5-1 loss to the Yankees:

* Henry Owens looked improved over earlier starts.

The lefty took the place of Drew Pomeranz Thursday night and pitched into the fifth inning, allowing two runs on four hits.

Talent evaluators believe that Owens has the stuff necessary to be a back-end starter in the big leagues if -- and that's a big qualifier -- he can command his pitches.

Alas, that's often been an issue for Owens, who averaged 3.4 walks per nine innings last season in Boston and, in four starts earlier this season, a bloated 9.3 walks per nine innings.

On Thursday night, Owens showed far better control, issuing just two walks. Further, he managed to pitch ahead in the count, giving him an advantage against the New York lineup. And mixing his changeup and fastball, he fanned six.

* Robby Scott had a bad night at a bad time.

Scott's in the mix to make the Red Sox post-season roster as a lefty specialist, competing against the likes of Fernando Abad.

He had been effective in most of his previous outings, with no runs allowed in six appearances with five strikeouts and a walk.

But brought in to face Brian McCann with runners on first and second and one out in the sixth, he yielded a single to center.

After getting Aaron Hicks on a flyout, he walked rookie Tyler Austin to force in a run, then heaved a wild pitch that scored another run before retiring Brett Gardner on a flyout.

Keeping in mind that Scott wouldn't be asked to face that many righthanders were he to make the post-season roster, Thursday's outing wasn't helpful in making his case.

* Yoan Moncada is gone for now.

The Red Sox announced that the rookie third baseman had traveled to Fort Myers to prepare for his upcoming assignment in the Arizona Fall League next month.

Expectations were high for Moncada when he joined the Red Sox on Labor Day weekend in Oakland and when he collected multiple hits in each of his first two starts, it appeared as though he would get most of the playing time at third for the remainder of the season.

But not long after, Moncada began chasing breaking balls out of the strike zone and looking very much overmatched at the plate. HE struck out in nine consecutive at-bats.

That doesn't mean that Moncada won't someday -- likely in the not-too-distant future -- be a very good major league player. But it is a reminder of how big a jump it is to go from Double A.

And, it served to point out how remarkable Andrew Benintendi has been in making that same jump.