Red Sox notes: Ellsbury scratched; lineup shuffled

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Red Sox notes: Ellsbury scratched; lineup shuffled

BOSTON Jacoby Ellsbury was in the original lineup the Red Sox posted, in his customary lead-off spot, playing center field. But, soon after that manager Bobby Valentine posted a new lineup with Ellsbury scratched and Ryan Kalish taking his place.

Valentine said Ellsbury is sitting out with a leg ailment.

Im just being safe with Jacoby, Valentine said. He has a very little situation that he wanted to play through and with the day game tomorrow I vetoed it. Ryans healthy, ready to go.

Its a leg issue, but its not an issue, but it could become an issue. Now that hes not playing, its an issue.

Kalish has led off three times previously, all in 2010. He is 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia is back with the team after missing Friday with what Valentine had thought was an ear infection. Actually, it was food poisoning.

Saltalamacchia is batting sixth, serving as the designated hitter.

He said he felt really good when he woke up this morning, Valentine said. Came here and lifted some weights and got it out of his system.

Third baseman Will Middlebrooks is not in the starting lineup. Its just a day off, he said, and not health related.

Its OK, Middlebrooks said. Just a day off. I want to play but its a long season, so take em when I can get em.

I wanted to get him a day off two days ago. He talked me out of it and I said OK well go through the left-hander Brian Duensing, Thursday, Valentine said. We all need days off and hes out working every day early. Hes doing great.

Of Middlebrooks' diving grab on Brian Doziers pop foul near the third base dugout on a bunt attempt for the first out in the 10th inning with a runner on second, Valentine said:

He wanted it, didn't he? He showed the effort that he has burning in the belly every night. Very big play at a big time in the game. Too bad it didn't result in a win.

Valentine has seen Middlebrooks defense improving.

I think that a lot of early work and also more time, his experience has made him a real improved third baseman., Valentine said. In particular his backhand.

Valentine said David Ortiz, on the disabled list since July 17 with a strained right Achilles tendon, is progressing. Ortiz did a pregame workout and hes feeling better, but there is still no schedule for a return to the lineup.

Left-hander Franklin Morales is scheduled to start Sunday against the Twins (in place of Josh Beckett, who left his Tuesday start against the Tigers with a back spasm with two outs in the third inning). This will be Morales sixth start of the season, first since July 13 in Tampa Bay.

It will be his first career start against the Twins. In four relief appearances, spanning 3 23 innings, he has allowed three runs. All the runs he allowed were prior to joining the Sox in May 2010. Since then, he has pitched two scoreless innings over three games against Minnesota.

Hes pitched very well for us the majority of times hes been on the mound, as a starter, reliever, Valentine said. Im expecting for him to be healthy, sound, aggressive, pound the strike zone, use his three pitches and help us win a game.

Depending on Becketts health, Morales will likely return to the bullpen after Sunday.

I dont plan on going with six pitchers all year, Valentine said. So well see.

On left-hander Felix Doubront's outing against the twins Friday, in which he went five innings, giving up five runs on eight this and four walks with two strikeouts, Valentine said:

Felix Doubront is a first-year starter in the American League, in the American League East in Boston, Massachusetts. We want to look at a perfect finished product and a guy whos doing an outstanding job. Im not looking at perfection. I've seen a great deal of excellence. I love the excellence that I see and I think we can build on that.

Quotes, notes and stars: Ziegler 'a Godsend' for Red Sox bullpen

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Quotes, notes and stars: Ziegler 'a Godsend' for Red Sox bullpen

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Minnesota Twins:

 
QUOTES

“We’ve come off a couple of days where we’re a pitch away or a swing of the bat away from being in a spot where we’re possibly looking at four consecutive in this series. But to pressed as we were -- give them credit they didn’t give in. They kept coming back -- they mounted some threats late.” - John Farrell said on the Red Sox the third consecutive in which they’d blown the lead.

“He’s been a Godsend to be honest. It’s a comfortable inning. The ball’s on the ground . . . He’s very calm, he’s experienced it . . . His addition here has given us a huge boost in line with the injuries to Koji [Uehara] and Craig [Kimbrel]” -  Farrell said on having Ziegler as an option.

