Greenville's LeBlanc shoulders big responsibility

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Greenville's LeBlanc shoulders big responsibility

Lucas LeBlanc is an atypical minor league baseball player. Picture Tim Robbins' character from the movie Bull Durham, Nuke LaLoosh -- a brash, bar-hopping kid, concerned first and foremost about making the big leagues. Now picture his direct opposite.

LeBlanc, a 22-year-old outfielder with the Greenville Drive, a Single-A affiliate of the Red Sox, has much more on his mind than baseball, beer and girls. He has a family in the stands: two kids and his wife, Ashlie. He has a rent bill to pay on his own, unlike his teammates who shack up together to split costs. He has responsibility.

"Very, very rare to see at such a low level of baseball to have a family, two kids, a wife," said Drive manager Billy McMillon. "He's a real adult with real responsibilities. Any 22-year-old with two kids, that's one thing. Then you've gotta come out every day and play baseball? I don't know how he doesn't pull his hair out every day."

It's not easy for the kid from Lockport, Louisiana. Instead of playing for college baseball powerhouse Louisiana State University, where he had a scholarship waiting for him, LeBlanc is living with the ups and downs of minor league ball, trying to stand out.

The website SoxProspects.com says LeBlanc has "slightly above-average all-around tools, but none are stellar." His 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame and his athleticism give him hope to stick around and maybe eventually move up the organizational ladder.

LeBlanc's climb recently hit a snag, though. He had to have surgery to repair a broken thumb, something that will keep him out of action for 3-4 weeks and undoubtedly leave him frustrated as his dream of making the big leagues -- and providing a better life for his young family -- stalls.

"If I have a bad game, they don't deserve me coming home in a bad mood," LeBlanc said. "I don't want to come home and be the mean dad. That's challenging."

His family tries to make it as easy on him as possible. Ashlie, who watches Drive games in a team jersey with the family surname on the back, is an unwavering supporter of her husband's dream. It's her's, too.

"No regrets," she said. "We don't want to not do something just because it might be hard. It's worth it because you live once and you want to be able to say I did what I wanted to do."

LeBlanc is doing what he wants, even if his way is different than that of his teammates.

On the field, baseball is baseball. But when LeBlanc is going home to put two kids to bed, it doesn't leave a whole lot of room for socializing away from the diamond.

"Me and all the guys have diff priorities, obviously," LeBlanc said. "I don't get to spend as much time with teammates as other guys do. They know that , but they know my situation and I get along with everyone. At the end of the day it's just family. Family's what you got, and I just try to look out for them as much as I can."

Moreland homers again, Red Sox tag A's to avoid four-game sweep

Moreland homers again, Red Sox tag A's to avoid four-game sweep

OAKLAND, Calif. - A five-run ninth inning for the Red Sox that lasted more than a half-hour derailed any chance Eduardo Rodriguez had of getting his first career complete game.

Not that the left-hander was complaining.

After a bitter loss to Oakland a year ago when he allowed just one hit over eight innings, Rodriguez was more than happy with the way things turned out.

Rodriguez earned his second straight win, Mitch Moreland homered in his third consecutive game and Boston beat the Oakland Athletics 12-3 on Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep.

"I wanted to go back out there but they hit the ball pretty good in that inning and I know I had to get out of the game," Rodriguez said about the long wait. "I'll take it because we score more runs, I have a chance to win. If every inning's like that, I'll get out of the game after five."

Rodriguez (3-1) allowed three runs over eight innings. He struck out eight, walked one and retired 14 of his final 15 batters.

"Where he was with the pitch count, it'd be nice for him to go out there for the ninth inning given where he was and how well he was throwing the baseball," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "But at that point you're up nine, probably about a 35-minute inning, didn't want to take any chances."

Hanley Ramirez and Christian Vazquez had three hits apiece to power a Red Sox lineup that tallied 15 hits. Every player in Boston's starting lineup had at least one hit, and eight of the nine drove in runs.

Chad Pinder homered and drove in two runs for Oakland.

Boston, which hasn't been swept in a four-game series since July 2015, trailed 3-2 before scoring 10 runs over the final five innings.

"It felt we had them on the run a little bit," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "They get the lead and then we come back and take the lead again and you feel pretty good. But they were pretty persistent today."

Pinder went deep in the fourth, his fourth home run in eight games and fifth overall.

The A's committed three errors, giving them a major league-leading 42.

BRADLEY'S DEFENSIVE GEMS

Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts gave the A's trouble with his running and defense. Betts scored twice from first base and also made a pair of strong defensive plays. He made a sliding catch on Mark Canha's sinking liner in the eighth and then slammed into the wall after catching Khris' Davis fly to end the inning.

"This place during the daytime plays very difficult," Farrell said. "What Mookie was able to do a couple times in right field, those aren't easy plays. To be able to stay with it, go up against the wall a couple of times, we played very good outfield defense here today."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: Brock Holt continues to deal with lingering symptoms from vertigo and isn't yet ready to come off the disabled list, according to Farrell. Likewise, Boston plans to keep third baseman Pablo Sandoval in the minors to get consistent at-bats while recovering from a right knee sprain. ... Farrell said LHP Drew Pomeranz, who took the loss Saturday, will start against Texas on Thursday.

Athletics: Yonder Alonso (sore left knee) sat out his fourth straight game but could be back in the lineup Tuesday when Oakland begins a two-game series against Miami. ... Sean Doolittle (strained left shoulder) threw on flat ground before making 15 pitches off the mound. The plan is for the former closer to throw 25 pitches on Wednesday. ... Melvin said the team has applied for an extension on Chris Bassitt's rehab assignment. Bassitt underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello (2-5) faces Texas on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park. Porcello has lost three of his last four decisions.

Athletics: Following an off day, RHP Jesse Hahn (1-3) starts against Miami on Tuesday at the Coliseum. Hahn leads the majors in fewest home runs allowed per nine innings at 0.19.