Sox notes: Crawford continues rehab, Valentine praises Gonzalez

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Sox notes: Crawford continues rehab, Valentine praises Gonzalez

BOSTON Left fielder Carl Crawford left the Red Sox clubhouse early this afternoon, on his way to the teams training facility in Fort Myers, Fla., to continue rehabbing his left elbow.He said he felt great, manager Bobby Valentine said. When he left he just said his elbow felt great, his body felt great and hes ready to get going.Crawford, who has been on the disabled list since the start of the season after mid-January surgery on his left wrist and a subsequent elbow injury, is getting close to going out on a rehab assignment. But there is not a firm date in place for that yet.Well take it how he progresses in Florida, Valentine said. Theres one in pencil, of course.-- Valentine had praise for Adrian Gonzalez, who has been playing right field instead of his customary first base recently.Adrians, like Dustin Pedroia during this last few weeks weve been staying afloat and even improving on how we were and his personal sacrifice has a lot to do with that, Valentine said. Weve been able to put a lineup on the field thats helped us win games because Adrians made that position change.-- Will Middlebrooks is not in the starting lineup tonight. Kevin Youkilis is at third, with Gonzalez at first, and Cody Ross in right field. Valentine said it was just a day off for Middlebrooks, or a day on for the other players. However youd like to look at it.

Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

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Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia hit his fourth career grand slam to help Rick Porcello get his major league-leading 22nd win, and the Boston Red Sox clinched a playoff berth by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 Saturday night for their 10th consecutive win.

Boston maintained a 5 1/2-game lead over Toronto for the division title and ensured no worse than the AL's second wild card. While the Red Sox technically have a magic number of one, the Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles play each other three times in the season's final week - meaning only one of them can win match Boston's 91 wins.

Among the other wild-card contenders, only Detroit can reach 91 victories.

Pedroia stopped an 0-for-17 skid with a single in the sixth and gave Boston a 6-3 lead with a seventh-inning drive off Danny Farquhar.

Porcello (22-4) gave up three runs, eight hits and struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings. He just missed getting his 12th consecutive start of seven or more innings and three runs or fewer, which would have moved him past Cy Young (1904) and Pedro Martinez (2000) for the longest stretch during the same season in franchise history.

Craig Kimbrel, the fifth Boston reliever, reached 30 saves for the sixth straight season despite allowing Logan Forsythe's solo homer in the ninth.

Brad Miller hit a two-run double in a three-run second that put Tampa Bay up 3-1 and gave him 80 RBIs.

Tampa Bay threatened in the second but failed to score due to two nice defensive plays. Pedroia made a throw from just in front of the outfield grass at second base on Mikie Mahtook's grounder to get Corey Dickerson at the plate. Third baseman Brock Holt made a solid play along the line on Alexei Ramirez's grounder and threw him out at first to end the inning.

Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

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Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

Thought to be lost for the season after shoulder surgery this past spring, Pablo Sandoval could possibly return to the Red Sox for the postseason, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Saturday.

Sandoval joined the team in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Farrell said Sandoval had played in instructional league games in Florida and was "well ahead of schedule."

He could be an option to be activated if another player is injured. 

“One of the things I put in my mind that I have to work,” Sandoval told Boston Herald. “I learned a lot of things about this surgery so I had to work hard to be on the field as soon as possible.

“There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better everyday.”

Sandoval, 30, is in the second year of a five-year, $95 contract. He lost his starting third base job to Travis Shaw in spring training and in April an MRI revealed he needed surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was to have ended his season.

He appeared in only three games this season and hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 126 games in 2015.