“I’ll be honest, I get nervous when I’m watching, sixth, seventh, eighth inning of the game. I’ve picked my fingernails down too low one night. It’s a lot easier for me when I’m on the mound.” - Ziegler on dealing with his adrenaline and excitement when entering a game.

“That’s baseball. I mean, over the course of 162 games those sort of things are going to happen and you just keep battling and doing your job.” - Rick Porcello said about things not going entirely his way, despite feeling good on the mound.

“Yes. Because he threw me a changeup first pitch in my first at-bat. Sometimes you guess right.” - Hanley Ramirez said on why he was expecting a changeup from Tommy Milone that he turned into a three-run home run in the third inning

“I even didn’t know -- to be honest – that he threw over. When I was halfway I think I didn’t see like the catcher get up to throw the ball or anything so I figured maybe he threw to first. Once I saw Dozier catch it [one] way, I tried to [go] the other way. ” - Xander Bogaerts on avoiding the tag when he stole second in the fifth.

 

NOTES

* Xander Bogaerts finished 3-for-4 and has had multiple hits in nine of his last 11 contests. He leads MLB with 17 three-hit games.

* The Red Sox have now homered in 15 straight games, slugging 28 in that span.

* Hanley Ramirez has five home runs in his last five games, eight in his last 23. Over those 23 games, Ramirez is batting .337 (28-for-83) with 18 runs, seven doubles and 21 RBI to go with the eight homers.

* Three of Travis Shaw’s last four hits have been for extra bases -- 10 of his last 14 -- with the most recent being his three-run homerun Sunday. Shaw has also homered in four the last five series.

* Rick Porcello has won seven straight decisions and now has ten wins at home -- remaining undefeated at Fenway Park.

 

STARS

1) Hanley Ramirez

Ramirez slugged his fifth home run in his last five games, knocking in three runs. Sunday's DH finished 2-for-4 and scored two runs in the game.

2) Juan Centeno

Minnesota’s catcher finished 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI in the losing effort

3) Rick Porcello

Despite giving up five runs (four earned) in his 6.2 inning of work, Porcello did what he needed to do to keep Boston in the lead. Had it not been for some shaky fielding, Porcello’s numbers might have been a better representation of how he looked and felt.

Kimbrel's knee 'feels great,' pushing himself towards return

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Kimbrel's knee 'feels great,' pushing himself towards return

BOSTON -- Just before the All-Star break, it almost seemed like the Red Sox were bound to lose Craig Kimbrel for six weeks potentially with the knee damage.

However, prior to Saturday’s game, John Farrell sounded optimistic about Kimbrel return more towards the three-week timetable.

The closer has gotten back to what he was working on prior to his injury, including his breaking ball.

“I’m out there spinning the ball right now,” Kimbrel said. “My knee feels great, so I’m just working on getting back into my mechanics. Staying compact and before I hurt my knee I was working on a few things. Just getting back to focusing on [those things].”

Kimbrel also stated that his arm “feels great” which was originally a concern for the Red Sox Front Office when he was injured -- fearing the knee would somehow lead to arm problems later.

Although things seem to almost be moving too fast for Kimbrel, he feels like the process has taken too long.

“It may look like a pretty fast recovery but it feels like forever,” Kimbrel said. “I think the way some people may look at it, it might be a little fast, but I’m not doing anything that is uncomfortable. I’m pushing myself, but I’m not pushing myself to a point where it doesn’t feel good. Testing everything out, that’s kind of where it is.

“Went in there and we didn’t really fix anything. Just kind of cut some cartilage out and right now it’s [about] getting my muscles firing like they’re supposed to. That’s coming back pretty fast because we were able to keep the swelling down right after surgery, so I was able to get back into the weight room and get back to the range of motion pretty quick.”

The righty will throw his first bullpen since the surgery and his confident he’ll feel good on the mound.

In fact, he thinks he could’ve thrown off the mound Sunday, but still hasn’t tested one important responsibility of a pitcher.

“I think I could throw off the mound,” Kimbrel said. “I don’t know if I can run in from the bullpen yet. Tomorrow we’re going to get off the mound, throw a bullpen and then can start pushing off and running.

“Fielding my position and cutting -- things like that. The kind of things where if a guy bunts on me [or] if I’ve gotta cover first -- I’ve gotta be able to do things like that.”