Carson Smith's progress hinges on medical exam in Boston

Carson Smith's progress hinges on medical exam in Boston

PHILADELPHIA — With Tyler Thornburg done for the season, all eyes for bullpen help turn to Carson Smith.

The righty reliever coming back from Tommy John surgery needs some medical clearance before moving any further.

Smith threw Thursday at Citizens Bank Park and could begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday if an upcoming exam in Boston goes well.

He left Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon, as did lefty Brian Johnson, who has inflammation in his throwing shoulder and is to be checked out in Boston as well.

Smith has dealt with soreness in his shoulder and lat as he’s come back. The Red Sox didn’t sound the alarm bells by having Smith go for an exam, with Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski saying it was a planned possibility. 

At the same time, it doesn’t sound like a simple formality.

“It was OK. I would say OK,” Farrell said of Smith’s mound session Thursday. “The stuff was OK maybe the consistency wasn’t quite there. But honestly, I think that’s to be fully expected. He’s going to go through some minor peaks and valleys as he continues to build up to game competition. So I think what he’s going through right now might be a little frustrating for him, given all the rehab and time he’s gone through. But these are normal progressive steps to getting back to full strength.

“Where he’s needed some added time, the last time to give him a couple extra days was more of the lat muscle, not necessarily the shoulder or the elbow. So he’s getting back into shape. That’s where getting accustomed or re-accustomed to the volume is coming in play.”

Smith said at the start of June that his shoulder has bothered him at times. But he and the team said they feel it's expected

“I don’t know if he’s going to go on rehab or what we’re going to do with him at this point,” Dombrowski said. “But it was always the plan, the possibility for him to go back there [to Boston] and we’ll just evaluate how he feels tomorrow and then go from there.

“He’s having normal soreness as anybody would at this time. … Not even necessarily in his elbow, just normal soreness when he’s throwing. So we’ll just analyze it, see how he’s doing.”

Righty Hector Velazquez, who filled in admirably for Johnson on Wednesday night after Johnson left after 2 2/3 innings, is to make Johnson’s next start in the rotation. 

Johnson is on the disabled list and Austin Maddox was added to the roster in his place. Roenis Elias was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Maddox, who's in the majors for the first time, on the 40-man roster.

David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

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David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

BOSTON — David Price and Rick Porcello showed improvement on back-to-back nights Friday and Saturday, important signs for the Red Sox after a difficult month for both pitchers prior to this homestand.

Price on Saturday night went six innings and allowed three runs, two earned, in a 6-3 loss to the Angels. He fanned five and his velocity has been consistently better this year than last year.

But the most important number was his walk total: one. He walked three batters in his previous start, and four in both of his starts prior.

“Two outings ago, the first start here in Fenway,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “There was better timing in his delivery and overall better separation over the rubber. And he carried that through I thought, even though there's a higher pitch count in Houston, and has been able to maintain it here. I can't say there was one specific thing. It's been more the timing over the rubber. And you're seeing him pitch out of the stretch exclusively. Just less moving parts in a better position to repeat it.”

After Price’s final inning, the telecast captured Price calling pitching coach Carl Willis into the tunnel. Neither Farrell nor Price detailed the conversation. 

“Yeah, everything was fine,” Farrell said of the conversation. “Everything is OK there.”

Price made it sound like he’s dealing with some sort of physical ailment, but was vague.

“There's a lot of stuff going on right now,” the pitcher said when asked about the desire to stay out there. “You don't want it to linger into the next start, or two or three weeks from now, and that's why we did what we did.”

Asked to elaborate, Price reinforced that the decision was to save his body for another day.

“You never want to come out of a game. But you have to look forward at the time,” Price said. “You don’t want today to cost you your next start or you know, the start after that. So that’s what happened.

“It has nothing to do with my elbow or anything like that. This is — you get past one thing and there’s another So that’s what it is.”

Price in New York in early June felt a blister develop on his ring finger. He missed an in-between start bullpen because of it.

Asked about the blister Saturday, Price said, “That one’s gone.”

Farrell indicated the blister was diminished, if not entirely gone.

“He's been dealing with that,” Farrell said. “I think while it's still present and maybe not as severe as it was when it first happened, I'm sure he's going to check on it occasionally."

Red Sox threaten late, but can't come back in 6-3 loss to Angels

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Red Sox threaten late, but can't come back in 6-3 loss to Angels

BOSTON - JC Ramirez rebounded from his shortest career start with six solid innings, Cameron Maybin doubled home a run and scored another and the Los Angeles Angels held off the Boston Red Sox 6-3 on Saturday night.

The Angels look for their fifth series win in their last six on Sunday.

Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer for the Red Sox, who lost for only the third time in their last 13 home games.

Ramirez (7-5) allowed one run and four hits with five strikeouts after lasting just three innings and giving up five runs in his previous start.

Blake Parker struck out pinch-hitter Chris Young with the bases loaded for the final out for his first save of the season after Boston scored twice in the ninth.

Red Sox manager John Farrell was ejected by third-base umpire and crew chief Bill Miller after Fernando Abad was called for a balk, scoring a run that made it 5-1 in the seventh.