Valentine seeing improvement with Buchholz

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Valentine seeing improvement with Buchholz

BOSTON Despite being one of just two starting Red Sox pitchers (with Felix Doubront) with a winning record, Clay Buchholz (2-1, 8.87 ERA) has struggled through most of his four starts this season. He earned a win in his last start, April 25 in Minnesota, when he went 5 13 innings, giving up five runs on 10 hits. He left with the bases loaded with all three runs eventually scoring.

Manager Bobby Valentine has seen progress.

Ive seen constant improvement, Valentine said. You know, step by step. He had a couple of bullpens between starts where he looked real sharp. I think hes ready to do what he can do consistently. Hes had all his pitches. He hasnt really strung them together like he can.

Valentine, though, is still getting to know each of Buchholz, so its difficult for him to judge the right-handers progress by his pitches.

Its hard for me to tell, Valentine said. Im not judging against what Ive seen in the past so Im just going pitch by pitch and game by game. It seems to me he has a changeup and hes throwing his changeup down and being able to throw that when hes behind in the count to get some outs and ground balls. I think that could be a plus. Hes a good pitcher. He hasn't hit his stride yet.

In five career starts against Oakland, Buchholz has a record of 1-2 with an ERA of 7.84 and opponents average of .354, both marks are his highest against any opponent. He made two starts against the As in 2011, going 1-0 (5.40). He threw a total of 10 innings, allowing six earned runs. The last time he faced Oakland was June 3 at Fenway. He did not factor into the decisions, going 4 23 innings, giving up five runs on eight hits with two strikeouts.

Red Sox trade Shaw, prospects for reliever Thornburg

Red Sox trade Shaw, prospects for reliever Thornburg

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Red Sox got the bullpen help they were seeking Tuesday, but it came at a steep price.
     
The Sox obtained righthanded reliever Tyler Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers, but it cost them infielder Travis Shaw, highly regarded shortstop prospect Mauricio Dubon and pitching prospect Josh Pennington, according to an industry source.

In Thornburg, 28, the Red Sox get a hard-throwing reliever whom they control for the next three seasons. He became the Brewers' closer after the trade deadline last year and recorded 13 saves while posting a 2.15 ERA and avergaing 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
    
He will serve as the Red Sox' primary set-up option to get to closer Craig Kimbrel.
     
One potential issue for Thornburg is that he's dealt with some elbow issues in the recent past. As recently as 2014, it was thought that he might require Tommy John surgery, but he instead underwent PRP (platelt rich plasma) treatment and has remained healthy.

Given that the last set-up reliever obtained by Dombrowski, Carson Smith, underwent Tommy John surgery last season, Thornburg's injury history raises a caution flag.

In dealing Shaw, the Red Sox are now expecting Pablo Sandoval to be their primary third baseman -- at least in the near term.

Sandoval missed all but a few games in 2016 with a shoulder injury and his conditioning has been an issue since signing with the Red Sox two years ago.

The Red Sox have Brock Holt to help out at third in 2017, with both Yoan Moncada and Rafael Devers waiting in the wings.

Dubon is the second top prospect to be dealt by Dombrowski in the last 13 months. He included Javier Guerra in a package with three other prospects to obtain Kimbrel in November of 2015.

Dubon posted a .912 OPS in half a season at Portland last year and recently played in the Arizona Fall League. He has limited power, but strong athleticism and makes good contact.

Pennington is 20, a hard-throwing (94-98 mph) righthander who could profile either as a late-inning weapon or a starter. He's years away from the big leagues and has already undergone Tommy John surgery.

The Boston Herald was the first to report that the teams had made a trade. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com was the first to report the details.

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

When it comes to Pablo Sandoval and his weight, a picture is worth a thousand words.

During spring training it wasn’t a good thing. Sandoval made headlines when a number of photos revealed significant weight gain for the Red Sox third baseman.

But the last two images have been more positive for Sandoval.

In October, a noticeably thinner Sandoval was photographed at an FC Barcelona game.

On Monday, Dan Roche of WBZ tweeted a more recent picture of the new-look Sandoval.

Sandoval, 30, is entering the third season of a five-year, $95 million contract. In his lone full season in Boston, 2015, Sandoval hit .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 RBI.