Rally fizzles; Pedroia scuffles

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Rally fizzles; Pedroia scuffles

BOSTON With the Red Sox trailing by three runs going into the eighth inning Friday night against the Braves, there were fleeting thoughts that they might be able to duplicate their eighth-inning dramatics of the night before.

After all, the sparkplug to Thursdays three-run, game-winning rally, Will Middlebrooks, was leading off, followed by Ryan Kalish, Mike Aviles, and Daniel Nava, who all played key roles in the outburst.

Middlebrooks and his teammates had been virtually stymied up to that point in the game by Braves right-hander Jair Jurrjens, making his first big league start since April 23. Jurrjens had allowed just three baserunners through the first seven innings a first-inning single by Adrian Gonzalez, a third-inning walk to Nava, and hitting Middlebrooks with a pitch in the fifth.

Middlebrooks came through in the eighth with a lead-off double, off the wall in center field. After Kalish flied out to center field and Aviles grounded out to shortstop, Nava doubled to center, scoring Middlebrooks and ending Jurrjens outing.

Chad Durbin replaced Jurrjens on the mound to face Dustin Pedroia. But Pedroia grounded out to short to end the Red Sox hopes, as they fell to the Braves, 4-1.

Pedroia missed six games after leaving the May 28 game against the Tigers with a slight tear in the adductor muscle of his right thumb. He avoided the disabled list. But, in 15 games since returning to the lineup, Pedroia is batting .145, going 9-for-62, with three extra-base hits, all doubles, five RBI, five walks, and 10 strikeouts. His average has fallen from .295 to .264 in that span.

Today he actually said he felt fine, like its over, manager Bobby Valentine said. It probably did take three weeks plus to heal. And I thought his swings tonight were pretty good. The ball he hit to right field in the sixth was one of the best balls he hit to right field in a long time.

Just pitchers, theres a lot of pitchers that theyre pitching him tough. He hasnt gotten those pitches that he can really drive. And hes battling. Hell get hot. Hotter than a firecracker.

Asked if he would consider moving Pedroia out of his customary No. 2 spot in the lineup, Valentine replied:

Theres been a lot of consideration but I think Pedroia getting hot is right around the corner.

Red Sox re-acquire INF Rutledge in Rule 5 draft

Red Sox re-acquire INF Rutledge in Rule 5 draft

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- On Wednesday afternoon, Dave Dombrowski was asked what else he might be searching for to complete his roster.
     
Dombrowski, noting that Travis Shaw had been dealt away in the trade that brought the Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg, said the Red Sox could use another utility infielder to compete with left-handed-hitting Marco Hernandez.
     
On Thursday morning, Dombrowski found a familiar body in the unlikeliest of places.
     
The Sox selected Josh Rutledge from the Colorado Rockies in the Rule 5 draft. Rutledge, who was once obtained in exchange for outfielder Shane Victorino, spent parts of two seasons with the Red Sox, posting a slash line of .276/.338/.358 with a homer and 13 RBI in 67 games.
     
He missed most of last season with a knee injury and was outrighted by the Sox last month, becoming a free agent. He signed a minor league deal with the Rockies, but was unprotected by the Rockies and made available in Thursday's draft.
     
"We always liked him,'' said Dombrowski. "He thought his opportunity to play at the big league level was better [in Colorado]. But it was a situation for us, we looked at our club and we thought we might need a right-handed [hitting] utility infielder. We looked over the list and we like what he can do for our ballclub. So he was on obvious choice for us.''
     
Rutledge will compete against Marco Hernandez to become another bench player to team with Brock Holt on the Red Sox  roster.
     
Deven Marrero is also a righthand-hitting infielder, but his strength is defense and he's yet to prove he can hit major league pitching.
     
"I'd rather have someone [competing] who can swing the bat a little bit more,'' said Dombrowski. "I think [Rutledge] lines up to be on our club. We'll see what happens in spring training, but we know him, we like him. There looks like there's a path for him.''
     
Drafting Rutledge cost the Red Sox just $50,000 and he must  remain on the team's 25-man roster all season or, be offered back to the Rockies and placed on waivers.
     
The Sox also lost two players in the Rule 5 major league draft. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim chose right-handed pitcher Justin Haley, while the Baltimore Orioles chose outfielder Aneury Tavarez.

 

Need a reminder all prospects don’t hit? Happy anniversary, Andy Marte trade

Need a reminder all prospects don’t hit? Happy anniversary, Andy Marte trade

In a week that has seen the Red Sox trade arguably the best prospect in baseball, Thursday can serve as a reminder that not all prospects -- even the great ones -- end up hitting. 

Eleven years ago today, the Red Sox traded Edgar Renteria to the Braves, and in eating some of the veteran shortstop’s contract, got Atlanta to give them third baseman Andy Marte. 

Andy freaking Marte. Those stupid, stupid Braves.

If you were a baseball fan at the time, you were flummoxed at the notion that the Braves, who were a factory for developing good, young players, would trade the No. 9 prospect in all of baseball from 2005, according to Baseball America. At 22 years old, he was coming off seasons that saw him hit 23 homers in Double-A and 20 in Triple-A. 

“There’s nothing not to like about Andy Marte. He’s and outstanding defender with a chance to be an impact player offensively,” an opposing Double-A manager said of him, per Baseball America. 

Some of the other guys in the top 10 that year? Joe Mauer, Felix Hernandez and Scott Kazmir. Sitting one spot behind Marte on the list? Hanley Ramirez. 

And when the Red Sox got Marte, he immediately shot up to No. 1 on the Baseball America’s list of Boston’s prospects. Look at the rest of this list. Hell, there’s a combined 10 All-Star nods between Nos. 2 and 3 alone, and that’s not to mention the American League MVP sitting at No. 5. 

So what did Marte do for the Red Sox? Well, he got them Coco Crisp. After Theo Epstein returned from his hiatus, he shipped Marte, the recently acquired Guillermo Mota (dude got traded three times in six months), Kelly Shoppach, a player to be named later and cash for Crisp, Josh Bard and David Riske. 

Crisp didn’t exactly rip it up in Boston, but Epstein’s (and then-Braves general manager John Schuerholz’) foresight to trade Marte proved wise. Marte spent six seasons in Cleveland, seemingly given every chance to break out, but never played more than 81 games. He was designated for assignment in 2009 and cleared waivers, allowing him to stay with the organization as a Triple-A player. The next season was his final one in Cleveland, and he left a six-season stint in with the organization having averaged just 50 games, three homers and 16 RBI at the Major League level. 

Marte would bounce around a bit in the Pittsburgh and Angels organizations, but he didn’t make it back up to the bigs until 2014 on a July 31 callup with the Diamondbacks. He’s now playing in Korea. 

Great prospects often become great players, and the Red Sox’ roster is proof of that. Strikeout concerns aside, there’s not much to suggest Yoan Moncada won’t be an absolute stud. Fans looking for silver lining to losing a top-tier prospect (other than the fact that you could Chris Sale for the guy), can look back 11 years and hope for the best. A lot of people were wrong about Andy Marte.