Red Sox drop Gonzalez to sixth in the batting order

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Red Sox drop Gonzalez to sixth in the batting order

BOSTON -- For the first time this season, Adrian Gonzalez was dropped to the sixth spot in the Red Sox batting order Wednesday night.

Manager Bobby Valentine said said the move was made to get "a little more balance'' into the lineup against lefty Wei-Yin Chen, the Orioles starter.

But it may also be a reflection of the struggles that Gonzalez has experienced at the plate.

Gonzalez was 0-for-5 in the homestand opener Tuesday, making the final out in three different innings.

In addition to a surprising lack of power -- he has just four homers at the one-third mark of the season and a paltry .407 slugging percentage -- Gonzalez has struck out 47 times with just 16 walks.

"Adrian's a really good hitter,'' said Valentine, "but he hasn't found that rhythm yet. He'll have his numbers. I'm not sure if he's going outside the strike zone or he's too anxious and not waiting for his pitch. He'll have a walk and a home run in one of these games, and that will set him off.''

At his current pace, Gonzalez would finish with approximately 48 walks, which would be, by far, the lowest total of his career. In fact, Gonzalez's walk totals have declined in each of the last three seasons.

After drawing a career-high -- and major-league-leading -- 119 times in 2009, his walks fell to 93 in 2010 and 74 in 2011.

As for the strikeouts, Gonzalez is on pace for 140, which would represent his highest total since 2008.

Gonzalez owns a career 1.64 strikeout-to-walk ratio, but this year it's an inflated 2.94.

"I think the walks will come and the home runs will come,'' said Valentine. "I think they're joined at the hip.''

Ortiz quells comeback speculation: 'My playing time has expired'

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Ortiz quells comeback speculation: 'My playing time has expired'

Forget that cryptic Tweet to the Globe. David Ortiz isn't walking through that door, fans. At least not as a player.

"My playing time has already expired," Ortiz told ESPN Deportes. "Baseball is not something that you wake up today and you say, 'I'll play tomorrow.' Baseball is something that carries a lot of sacrifice, a lot of preparation, and there is a reason why we train the entire year to play it, practice every day, especially during the season, because it is a sport of consistency."

No one really thought he was contemplating a comeback, but last week he Tweeted this . . .

. . . and that raised hopes that he'd changed his mind.

Not so.

 

Red Sox avoid arbitration with Bogaerts, Holt with 1-year deals

Red Sox avoid arbitration with Bogaerts, Holt with 1-year deals

Facing a 1 p.m. Friday deadline to avoid arbitration, the Red Sox reportedly agreed to a one-year, $3.6 million deal with center field Jackie Bradley Jr., and also avoided hearings with six other players.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, utilityman Brock Holt, pitchers Joe Kelly, Robbie Ross Jr., Tyler Thornburgh and catcher Sandy Leon also agreed to one-year deals.

Terms of the deals were not announced.

It leaves left-handers Fernando Abad and Drew Pomeranz as the only arbitration-eligible Red Sox without a deal.