Bradley brings energy to C's roster

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Bradley brings energy to C's roster

BOSTON That right shoulder injury that has limited Avery Bradley isn't quite right just yet. But he says it won't be an issue on Sunday when the Celtics host the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls.

"I'm going to be ready for Sunday," Bradley told CSNNE.com. "I'm playing Sunday."

And hopefully, he'll see more than the seven minutes of action he had in Friday's 86-74 loss at Toronto.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers had no plans of using Bradley that night because of his injury. But considering how poorly the C's looked at both ends of the floor, with little to no signs of life or energy in his players, Rivers didn't have much of a choice but to give Bradley a shot.

As it turned out, it was Bradley delivering a shot of much-needed energy which helped Boston cut a 16-point deficit down to seven at the half.

But Bradley admits it took a bit of convincing.

"I had that look on my face," Bradley said, "you put me out there and I'm just going to give all I got. He put me in, and that's what I tried to do."

Moments into the game, Bradley forced a turnover.

For the game, the Celtics were plus-seven with him on the floor.

Rivers pointed out a number of mistakes made by his team in Friday's loss, including at least one made by the coaching staff.

Yes, it had to do with Bradley.

"He was great," Rivers said. "I should have gone back with him (in the second half), honestly."

Rivers said he was close to doing so, but Rajon Rondo - who had a rough first half for the C's - began play better in the second half so Rivers opted to stick with him.

"I thought when we went small, he's better equipped to see the floor, Rondo is, to facilitate," Rivers said.

And while Rivers acknowledge regretting he didn't play Bradley more, he knows the struggles of his players left him few options that he'd normally turn to in the second half.

"They put me in a terrible position. We're down, we're scrambling, we're going small," Rivers said.

As for Bradley, Rivers said, "that effort, it was awesome."

Now a reliever, Kelly returns to Red Sox, Hembree sent down

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Now a reliever, Kelly returns to Red Sox, Hembree sent down

The Red Sox have recalled right-hander Joe Kelly from Triple-A Pawtucket, where he had been working out of the bullpen, and optioned right-handed reliever Heath Hembree back to the PawSox.

Kelly, originally in the Red Sox starting rotation this season, was plagued by injuries and ineffectiveness as a starter (8.46 ERA) but has rebounded as a reliever in Pawtucket (no runs allowed in five relief innings with one walk and nine strikeouts).

Hembree (4-0, 2.41) has been hit hard since the All-Star break, including giving up a run on three hits and allowing two inherited runners to score in a five-run seventh inning of an 11-9 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night. 

Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Twins

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Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Twins

Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Minnesota Twins . . .

1) David Price isn’t having fun

Boston’s $217 million-dollar arm had another rough outing -- this time against a team that already has 60 losses.

Those are the team’s he’s supposed to dominate.

“It’s been terrible,” Price said on how his season has gone following the loss. “Just awful.”

Price’s mistakes have often been credited to mechanical mishaps this year. Farrell mentioned that following his start in New York, Price spent time working on getting more of a downhill trajectory on his pitches.

But Price doesn’t think his issue is physical.

So it must be mental -- but he doesn’t feel that’s the case either.

“Honestly I don’t think it’s either one of those,” Price said when asked which he thought was a factor. “It’s me going out there and making pitches. “

But when it comes down to the barebones, pitching -- much like anything else -- is a physical and mental act.

So when he says it’s neither, that’s almost impossible. It could be both, but it has to be one.

His mind could be racing out on the mound from a manifestation of the issues he’s had throughout the season.

Or it could just be that his fastball isn’t changing planes consistently, like Farrell mentioned.

Both could be possible too, but it takes a certain type of physical approach and mental approach to pitch -- and Price needs to figure out which one is the issue, or how to address both. 

2) Sandy Leon might be coming back to Earth

Over his last five games, Boston’s new leading catcher is hitting .176 (3-for-17), dropping his average to .395.

A couple things have to be understood. His average is still impressive. In the five games prior to this dry spell, Leon went 7-for-19 (.368) But -- much like Jackie Bradley Jr. -- Leon hasn’t been known for his offensive output throughout his career. So dry spells are always tests of how he can respond to adversity and make necessary adjustments quickly.

Furthermore, if he’s not so much falling into a funk as opposed to becoming the real Sandy Leon -- what is Boston getting?

Is his run going to be remembered as an exciting run that lasted much longer than anyone expected? Or if he going to show he’s a legitimate hitter that can hit at least -.260 to .280 with a little pop from the bottom of the line-up?

What’s more, if he turns back into the Sandy Leon he’s been throughout his career, the Red Sox will have an interesting dilemma on how to handle the catching situation once again.

3) Heath Hembree has lost the momentum he gained after being called up.

Following Saturday’s contest, the right-hander was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket after an outing where he went 1/3 of an inning, giving up a run on three hits -- and allowing some inherited runners to score.

Hembree at one point was the savior of the bullpen, stretching his arm out over three innings at a time to bail out the scuffling Red Sox starting rotation that abused it’s bullpen.

His ERA is still only 2.41 -- and this has been the most he’s ever pitched that big league level -- but the Red Sox have seen a change in him since the All-Star break.

Which makes sense, given that hitters have seven hits and two walks against him in his 1.1 innings of work -- spanning four games since the break.

“He’s not confident pitcher right now,” John Farrell said about Hembree before announcing his demotion. “As good as Heath has been for the vast majority of this year -- and really in the whole first half -- the four times out since the break have been the other side of that.”

Joe Kelly will be the pitcher to replace Hembree and Farrell hopes to be able to stretch him out over multiple innings at a time, as well.