Lillibridge getting settled in his No. 23 Red Sox jersey

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Lillibridge getting settled in his No. 23 Red Sox jersey

BOSTON Brent Lillibridge, who arrived in Boston early this afternoon, was in the Red Sox clubhouse before the start of the series against the Blue Jays, wearing uniform No. 23, occupying Kevin Youkilis former locker.

Im excited, said Lillibridge. Kind of have to just turn the page pretty quick in this game. Excited to be part of this team, obviously, an historic franchise. Its going to be a lot of fun.

Lillibridge was part of the trade that brought him and right-hander Zach Stewart from the White Sox in exchange for Kevin Youkilis.

Like Youkilis, Lillibridge learned of the trade during his game.

Going into the day obviously we knew there was a good chance the White Sox were going to acquire Youk, he said. We didnt really know how it was going to be coming togetheR . . . And I didnt expect to be part of that.

You never know when its going to happen or expect it at all but White Sox manager Robin Ventura pulled me aside on the bench and I was going to hit in the 10th . . . He said, 'I got to sit you. I thought I did something wrong or something. But in the end, it was just, Youre going to be part of a trade. I dont know everything about it, but just go in upstairs, relax, and GM Kenny Williams will talk to you about it and give you the heads up. So it was a shock right way. But its amazing what one day does. Im here wearing red instead of black and ready to go, meeting new guys and seeing some familiar faces, ready to get after it.

Lillibridge grew up in the Seattle area but his paternal grandfather lived in Rhode Island, passing his love of the Red Sox on to Lillibridges father. So, his dad is excited about his new team, he said.

Lillibridge was a fourth-round pick of the Pirates in 2005. He made his big league debut with the Braves in 2008 and has played for the White Sox for parts of the last four seasons.

He was acquired as a utility player. He has played every position except pitcher and catcher in his five-year big league career.

I think Ive been in the big leagues as long as I have is just being able to play, outfield, infield, all that stuff, he said of his versatility. So I feel like it can help get me in the lineup here too. SoI dont really have any expectations other than just being a part of this team and helping us try to win and moving on past the White Sox.

By 4:30, manager Bobby Valentine had still not had a chance to meet his latest acquisition.

Id like to meet him. thats my first plan, Valentine said. I keep dodging him. And get to know him. I watched some film early this afternoon. Ive seen his statistics. He looks like he can be a real contributing factor on a winning team.

Asked to describe his style of play, Lillibridge replied:

Id say high energy. The big thing is just trying to do something right every single game to help the team out. So thats all Im worried about and playing the game hard, which I think all of us really do. Its kind of clich sometimes. But just playing when I get in there to work really hard and prepare myself to be ready to play every day and go from there. Always excited. I love playingthis game and I want to play for a long time. Hopefully its a long time with the Boston Red Sox.

A scout who is familiar with Lillibridge offered this assessment:

He can help them in a number of ways; infield, outfield, all three outfield positions. Second base will be his best infield position. He cant go to shortstop too often. Hell probably be in the outfield more often. Hes a solid baserunner. He does a lot of things to help but he cant play too much or hell get overexposed. Hell be great in the clubhouse. Hes a professional guy. He knows what a utility guy is all about.

Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

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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

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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.