Notebook: Brass' presence gives Sox a boost

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Notebook: Brass' presence gives Sox a boost

BALTIMORE The Red Sox all noticed John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino walking around the field at Camden Yards while the team wrapped up batting practice.

It was a surprise visit by Bostons ownership trio to lend support to the beleaguered Sox in the third game of a three-game set against Baltimore, and it worked as the Sox showed energy, urgency and proper focus in a mistake-free 6-3 win over the Os at Camden Yards.

Lucchino addressed reporters prior to the game and admitted that the Sox were going through a valley in their stewardship of the team. Still, he also couldnt resist dropping a shot against the jaded and cynical media within his reality check.

Every franchise, every brand goes through rough times, he said. No one is immune to the hills and valleys. Weve had a long run of success, Lucchino said. Weve created very high expectations for the franchise. Sometimes those high expectations are not met, and the result is a reduction, a hit to the brand and to the team and to the fan base. If its broke, well fix it.

The Sox players clearly kicked up the energy during the game, and Clay Buchholz credited the presence of the ownership group for some of that boost. Werner and Henry were returning from meetings in Colorado and Lucchino is obviously busy with the day-to-day business operations of the Sox, but all three made it a point to back their struggling bunch in Baltimore.

It was awesome. Theyre the ones that put this team together and a lot of smart people did that. It was good to see the guys here and hopefully we can keep that going into New York, said Buchholz, who said he spotted Henry when he was walking out to the bullpen to warm up. Theyve got busy lives just like we do. Im sure they could have been somewhere else, but they were behind us and supporting us. Thats what everybody wants to here.

Perhaps the best reaction was Bobby Valentine thinking about ownerships departure when the Sox had fallen down by an early 3-0 score in the game, and perhaps another rough night was coming in Baltimore.

It was great they were in here. They said they were here to bring us some luck, and when we were down 2-0 I was going to call for an early flight out, joked Valentine.

So now it appears the Sox ownership group just has to start traveling around with the team for the rest of the season to guarantee they get the unrelenting, intrepid effort the team showed Thursday for its remaining games.

Scott Podsednik went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI and has now hit safely in 17 of his 19 games with the Sox.

Public visiting hours for Johnny Pesky's wake will be Sunday, 2-8 p.m., at the Solimine, Landergan and Richardson Funeral Home, 67 Ocean Street, Route 1A, Lynn, Mass.

Jacoby Ellsbury went 0-for-4, ending his 38-game hitting streak against the Orioles that dated to April 17, 2009. The streak was the second-longest for any player vs. one team since 1900, behind only Vladimir Guerreros 44-game hitting streak for the Angels against the Texas Rangers from April 9, 2004-August 4, 2006.

As expected, Red Sox send Swihart to Pawtucket

As expected, Red Sox send Swihart to Pawtucket

Blake Swihart wasn't going to win a job. Monday merely made that official.

Swihart was optioned out as the Red Sox made further cuts, sending a player who could still be the Red Sox catcher of the future -- well, one of them anyway -- to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he's expected to work on his receiving.

Swihart hit .325 in 40 Grapefruit League at-bats.

"Had a very strong camp and showed improvements defensively. Swung the bat very well," manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida.  "For the player that he is and the person that he is, you love him as a person. He's a hell of a talented player.

"He made some subtle adjustments with his setup [defensively]. That gave him a different look to pitchers on the mound. Pitchers talked positively about the look that they got from him behind the plate. I think it softened his hands somewhat to receive the ball better. And there were a number of occasions where he was able to get a pitchers' pitch called for a strike, so the presentation of the umpire was a little bit more subtle and consistent then maybe years' past."

Sandy Leon's hot hitting in 2016 earned him an automatic crack at the lead catching spot for this year. Combined with the fact that Christian Vazquez looks great defensively, went deep on Sunday and is out of options, Swihart was the obvious odd man out.

He had options, the others didn't.

Deven Marrero was also optioned to Pawtucket. Sam Travis -- who, like Swihart, could break camp with the 2018 team -- was reassigned to minor-league camp, as was catcher Dan Butler.

The Sox have 38 players left in camp, 32 from the 40-man roster.

Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg likely headed to disabled list

Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg likely headed to disabled list

Righty Tyler Thornburg seems a guarantee to join David Price on the disabled list to start the season.

Thornburg, the biggest acquisition Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski made for the bullpen this winter, was scratched Monday because of a spasm in his upper right trapezius — not a great sign for a pitcher who already had throwing shoulder issues this spring.

Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida the spasm was “not shoulder related.”  But the trap, a large muscle along the neck and back, does extend to the shoulder blade.

Dombrowski told reporters it is most likely that Thornburg starts the year on the disabled list. More is expected to be known Tuesday, possibly after an MRI.

Robby Scott could be a replacement for Thornburg. If so, the Sox would likely have three lefties in the bullpen, along with Fernando Abad and Robbie Ross Jr.

"Possibly. Possibly," Dombrowski said of Scott. “We still have to make those decisions. But possibly.”

Dombrowski didn’t indicate a desire to go outside the organization for now.

Thornburg had barely enough time to get ready for Opening Day prior to Monday’s setback. If he indeed starts the season on the DL, Joe Kelly would be the eighth-inning reliever for the Sox — a role Kelly was headed for anyway given Thornburg’s shaky spring.

Thornburg, 28, had a 2.15 ERA last season for the Brewers. The Sox picked him up at the winter meetings in a deal that sent Travis Shaw and prospects to the Milwaukee Brewers.