Notes: Long rest for Aceves; Lavarnway gains experience

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Notes: Long rest for Aceves; Lavarnway gains experience

ST. PETERSBURG -- Perhaps it's just a coincidence, but reliever Alfredo Aceves hasn't pitched for the Sox since he went out of his way to not hand the ball to Valentine, then went out if his way to walk around Valentine on the mound.

Valentine said he interpreted Aceves's behavior as "showing up" the manager, but over the last five games before Tuesday night, and of the 12 relievers in the Boston bullpen, Aceves is the only to not have pitched in the last five games.

Valentine, smiling, said Aceves would pitch "if a spot comes up."

Not long ago, Valentine said Aceves was being "stretched out," either for long relief duty or perhaps a return to the rotation.

Asked if that was still the case, Valentine said Aceves was "on call to pitch early and long if necessary."

Ryan Lavarnway, who served as DH Tuesday night, has gotten the start behind the plate in eight of the last 16 games.

Monday night's starter, Aaron Cook, praised Lavarnway for his game-calling skills and said the two worked particularly well together.

"You can't teach experience," said Valentine, "so every little bit (of time behind the plate) helps. That relationship (with veteran pitchers) takes time."

The Sox are expected to welcome additional reinforcements from Triple A Pawtucket, whose season ended last night in Durham, N.C.

Four players in Pawtucket are on the organization's 40-man roster -- infielder Danny Valencia; outfielder Che-Hsuan Line; and pitchers Pedro Beato and Zach Stewart.

All four players spent time with the parent club earlier this season.

Lin would seem an absolute lock to join the Sox, as Valentine has repeatedly bemoaned the fact that, with Ryan Kalish availability uncertain on a day-to-day basis, he otherwise has just four healthy outfielders: Jacoby Ellsbury, Cody Ross, Daniel Nava and Scott Podsednik.

Big Papi's Papi was taken by surprise at retirement announcement

Big Papi's Papi was taken by surprise at retirement announcement

BOSTON - David Ortiz may be masterful in the clutch and one of the more charitable athletes in the city, but much like anyone else, Big Papi doesn’t always inform his own Papi of news right away -- even if he plans to announce it to the general public.

“He actually didn’t tell me [that he planned to announce his retirement],” Enrique Ortiz, David’s father, said through a Red Sox’ translator on Saturday before the next-to-last regular-season game. “I was in the Dominican Republic when he announced it in the states.

While Enrique would explain -- humbly -- how proud he was of his son, he’s not so sure announcing his retirement before the season was the correct move.

“If I was [in America], I would have told him not to announce his retirement,” the elder Ortiz explained, “just because there’s so many things that can happen in a season. Or you might have a change of heart after the season.

“If I were here I would have told him to stay neutral so his options were more open. So I wouldn’t have told him to retire.”

Although dad wasn’t on board with his son’s announcement, he’s done what any good parent does -- bite their tongue and let things play out.

“I haven’t told him anything about why he's retiring because I know it’s coming from him and it’s his decision,” Enrique said. “But when I look back to 2013, I remember coming here and I see him with what looks like two cats on his feet. And I’m like ‘What happened to my boy? Did he get into an accident or something?’ And what he told me was, ‘This is how you son is making this money, doing all of this stuff before a game.’ So [him retiring] is not a surprise to me.”

Saturday's Red Sox-Blue Jays lineups: E-Rod on mound, Bogaerts back to 2-hole

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Saturday's Red Sox-Blue Jays lineups: E-Rod on mound, Bogaerts back to 2-hole

The Red Sox (93-67) look to close in on the No. 2 seed in the A.L. playoffs and home-field advantage in the Division Series with the Cleveland Indians (92-67) with a victory over the Toronto Blue Jays tonight at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox send left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (3-7, 4.68 ERA) to the mound against left-hander J.A. Happ (20-4, 3.20). Rodriguez is expected to pitch either Game 3 or 4 of the Division Series against the Indians next week.

If both teams finish with 94 wins, the Red Sox hold the tiebreaker over the Indians, based on Boston winning the season series, 4-2. The Indians may have to play a makeup game Monday with the Detroit Tigers.

The Jays are a game behind the Baltimore Orioles for the top A.L. wild-card spot and hold a half-game lead over the Detroit Tigers for the second wild-card spot. 

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts moves back to his customary No. 2 spot in the batting order after hitting sixth Friday night. Right-handed hitting Aaron Hill is at third base and Christian Vazquez catches for Boston.

There will be the second of three ceremonies this weekend to honor retiring Red Sox DH David Ortiz before the game.  

The lineups:

RED SOX
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Chris Young LF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Aaron Hill 3B
Christian Vazquez C
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Eduardo Rodriguez LHP

BLUE JAYS
Devon Travis 2B
Josh Donaldson 3B
Edwin Encarnacion 1B
Jose Bautista DH
Russell Martin C
Troy Tulowitzki SS
Melvin Upton LF
Kevin Pillar CF
Ezequiel Carrera RF
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J.A. Happ LHP