Ortiz tells Middlebrooks not to push his return

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Ortiz tells Middlebrooks not to push his return

BOSTON -- Having to watch the Red Sox struggle is one thing. Having to do it knowing that you're just one of a few power hitters absent is even more frustrating.

David Ortiz's return to the Red Sox offense this season is still up in the air. But one thing is for sure: Will Middlebrooks (broken wrist) and Adrian Gonzalez (traded to the Dodgers) aren't coming back to Boston's lineup. The three combined for 53 home runs for the Red Sox this season. And their absence the rest of the way will undoubtedly be noticed.

"That's the game," said Ortiz. "In the game, you're going to have power hitters. You're going to have guys that get on base. Everybody's going to have different roles."

Middlebrooks will be back next season, though. Ortiz -- as a free agent -- is still unsure what's going to happen in the offseason.

But Ortiz and Middlebrooks are together for the time being, and all they can do is watch from the Red Sox dugout. Just as Ortiz is waiting until he's completely healthy to return, he's telling Middlebrooks to do the same for next season.

"I was sitting right next to my boy Will yesterday," said Ortiz. "The guy has impressed me, you know what I'm saying? It's like, don't worry, we're in the same boat. Me, as an older guy, I tried to tell Will, make sure you go back to normal so you don't get worse. So, don't worry, we'll be back. And it's going to be at the right place at the right time, when it comes down to playing.

"I've been injured before. Will is a new kid who pretty much gives everything he has while he was playing. And out of nowhere he gets injured like that and has to sit down for the rest of the season."

Bobby Valentine says the lack of power in the lineup has probably had an affect on his lineup.

"Its hard to value that or weight that but we are lacking the real threat of that home run guy," said Valentine. "Most teams have a couple of them. Were lacking right now. We have guys who will hit home runs before the end of the year."

But certainly the Red Sox offense has struggled without Ortiz and Middlebrooks.

Quotes, notes and stars: Swihart flashes power and speed

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Quotes, notes and stars: Swihart flashes power and speed

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 10-3 win over the Colorado Rockies:

 

QUOTES

"I felt a little cramp. I'm fine. I appreciate John and everybody looking out (for me). We obviously don't want anything to happen like last year, but I'm good.'' - Dustin Pedroia, who left the game in the fifth after experiencing some tightness in his right hamstring.

"It's nice to be able to get deep into the game. That's my goal every time. My goal is nine innings, so if I don't get nine innings, I'm a little disappointed because I want to be able to go out there and pitch as many innings as I can.'' - Steven Wright.

"I think my release point was just a little off. That definitely makes it hard, especially when it's moving, because it's not a consistent release point.'' - Wright on the early-inning unpredictability of his signature pitch.

"Even when I was catching, I pride myself on running. I want to be an athlete back there. I want to run the bases, steal bases, things most catchers aren't known to do.'' - Blake Swihart, who hit two triples.

 

NOTES

* Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to 29 games.

* Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 18 games.

* David Ortiz tied Paul Molitor for 12th on the all-time doubles list with 605.

* Ortiz has driven in multiple runs in three straight games

* Dustin Pedroia has a career batting average of .340 in interleague play, the highest ever for someone with 500 or more at-bats.

* Travis Shaw drove in three runs and now has 68 RBI in his first 111 games since Fred Lynn and Jim Rice in 1974-75.

* Blake Swihart became the third Red Sox hitter this season to post two triples in the same game.

* The Red Sox clinched their fifth straight home series win.

* The Sox are 21-8 since April 24 and are 13-2 in their last 15 home games.

 

STARS

1) Steven Wright

Backed by some rare run support, Wright evened his record at 4-4 with seven-plus innings and his eighth quality start this season.

2) Travis Shaw

Shaw produced two hits and knocked in three runs, making him the fourth Red Sox player this season to reach 30 RBI.

3) Blake Swihart

Swihart got to flash both his power and his speed by hitting two triples to the triangle, motoring around the bases.

 

First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 win over Rockies

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First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 win over Rockies

BOSTON- First impressions from the Red Sox' 10-3 win over Colorado:

 

Steven Wright is the very picture of consistency.

In nine starts this season, Wright has pitched at least six innings and allowed two earned runs or fewer eight times. In the one start in which he failed to do so, he was pitching in a mini-monsoon and unable to properly grip his signature pitch.

On Wednesday, he battled some early-inning wildness with the knuckler, resulting in two wild pitches and four passed balls, but eventually settled down.

His 4-4 mark hardly represents how well he's pitched. A more telling stat is the 60 2/3 innings he's pitched in nine outings, just shy of seven per game.

 

It could be a costly night for injuries.

Ryan Hanigan left the game after 2 1/2 innings because of illness. Dustin Pedroia came out in the fifth as a precaution after experiencing some tightness in his right hamstring. And Xander Bogaerts jammed his thumb in the eighth.

Let's assume that Hanigan's illness is a temporary thing, and since Bogaerts remained in the game, that, too, seemed minor.

But the Pedroia hamstring is potentially a red flag, since it was that same hamstring that sidelined him for almost half of last season.

 

For the past 19 home games, the Red Sox have averaged more than eight runs per game.

Nineteen games isn't exactly a small sample size. In fact, it's almost exactly one-quarter of the home schedule. To average more than eight runs per game over that long a stretch, covering parts of three different homestands, is pretty remarkable.

 

Blake Swihart's speed is something else.

Swihart hit two triples to the triangle Wednesday night, and on the second, to see him shift into higher gear as he approached second base was really something to see.

It's difficult to think of another catcher -- and yes, I understand that Swihart has been playing left field exclusively of late; but he remains primarily a catcher -- who ran as well as Swihart does.

When the Sox and other independent evaluators remark about Swihart's athleticism, that's one of the things to which they're referring.