Sox notes: Ellsbury homers in return to lineup

Sox notes: Ellsbury homers in return to lineup
September 4, 2013, 8:15 pm
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BOSTON – After sitting out of the game Tuesday, Jacoby Ellsbury is back in the Red Sox lineup for the finale of the nine-game homestand and three-game series against the Tigers at Fenway Park Wednesday night.
 
Ellsbury has been bothered by a sore left hand after getting jammed on a couple of swings at the plate on Sunday. He hit a home run down the right field line off Tigers starter Rick Porcello in the third inning on Wednesday night
 
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As good as Koji Uehara has been this season, he’s gotten better in the second half. He pitched a perfect ninth inning on Tuesday for his 17th save. It was his 15th perfect outing in his past 17 overall, including his past six in a row to tie the Red Sox record of Jeff Russell’s six in a row in 1993. Uehara has retired the past 21 batters he has faced.
 
This season, 73 percent of the pitches he has thrown have been strikes. He's throwing an average of 3.96 pitchers per batter. In the first half of the season, those numbers were 72 percent and 4.06, while in the second half they have been 77 percent and 3.69.
 
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The Cubs claimed Daniel Bard off waivers Wednesday afternoon, ending the right-hander’s time with the Red Sox. Bard was designated for assignment on Sunday. The move will reunite him with Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, who was Sox general manager when Bard was drafted in the first round in 2006 out of the University of North Carolina. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer was a Sox assistant GM at the time.
 
Farrell, for one, was not surprised that Bard  was claimed, especially by the Cubs.
 
“Not surprised that the Cubs would claim him, given the familiarity,” Farrell said.
 
Whether or not Bard can regain the form that once made him one of the most dominant set-up men in baseball before a disastrous attempt at starting pitching last season remains to be seen.
 
“I’m not going to say that he can’t [regain his form]," Farrell said. “There’s still a player and a pitcher there that is motivated, and yet any time that there’s activity disrupted by an injury, it’s going to slow that process.
 
“Based on what we saw over the past couple of years, it needs to be built back gradually," Farrell said "and however long that takes is the unknown in this.
 
“I guess the most important thing is we wish him well. We hope he gets back on track," Farrell said. "There’s still a good pitcher in there once he gets back on track, we believe.”
 
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After going 0-for-3 on Tuesday, David Ortiz entered the game Wednesday two hits shy of 2,000 for his career. ... Dustin Pedroia enters the game two home runs shy of 100 for his career. He has hit eight home runs this season, but none since July 31, a stretch of 31 games. ... The Sox go into the game 83-57, matching a season high 26 games above .500. They have not been 27 games above .500 since Sept. 8, 2011.

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Clay Buchholz is scheduled to make his third rehab start Thursday with Pawtucket in Game 2 of the first round of the International League playoffs in Rochester, N.Y. Buchholz’s wife, Lindsay, gave birth to the couple’s second child, daughter Landri, on Wednesday. Buchholz was in the Sox clubhouse Wednesday afternoon.