Notes: Bard takes another loss

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Notes: Bard takes another loss

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Daniel Bard stood in front of his locker, surrounded by reporters. Again.

Bard was answering questions about another tough, late-inning loss. Again.

Bard had been the loser Wednesday night in Toronto when the Sox saw a two-run deficit frittered away in the eighth. On Saturday, he had entered a tie game in the 11th, only to give up a leadoff triple to Desmond Jennings and, one out later, a game-winning single to Evan Longoria, giving the Rays a 6-5 win.

The pitching to Longoria, 0-and-2, was "exactly where we wanted it. Chest high . . . 98 mph . . . ''

The loss was Bard's seventh of the season -- three more than Bard accumulated in his first two seasons combined. The back-to-back losses were the first for Bard in his career.

"Tonight would have been a good one to win,'' said Bard, "a come-from-behind win. Unfortunately, we couldn't do it.''

Bard actually followed closer Jonathan Papelbon to the mound after Papelbon was brought in for the ninth inning. After a lot of work Thursday night, Terry Francona wanted to limit Bard to a single inning, while Papelbon was rested enough for two.

Jacoby Ellsbury, who hit a game-tying homer in the bottom of the ninth, went sliding in the right-center gap, hoping to catch a ball off the bat of Desmond Jennings.

Darnell McDonald, in right field, went after the ball, too, though Ellsbury called for it.

The ball fell between them for a triple, leading to the winning run.

"I felt like I got a good read on it,'' said McDonald. "The ball fell, so it was in a perfect spot. We got there at the same time. I heard him call the ball. I tried to get out of the way and the ball dropped. That's about how it's going for us right now.''

"We're trying to catch the ball,'' said Ellsbury. "I feel like we should catch everything out there.''

Making his third major league start, Kyle Weiland lasted just four innings, allowing three runs.

But considering the trouble he sometimes got himself into, that wasn't bad.

Weiland was able to limit the damage to a solo run in the first after loading the bases with no out in the first. It was more of the same in the third when he filled the bases with one out and kept the Rays to a single run.

"I dug myself a little bit into a hole,'' acknoweldged Weiland," and I made a few quality pitches and I Was able to get out of it with minimal damage. (But) it's tough to get out of those when you keep digging a hole like that.

Kevin Youkilis didn't return from Boston after getting an injection for his sore hip and will re-join the Red Sox when they return home from their current trip.

"He's a little sore,'' said Terry Francona, "which wasn't unexpected. We'll see where he's at on Tuesday.''

Francona confirmed that Youkilis has "the onset of the sports hernia,'' while adding that the term is general and means only that Youkilis "had a weakening of an area, which we already knew.''

Francona said Youkilis will be examined further at the conclusion of the Red Sox' season to determine whether any surgical procedure is needed in the offseason.

"For now, he can play as tolerated,'' said Francona, "and I think they believe he can play. And if he needs a day off, we can certainly do that.''

With Youkilis out Saturday and Sunday, Jed Lowrie will continue to man third base, with Mike Aviles also available.

Erik Bedard, who had a left lat pull examined in Boston Friday, rejoined the club and, according to Francona, "is improving.

"We don't want to rush him back,'' added the manager. "It's so easy to make mistakes when you're getting thin (with pitching), when in reality, you're messing up. I think we're just going to do the best we can in the meantime.''

Bedard was going to be skipped this weekend anyway because his left knee was tender, but the lat issue may be push that back further.

Francona said Bedard taking his next turn, which would be Thursday or so, "is not realistic. Again, the timetable isn't set in stone. It's more like how he feels.''

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Drellich: Why David Ortiz should hang around the Red Sox more often

Drellich: Why David Ortiz should hang around the Red Sox more often

BOSTON — David Ortiz should stop by Fenway Park more often. 

There may be no tangible gain for his old teammates. At this point, it defies logic to think there’d be tangible harm.

On Thursday evening before Ortiz’s charity roast at House of Blues, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy recalled how it was a no-brainer to plan Friday’s jersey retirement so soon after Ortiz’s exit from the game. 

Kennedy said he was the one who actually broached the question with team management last year. Basically, everyone looked at him sideways because of the implication any other time but right away made sense.

“No person has meant more to the [John] Henry-[Larry] Lucchino-[Tom] Werner era than David Ortiz,” Kennedy said.

Let’s accept the premise wholly: that because Ortiz is so special, the timing for his ceremony deserved to be just as unique. The design of the day was centered on how much Ortiz means to people: fans, the team.

