Bard to pitch out of pen for PawSox Monday night


Bard to pitch out of pen for PawSox Monday night

PAWTUCKET, R.I. Daniel Bard was originally scheduled to start Monday night against the Gwinnett Braves. It was to be his second start for Triple-A Pawtucket since being sent down on June 7. Instead, as first reported earlier Monday, Bard is scheduled to pitch one inning out of the bullpen tonight, with right-hander Billy Buckner starting in his place.

Thats what they want to do, said PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler. Thats the plan. They just didnt want him starting. Nothing built into it. Just think hes a little more comfortable coming out of the pen, just to throw one or two innings. He doesnt want to start unless he throws multiple innings. I think thats the idea behind it. But nobodys really said anything.

Its difficult to see, though, how that plan helps Bard adjust to becoming a starting pitcher.

When Bard was sent down, he brought a 5-6 record with a 5.24 ERA with him. In his last outing June 3 in Toronto, he lasted just 1 23 innings, giving up five runs on one hits and six walks, with a home run, and two strikeouts. Facing 13 batters, he hit two of them. He threw 55 pitches, just 24 for strikes, an inadequate 44 percent strike rate. After the outing he was tied for the American League lead with eight hit batters.

In all, Bard has a 59 percent strike rate this season, below the desired two-thirds rate. By comparison, he had a 65 percent rate last season.

In his first outing with the PawSox, a start Friday against Indianapolis, he lasted just one inning, giving up three runs on two hits with two strikeouts, no walks, and two hit batters.

So, how does the sudden move back to the bullpen help him become a starter for the Sox?

It doesnt, physically or mentally, said one major league evaluator.

Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays


Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia hit his fourth career grand slam to help Rick Porcello get his major league-leading 22nd win, and the Boston Red Sox clinched a playoff berth by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 Saturday night for their 10th consecutive win.

Boston maintained a 5 1/2-game lead over Toronto for the division title and ensured no worse than the AL's second wild card. While the Red Sox technically have a magic number of one, the Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles play each other three times in the season's final week - meaning only one of them can win match Boston's 91 wins.

Among the other wild-card contenders, only Detroit can reach 91 victories.

Pedroia stopped an 0-for-17 skid with a single in the sixth and gave Boston a 6-3 lead with a seventh-inning drive off Danny Farquhar.

Porcello (22-4) gave up three runs, eight hits and struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings. He just missed getting his 12th consecutive start of seven or more innings and three runs or fewer, which would have moved him past Cy Young (1904) and Pedro Martinez (2000) for the longest stretch during the same season in franchise history.

Craig Kimbrel, the fifth Boston reliever, reached 30 saves for the sixth straight season despite allowing Logan Forsythe's solo homer in the ninth.

Brad Miller hit a two-run double in a three-run second that put Tampa Bay up 3-1 and gave him 80 RBIs.

Tampa Bay threatened in the second but failed to score due to two nice defensive plays. Pedroia made a throw from just in front of the outfield grass at second base on Mikie Mahtook's grounder to get Corey Dickerson at the plate. Third baseman Brock Holt made a solid play along the line on Alexei Ramirez's grounder and threw him out at first to end the inning.

Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason


Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

Thought to be lost for the season after shoulder surgery this past spring, Pablo Sandoval could possibly return to the Red Sox for the postseason, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Saturday.

Sandoval joined the team in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Farrell said Sandoval had played in instructional league games in Florida and was "well ahead of schedule."

He could be an option to be activated if another player is injured. 

“One of the things I put in my mind that I have to work,” Sandoval told Boston Herald. “I learned a lot of things about this surgery so I had to work hard to be on the field as soon as possible.

“There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better everyday.”

Sandoval, 30, is in the second year of a five-year, $95 contract. He lost his starting third base job to Travis Shaw in spring training and in April an MRI revealed he needed surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was to have ended his season.

He appeared in only three games this season and hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 126 games in 2015.