Valentine pleased with youngsters' progress

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Valentine pleased with youngsters' progress

BOSTON -- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said before Friday night's game at Fenway Park against the Atlanta Braves that he was going with the hot hand and keeping Will Middlebrooks in the lineup at third base.

In reality, he's going with three hot hands on Friday night.

Middlebrooks starts at third and hits seventh, but also, Ryan Kalish starts in center field and hits eighth, while Daniel Nava starts in left field and hits leadoff.

It wasn't long ago that all three were in the minors. Now, they're in Boston. And they're not just on the team. They're major contributors.

"I think each guy on the team knows that when the game starts, they have a responsibility, that, they have to do their job," said Valentine before Friday's game. And the young guys, to the man, and the older guys, to the man, have done what it's taken to win some games.

"The rookies' contributions, if you will -- and I don't know who really qualifies -- but the guys that I think of as rookies have really stepped up to the plate. And I look forward to watching them play."

All three played major roles in leading the Red Sox to their fifth straight win on Thursday night, against the Miami Marlins at Fenway.

Middlebrooks went 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI in Boston's 6-5 win on Thursday.

"Today I'm riding the hot hand," said Valentine on his decision to keep Middlebrooks in the lineup after a big night on Thursday. "Tomorrow might not be the case. And I always reserve the right to change my mind."

Kalish went 1-for-3 with a walk on Thursday and scored the winning run. It was his fourth run scored in four games since returning from an injury. Nava went 2-for-4 with a walk on Thursday, and drove in that winning run.

Valentine says he had no expectations from Nava because Nava wasn't even on his radar to begin the season. But Kalish? Valentine knew the report on him, and now that he gets to see it on the field, he's enjoying what he sees.

"I'm still watching Kalish, but every day I see a little something different," said Valentine. "What's there not to like? He hasn't given away an at-bat yet."

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.