Why, then, has Ortiz been staying away from the ballclub? Dustin Pedroia has been a leader for years. Ortiz is a positive influence. The idea that having Big Papi swing by Fenway sometimes would actively stunt the development of the Red Sox’ identity is a stretch. 

There’s been a grace period of nearly three months. 

“Well I, I could never entirely walk away. I have been around,” Ortiz said Friday night in a press conference. “I have been watching the games and I have been in touch with my teammates. I have been in touch with the organization. You know, I just don’t like to, you know, be in the way of anything. 

“I know that, me retiring, it was going to have a big impact on what we do around here. So I don’t — I tell myself, give everybody their space and I don’t want to, now that I’m not playing, I don’t want to be a distraction. And I know that coming to the field sometimes, it can cause a distraction or something, so. I have been able to keep my distance so I’m not in nobody’s way. But I stay in touch with everybody and I have been pretty busy also, doing a lot of things. 

“But me and the organization, we’ve been talking for a while about me working with the organization. Probably Sam Kennedy can give you guys more info about it. But it’s going to happen, and at some point I’m going to be able to help out somewhere, somehow some way.”

It’d be ridiculous to say Ortiz is the reason Rick Porcello pitched well and Hanley Ramirez homered Friday. It’d be a flat-out lie.

But Ortiz’s presence shouldn’t somehow be a distraction, if leadership and the mentality in the Red Sox clubhouse is as the Red Sox describe it.

"Pedey has been a leader of this team for the entire time he's been here,” manager John Farrell said Friday. “To me, the clubhouse has been a place where guys have felt comfortable. They've been able to come in and be themselves. They have rallied around one another when times have called for that. When you remove an individual, there are going to be other people who step up. I firmly believe that has taken place.”

If that’s the case, then how does what Farrell said in the same pregame press conference yesterday make sense?

“[Ortiz] has a keen awareness that he could potentially keep others from flourishing with the potential thought and the question always being there,” Farrell said. “Well, he is around, is he ever coming back? All the things that I think have been reported on to a certain extent. I think David's keen awareness of himself and how a team works, I wouldn't be surprised if that is at the root of his decision to keep the space that he's done.”

But that decision seems flawed. No one in that room should be hurt or confused by Ortiz coming by occasionally — absolutely not now that the jersey’s hanging. (A little speculation he could un-retire was throwing the Sox off their game? Really?) 

If anything, the team should find comfort in seeing such an important, charismatic man with ties to the group.

Ortiz is special. The team has adapted well without him. If those are facts, the need for Ortiz to stay away doesn’t make sense.

Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

BOSTON - David Ortiz became one of the most celebrated players in Red Sox history during his storied 14-year run in Boston.

On the night he returned to Fenway to have his No. 34 take its place among the franchise's other legends, his former teammates did their part to make sure it was a memorable one.

Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon hit two-run homers and the Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 9-4 on Friday to cap a night in which Ortiz's number became the latest retired at Fenway Park.

It was the 250th career home run for Ramirez, a good friend of Ortiz who was also born in the Dominican Republic. Leon finished with three hits and four RBIs.

Ramirez said he played with Ortiz on his mind.

"He's my mentor, my big brother. He's everything," Ramirez said. "Today when I saw him on the field crying, it made me cry."

He said his home run was in Big Papi's honor.

"Definitely, definitely, definitely," he said. "I was going to do his thing (pointing his hands in the air) but I forgot."

The homers helped provide a nice cushion for Rick Porcello (4-9), who gave up four runs and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory. It was the 13th straight start Porcello has gone at least six innings.

"It was vintage Porcello," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "A couple of pitches that cut his night short, but he was crisp throughout."

This could serve as a needed confidence boost for Porcello, who had been 0-4 with a 7.92 ERA in his previous five starts, allowing 47 hits and 27 earned runs.

He had command of his pitches early, holding the Angels scoreless until the fourth, when a catching error by Leon at home allowed Albert Pujols to cross the plate.

Porcello said he isn't sure if he has completely turned a corner yet after his slow start, but he has felt better in his recent starts.

"Today was a step in the right direction," he said.

Alex Meyer (3-4) allowed five runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Los Angeles scored three runs in the seventh, but cooled off after Porcello left.

Boston got out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, scoring on an RBI double by Xander Bogaerts and then getting two more runs off wild pitches by Meyer.

Ramirez gave Porcello a 5-1 lead in the fourth with his two-run shot to right field.