Aceves will not fly with team to California Monday

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Aceves will not fly with team to California Monday

BOSTON Right-hander Alfredo Aceves will not fly with the team when it leaves for its nine-game west coast trip following Mondays homestand finale with the Royals. Aceves was suspended by the Red Sox for three games following Fridays game for conduct detrimental to the team.

I expect him to be in California, though, said manager Bobby Valentine.

Aceves has not been at Fenway Park since his suspension. Valentine expects the right-hander to be ready and available to pitch when the suspension is over, beginning Tuesday.

Hell be ready to pitch, Valentine said. I believe hell be OK to pitch. I would think that hes working out. Hes a workout fanatic. Hes not just sitting around eating popcorn.

But what role Aceves will have remains to be determined, Valentine said. Andrew Bailey will be the closer, if necessary, Monday. Mark Melancon earned his first save of the season on Sunday.

Valentine was not sure but thought he might have suspended players in his past managerial tenures.

I think it might have been over a drug situation a couple of times, before there was a big drug policy, he said. I dont remember.

Asked if he was concerned about any repercussions with Aceves because of the suspension, Valentine replied:

I guess. It just deals with being responsible for your actions and understanding that all actions have consequence. Its just a simple rule. Remember, I dont have a lot of rules, but one of the rules I stated early on is that you dont do anything to embarrass yourself, your teammates or your organization. Thats a rule.

It is highly unusual for a team to suspend its own player. Jim Rice was the last player suspended by the Red Sox. On July 20, 1988, manager Joe Morgan called Rice back from the on-deck circle and had Spike Owen pinch-hit for him. The move enraged Rice, who pulled Morgan into the dugout tunnel where an altercation ensued. Rice was suspended by the team for three games.

Clay Buchholz will start Tuesday in Anaheim, with Jon Lester starting on Thursday. Wednesdays starter is still unknown. But, Valentine said, he does not think it will be left-hander Franklin Morales.

Third baseman Will Middlebrooks will not be on the west coast trip. On the disabled list since Aug. 11 with a right wrist fracture, Middlebrooks has several check-ups scheduled for this week.

Shortstop Jose Iglesias has not been in the starting lineup since being called up on Saturday. He made his season debut that day as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning of the 12-inning loss. He played Friday for Triple-A Pawtucket, after sitting out since Aug. 19, injuring his left leg sliding into home. Valentine was not concerned about keeping the highly valued prospect on the bench.

Hes here to help us win games when needed, Valentine said.

Farrell: Price to make first Red Sox start of year Monday in Chicago

Farrell: Price to make first Red Sox start of year Monday in Chicago

David Price may have allowed six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings Wednesday night during his second rehab start in Triple-A, but the Red Sox apparently liked what they saw.

MORE ON PRICE

Manager John Farrell announced moments ago that Price will rejoin the Red Sox Monday and start that day's game in Chicago against the White Sox. Farrell said the Sox were more concerned with how Price felt physically after his rehab start, not the results, and they're satisfied he's ready to return.

More to come . . . 

Chili Davis: Red Sox hitters' lack of strikeouts not by design

Chili Davis: Red Sox hitters' lack of strikeouts not by design


BOSTON - The Red Sox aren’t hitting for power as much as they’re expected to and they’re striking out less than anyone. Far less.
 
So, maybe they should just swing harder? 
 
It’s not that simple, considering they have the second-best batting average in the majors, .271, and the third-best on-base percentage, .342.
 
Entering Thursday, the Sox had 300 strikeouts, 34 fewer than the 29th team on the list, the Mets. (The Mets have also played 34 games, while the Sox have already played 36.)
 
In April, when this trend was already evident, Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis was asked if the lack of strikeouts were by design.
 
“I don’t think it’s purposeful,” Davis said. “But that can be a good thing and it could be a bad thing. You know, to me striking out is never good, but it’s how you strike out that matters to me. 
 
“You chase pitches early and you put a guy in a two-strike count and allow him to use his strikeout pitch or his finish pitch, it’s not a good way to strike out. If you’er battling, if you’re taking good swings at pitches, or if the guy’s making pitches, different story. Not striking out because you understand you’re still getting to have a quality at-bat.
 
“To be honest with you, there are guys in certain situations I’d rather see 'em strike out, believe me. And it kind of sounds stupid.”
 
No, it doesn’t. Because in the Moneyball era people started to widely understand that with runners on, a strikeout can be a better outcome than simply putting the ball in play because of the double-play possibility. One out on a swing [or no swing] is a lot better than two.
 
“Exactly,” Davis said. “In a double-play situation, with a big slow guy running and two strikes on him, and he just put the ball in play, he’s done exactly what they wanted him to do.”
 
What a coincidence: the Sox have grounded into more double plays than all but two teams. They’re tied with the Blue Jays with 51, trailing the Astros’ 54.
 
Last year, the Sox had the eighth-most double plays and the fourth-fewest strikeouts. But they also led the majors in slugging percentage, whereas this year they’re in the bottom third. (They’ve perked up in May.)
 
“I don’t think they’re necessarily swinging to not strike out,” Davis said in April. “But, I think the home runs haven’t come because you know, I don’t think we’ve actually gotten on track yet as an offense the way we would like to.”
 
Davis cited the weather, which in Boston has continued to be chilly even into May. Hitters have noted the weather too, but that only goes so far.
 
Sox manager John Farrell on Wednesday noted the team’s draft philosophy.
 
“If you go back to the origin of the players that are here, a lot of them came through our draft and our system,” Farrell said. “So there was a conscious effort to get the more rounded athlete, not a one-dimensional player...Throughout their minor league career, there’s great emphasis on strike-zone discipline, understanding your limits within the zone. That’s not to suggest you’re going to forfeit the power that you have, but to be a more complete hitter, I think that’s going to win you championships rather than being one dimensional.”
 
But much of this year’s lineup is the same as last year’s.
 
In 2017, the Sox are swinging at 44.2 percent of pitches, fewer than all but four teams. Last year, they swung at 44.3 percent of pitches, second-to-last. So, that hasn’t changed.
 
Last year, their contact rate was 81.6 percent, highest in the majors. This year, it’s the second-highest, 80.1. That hasn’t really changed either.
 
Maybe the process hasn’t in fact changed much at all, in fact — but the outcomes are looking different because that’s how it goes sometimes. At the least, it’s something to keep an eye on as the year progresses.