Will Bobby V make it through season?

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Will Bobby V make it through season?

How much of the blame for this year falls on Bobby Valentine?

The answers run the spectrum, but is it enough to get Valentine fired before the season is even over?

Sean McAdam says short of a clubhouse uprising, Valentine is unlikely to be 'whacked' during the season. Although if he continues to inject unnecessary drama, ownership may decide to pull the plug.

Bob Neumeier, however, places none of the blame on Bobby Valentine for this season's malaise.

"It's all on Josh Beckett. It's all on Jon Lester. That's the reason the Red Sox are where they are," said Neumeier.

The crew agrees on one front, Bobby Valentine is unlikely to be the Red Sox manager in 2013.

Friday’s Red Sox-Royals lineups: Wright returns from DL to start

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Friday’s Red Sox-Royals lineups: Wright returns from DL to start

Steven Wright makes his first start since Aug. 5 tonight when he returns from the disabled list to face the Kansas City Royals as the Red Sox open a three-game series at Fenway Park. 

Wright was activated from the 15-day DL Friday and right-handed reliever Heath Hembree was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Wright injured his right shoulder on a head-first dive back to second base when he was used as pinch-runner against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 6. 

The knuckleballer is 13-5 with a 3.01 ERA and had won five of his past six decisions before going on the DL. He’ll be opposed by right-hander Ian Kennedy (8-9, 3.58). The resurgent World Series champion Royals (66-61), in third place in the A.L. Central, have won nine of their past 10 after having their nine-game wining streak end on Wednesday. 

With Andrew Benintendi (knee sprain) on the DL, Brock Holt gets the start in left field for the Red Sox.

The lineups:

ROYALS

Jerome Dyson CF

Cheslor Cuthbert 3B

Lorenzo Cain RF

Eric Hosmer 1B

Kendrys Morales DH

Alex Gordon LF

Alcides Escobar SS

Drew Butera C

Raul Mondesi Jr. 2B

Ian Kennedy RHP

 

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Xander Bogaerts SS

David Ortiz DH

Mookie Betts RF

Hanley Ramirez 1B

Sandy Leon C

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Travis Shaw 3B

Brock Holt LF 

Steven Wright RHP

McAdam: Prospects of a Papelbon-Red Sox reunion dimming

McAdam: Prospects of a Papelbon-Red Sox reunion dimming

BOSTON -- Until next Wednesday, major league teams can add to their rosters and have the new additions still be eligible for postseason play.

But don't expect the Red Sox to do any serious upgrading.

The bullpen could sorely use some reinforcements, but the difficulty of obtaining help at this time of year -- when players changing teams must first clear waivers -- is problematic.

Asked recently the odds of the Sox making a deal to bolster the team's relief group, an industry source reponded: "Pretty slim.''

The source went on to say that any relievers of value have been routinely "blocked'' -- i.e., claimed by a team before being pulled back by the original club.

The few relievers who have successfully cleared waivers -- including Oakland's Ryan Madson and Chicago's David Robertson -- are those with multiyear commitments that extend beyond this season.

And just because the likes of Madson and Robertson have cleared waivers doesn't guarantee they're necessarily available. At this time of the year, teams routinely send their players through waivers to provide them with flexibilty and to determine the level of interest for deals in the off-season.

In the case of Robertson, the Red Sox would be taking on $25 million in future salary for 2017 and 2018 for a pitcher who would not be serving as their closer. The Sox control Craig Kimbrel for two more seasons, with a guaranteed contract for 2017 and a team option for 2018.

One major-league executive noted that teams are often reluctant to take on a reliever with a multiyear contract, since the existence of a future commitment could restrict a team in terms of usage.

Better to have a player on an expiring deal, the executive suggested, with no worries about future obligations.

It's still possible that the Sox could acquire Jonathan Papelbon, whose case has gone cold in the past week. Only 10 days ago, reports had Papelbon ready to sign within 24 hours with one of the handful of clubs expressing an interest in him.

But since then, Papelbon hasn't been heard from. One source indicated that Papelbon's interest in signing elsewhere may be impacted by a family situation.

Whatever the reason, the longer Papelbon goes without signing somewhere, the tougher it is to imagine him having much impact. 

Papelbon last pitched for the Washington Nationals on Aug. 6, three weeks ago. He would need some time on a minor-league assignment in order to be major league-ready for the final month.

And while Papelbon would enjoy returning to the familiarity of Boston, he's not close to the same pitcher that he was when he left after 2011. Indeed, Papelbon isn't even the same pitcher he was in his final two seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Red Sox, reduced to matching up night after night in the eighth inning, would still welcome him back. But there are other options to upgrade a porous bullpen, options that would seem to make the odds of a Papebon-Red Sox reunion negligible.