Shanahan: Tebow controversy will never end

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Shanahan: Tebow controversy will never end

FOXBORO - The Broncos' current brass has faced charges of being slow to embrace Tebow-mania. On Wednesday, Denver's former capo di tutti capi said that's probably going to be the case for a long time because Tim Tebow is so unconventional. Mike Shanahan, who won two Super Bowls with the Broncos, began by saying during a conference call with New England media that Tebow's work in Denver is "kind of great."He added, "I had a chance to work out Tim a few times and got a chance to get to know him. He did the same thing at Florida that hes doing now with Denver. Hes got a way of moving the ball and finding a way to get the ball in the end zone and people are playing at a high level around him."Shanahan and I had a great Tebow-related conversation at the 2010 NFL Owner's Meetings. He had misgivings about Tebow's throwing motion and the fact the former Florida quarterback was not fundamentally sound. But he said then he respected the way he got consistentlypositiveresults. It sounds like Shanahan's feelings are still pretty much the same. "People still come up with the big question mark youre going against a team that scores some points, can he play a catch up game?" Shanahan pointed out. "But hell keep on getting better and better and I dont think the controversy will ever end."

Sunday's Red Sox-Twins lineups: No Ortiz, Betts

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Sunday's Red Sox-Twins lineups: No Ortiz, Betts

David Ortiz is out of the starting lineup on Sunday, as is Mookie Betts, as the Red Sox conclude their four-game series with the Twins at Fenway Park looking for a split with last-place Minnesota.

It's a scheduled day off for Ortiz and Betts is still bothered by right knee swelling and soreness that led him to miss the game Saturday (an 11-9 Red Sox loss) and come out of the game in the fifth inning Friday.

Hanley Ramirez takes Ortiz's spot a DH and Travis Shaw moves to first base. Rick Porcello (12-2, 3.47 ERA) looks to extend his Fenway winning streak to 10 (he's 9-0 with a 2.98 ERA in 10 home starts this season). Left-hander Tommy Millone (3-2, 4.71) starts for the Twins.

The lineups:

TWINS
Eduardo Nunez SS
Joe Mauer 1B
Miguel Sano 3B
Brian Dozier 2B
Max Kepler RF
Kennys Vargas DH
Eddie Rosario LF
Juan Centeno C
Byron Buxton CF
---
Tommy Millone LHP
 
RED SOX
Brock Holt LF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Hanley Ramirez DH
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Aaron Hill 3B
Travis Shaw 1B
Bryce Brentz RF
Ryan Hanigan C
---
Rick Porcello, SP

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.