Gonzalez (back) out Saturday, doubtful for Sunday

776560.jpg

Gonzalez (back) out Saturday, doubtful for Sunday

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- For the second straight game, Adrian Gonzalez was out of the Red Sox' lineup Saturday night, the result of a back that "locked up'' on him when he bent over to talk to a small child Friday afternoon.

"He has a little situation in his lower back that came on quickly,'' said Bobby Valentine, "and hopefully it will leave quickly. They think it's muscular; right now, it's being treated as a muscular situation.''

Valentine added that he doubted Gonzalez would play the series finale Sunday afternoon.

"I would think by the beginning of next week, he should be in full swing,'' Valentine said. "It's a day game (Sunday). I bet it's real questionable, real doubtful.''

Gonzalez had started every game but one before coming out of the final game of the first half with an illness. The back is unrelated to coming out of the game against the Yankees.

"I'm feeling better today,'' said Gonzalez. "My back locked up on me (Friday). I told Bobby I could play, but he didn't want me to push it and be another guy on the DL, so they're being cautious with me. So are the trainers.

"There's still tightness there. If I need to, I can go out there, but I don't want to push it and aggravate it.''

Gonzalez said he was in a mall in Tampa next to the team hotel when he "ran into a family with kids. I bent over to say 'Hi,' to one of the kids and when I came out of that, it locked up on me. I tried to get treatment, to go out there and move around, but it wasn't feeling any
better.''

"He's going to try to take it real slow today and do nothing,'' said Valentine. "Yesterday, he took batting practice and later in the day, it caused him a little problem. So we're hoping that doing nothing will get him back quicker.''

Valentine said he was unaware if an MRI or x-rays had been taken of Gonzalez's back.

Gonzalez said he wouldn't take regular batting practice, but might try a few swings off a tee "right before the game in case they need me to pinch hit.''

This is the first time in Gonzalez's career that he has experienced back tightness, but he said he wasn't worried that it could become more problematic.

"I'm not (concerned) at all,'' he said. "I talked to a bunch of the guys and every single guy that this has happened to said this is one, two three days. It spasms and then they go away, your muscles relax and you're back to normal.''

Benintendi, Red Sox hang on to beat Cubs, 5-4

red_sox_benintendi_betts_042817.jpg

Benintendi, Red Sox hang on to beat Cubs, 5-4

BOSTON - Andrew Benintendi hit a solo homer off Jake Arrieta during a five-run first inning and the Boston Red Sox held on to beat the Chicago Cubs 5-4 Friday night.

Every Boston starter had at least one hit, and Hanley Ramirez, Mitch Moreland, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Vazquez also drove in a run each.

Left-hander Drew Pomeranz (2-1) got the win with six innings of two-run ball, surrendering solo homers to Kris Bryant and Albert Almora Jr. in the early innings before settling in. He allowed six hits and two walks while striking out seven.

Boston has won its last nine interleague games at Fenway Park.

Arrieta (3-1) logged his shortest start since Aug. 28, 2014, lasting only 4 1/3 innings and giving up 10 hits and three walks with five strikeouts.

Broadcasting role unlikely for Ortiz, who met with Red Sox this week

Broadcasting role unlikely for Ortiz, who met with Red Sox this week

BOSTON - It's a tad ironic the Red Sox met with David Ortiz on Tuesday about his post-playing career, and then the offense went out and did nothing and Xander Bogaerts was publicly lamenting Ortiz's absence two days later.

John Henry, Tom Werner, Ortiz and his agent, Fern Cuza, met at Fenway Park on Tuesday to discuss the retired slugger’s future role with the organization, team president Sam Kennedy said. 

MORE RED SOX

Nothing's imminent, but there's one thing Ortiz is unlikely to do with the Sox in the near future: broadcasting. He could still do some of that in the postseason for say, FOX, but it appears an arrangement with NESN isn't in the cards for now, per Kennedy.

Ortiz's role with the Red Sox is still expected to be wide-ranging, something bigger than the standard alumnus agreement. He seems set on taking his time, enjoying his retired life, saying over the weekend he wants to be able to give the job the time it deserves. 

Kennedy in April was unsure if anything would get done this year. 

As for the team's play without Ortiz, and Bogaerts' comments?

"This is an incredibly talented ballclub," Werner said Friday at a luncheon benefitting the Red Sox Foundation and the Foundation To Be Named Later. "I’m really not terribly concerned. Like all fans, I’m a bit frustrated when we don’t give great pitching run support.

"We struggled the last couple of nights. It’s frustrating to think that Chris Sale, who I think is the best pitcher in the American League, doesn’t have much run support. But it’s April. I've been taught to not really look at the standings 'til July. Frustrated by the past two days, but look at the standings, and we’re only one win behind the Cubs. So you know, I mean I wish we were playing a little bit better,  but the team is going to bounce back."

Werner reiterated the Sox have room in their budget to add players ahead of the trade deadline.