Red Sox react to Rivera's injury, career

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Red Sox react to Rivera's injury, career

BOSTON -- Mariano Rivera may have single-handedly caused more anxiety for the Red Sox in recent seasons than any other player.

But seeing him crumpled in a heap on the warning track in Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City yesterday, clutching is right knee, and hearing the news of his torn ACL and meniscus, leaving the career of the future Hall of Famer in jeopardy, brought only sadness to the Sox clubhouse.

It was sad, man, said David Ortiz. Last night when I saw it on TV it was pretty emotional. And going out the way he did it was unbelievable I dont want to see anybody getting injured, especially a guy like Mariano.

I always say that hes the best pitcher in the game that I ever seen. You know what hes coming with and you still wont hit it. Period. Its simple. Only one pitch.

I can only be redundant in anything I say because hes one of the greatest guys Ive ever met, said manager Bobby Valentine. Obviously one of the greatest athletes who was doing an athletic event when he got hurt. Goes without saying. The kind of pitcher he was I dont think Ill ever see it in my lifetime again. Hes special. Hopefully hell come back even though hes with the bad guys.

Obviously as a baseball player, I grew up a fan and Ive always been a big fan of Mariano, said Cody Ross. Im not a big fan of facing him, obviously, or when he plays against us. But, Im a true fan and you hate to see players like that get hurt the way he did. Its a sad day for baseball and for the Yankees, obviously, a tough loss. I just hope that he doesnt have to go out like that.

It stinks said Marlon Byrd. When I was with the Phillies, I got drafted in 99, one thing I always respected about the Yankees was the whole way Mariano, for some reason, he always knew all the young guys, all the minor leaguers, everything. Hed see me and say hello. Theres just a respect. I dont think anyone has anything negative to say about him. So I wanted him to keep building on that save record, not against the Red Sox but keep building on it because hes the greatest closer of all time. I wish him well. Hopefully he recovers fast. Hes a hard worker. Everybody knows hes going to recover fast and hopefully comes back.

For Ross, Rivera defined playoff baseball.

When you see him and you see him come set from the back view, every time I see it I picture playoff October baseball when the games on the line and him coming in and getting the job done, and just the incredible run hes had in the playoffs, obviously, throughout the years, too. Hes just been a great professional and a great ambassador for the game.

While Rivera is known for his devastating cutter, it is his cunning instinct that Byrd remembers.

The one thing I remember is Mariano always throwing me cutters, cutters, cutters when I went to Texas, Byrd said. We got a couple hits off him and I came up and the first pitch he threw me was a sinker and broke my bat. And I was so dumbfounded, I didnt know what to think. You know, since when did he throw a sinker? Its just me. It wasnt like I was one of their big thumpers. I wasnt Michael Young or Josh Hamilton. But thats just the type of pitcher he is. Hes very smart.

How might Riveras loss affect the American League East?

No way of telling, Valentine said. They have a couple of guys who have been very good at the end of a game and it is during the season so they have been battle-tested. I think it'll depend on their starting pitching. If they're going to the sixth and seventh a lot I think they're going to miss him. If theyre starting pitching stretches out into the eighth inning I think they might be OK. Its still not going to be as comfortable a feeling for sure.

The feeling that permeated the Sox clubhouse today was that for someone who built his reputation on and off the field as one of the most respected players to ever pick up a baseball to have to end his career in this fashion would be entirely unfair.

It is, said Ross. I dont know if his career is over, if hes going to shut it down or not after this. But you hate to see it if it is. But what hes done, you cant take away from him. Hes been an incredible player and Hall of Famer. I guess Im blessed to be able to say I played against him and tell my grandkids about him down the road.

Hopefully it doesnt, Byrd said. I dont even want to think about that. Thats negative. I try to stay positive. Im sure the Yankees are thinking the same thing. Im sure Mariano's thinking the same thing. So I dont think he wants to go out like this. I have the feeling hell be back and come back as strong as ever.

Well me and Mariano, we are really good friends, Ortiz said. Hes the kind of person that he believes in, hes a major believer in God have something always in plan for us. And Im pretty sure if thats the way God wants him to finish his career, he will understand that, he will agree with it. You know what Im saying? But like I say, hes just the kind of player that you want to see at the end of his career competing like he got everybody used to. And finish it like that, if thats the way its supposed to be, thats the way its supposed to be, you know what Im saying. But he will understand.

Jackie Bradley Jr. extends hitting streak to 28 games

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Jackie Bradley Jr. extends hitting streak to 28 games

BOSTON — Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. has extended his hitting streak to 28 games with a second-inning double Tuesday night against the Colorado Rockies.

It's the longest hitting streak in the majors this season and tied with Wade Boggs (1985) for the fifth-longest in Red Sox history. Dom DiMaggio holds the franchise record with a 34-game streak in 1949. DiMaggio's brother, Joe, hit in 56 straight games in 1941 for the major league record.

Bradley lined the first pitch he saw from Jorge De La Rosa into left field to keep the streak going.

Red Sox confident in Smith-less bullpen, plan no moves at this point

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Red Sox confident in Smith-less bullpen, plan no moves at this point

BOSTON -- The loss of reliever Carson Smith for the rest of this season -- and the start of next year, too -- is potentially a significant blow for the Red Sox bullpen.

But both vice-president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and manager John Farrell expressed confidence that the Sox can survive -- and even thrive -- without the hard-throwing right-handed reliever, who underwent Tommy John surgery Tuesday and will be sidelined until at least the middle of next season.

"Unfortunately, we really haven't had Carson much this year,'' noted Dombrowski, referring to the total of 2 2/3 innings Smith has pitched, "so our bullpen now has the ninth, eighth and seventh innings set with Craig [Kimbrel], Koji [Uehara] and [Junichi Tazawa]. [Matt] Barnes and Heath [Hembree] have both had opportunities to step up and pitched well for us. We'll continue to see if they do that.''

"I really like our bullpen,'' echoed Farrell. "We've had depth emerge with Hembree and Barnes, and we're able to distribute the workload evenly to protect Taz and Koji.''

But the Sox' high-leverage set-up crew features a 41-year-old (Uehara) and Tazawa, who has faltered badly in the August in each of the last two seasons because of overwork.

"I guess it's something we'll continue to watch,'' said Dombrowski. "There's still quite a bit of time before the [Aug. 1] trade deadline. So you continue to watch that. I feel comfortable with the way it is now, but we'll have to wait and see. We didn't anticipate this and that's really why we got Carson -- to give us more depth in case something did happen. But we'll continue to see what takes place.''

Dombrowski said it was too soon to begin exploring outside trade possibilities, given that talk doesn't intensify until after the draft in June.

"If something [else] were to happen,'' Dombrowski said, "I guess we'd be more aggressive. But right now, the way Barnes and Hembree (are pitching), along with [Robbie] Ross Jr. and [Tommy] Layne . . . we feel pretty good about our bullpen -- right now.''

"I really like our bullpen,'' noted Farrell. "We've had depth emerge with Hembree and Barnes and we're able to distribute the workload evenly to protect Taz and Koji.''

One possibile option could be taking a look at Joe Kelly in the bullpen. Kelly was sensational Saturday, allowing one hit in 6 2/3 innings in his first start back from a shoulder impingement. But it's long been thought that his stuff would translate well to the bullpen, and the Sox will have six starting pitchers when Eduardo Rodriguez returns.

"It's a great question, but it's not one I'll approach at this time,'' said Dombrowski. "We haven't specifically talked about putting Joe Kelly in the bullpen. But we're also aware that we're not going to use six starters.''

Smith is expected to miss the next 11-14 months, the typical recovery time from Tommy John surgery.

He was first injured on March 21, when he left the mound in Jupiter, Fla. during a Grapefruit League game. The diagnosis was a strained flexor muscle in the forearm, and he returned to action earlier this month. But he continued to experience discomfort, and a followup MRI Friday revealed a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL).

Dombrowski said "there was nothing at the time in March (that suggested a torn UCL). Flexor muscles, sometimes that leads to (torn UCL's). But not always. It's an alert that goes up in your mind when dealing with elbow. But you can't spend time obsessing about it, because then you wouldn't sleep on any night.''

Dombrowski said there were no red flags at the time of last December's trade with Seattle that Smith may be pre-disposed to this kind of injury with his cross-fire, three-quarters delivery.

"I think when you look at his delivery,'' acknowledged Dombrowski, "you'd say it's an unusual delivery. It's probably more apt to have injury. We had the medical information and we thought he'd be fine.''

Tuesday's Red Sox-Rockies lineups: Shaw sits out for first time all year

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Tuesday's Red Sox-Rockies lineups: Shaw sits out for first time all year

BOSTON -- For the first time since last season, Travis Shaw is not in the Red Sox' lineup.

Shaw, suffering from a minor left-hand injury, will sit out Tuesday night's game against Colorado, snapping a string of 76 consecutive starts. Josh Rutledge will play third base in his place.

The lineups:

ROCKIES:
Charlie Blackmon CF
Trevor Story SS
Nolan Arenado 3B
Mark Reynolds 1B
Carlos Gonzalez RF
Ryan Raburn DH
Gerardo Parra LF
Dustin Garneau C
DJ LeMahieu 2B
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Jorge De La Rosa P

RED SOX:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Chris Young LF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Josh Rutledge 3B
Christian Vazquez C
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David Price P