Notes: Drew out, Reddick in; Lackey on track

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Notes: Drew out, Reddick in; Lackey on track

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - Facing White Sox right-hander Gavin Floyd in the series finale at Fenway Park this afternoon, J.D. Drew is not in the lineup. Josh Reddick will take his place in right field, batting eighth.

"Drew has just been kind of scuffling a little bit," said manager Terry Francona. "Maybe Red will give us, sometimes day game after a night game you're looking for some energy, and maybe Red will bump into one. He's been playing pretty well. Just maybe give us a little boost."

Drew is batting .228 overall this season, just .222 against right-handers. Since May 19, he is just 4 for his last 25 with no extra-base hits.

"I think we keep waiting for Drew's offense to heat up," Francona said. "J.D. has that track record of grabbing onto that one month and really kind of almost putting us on his back. And we're certainly, you always wait for that. And he hasn't gotten to that point yet. He's taken good swings for sure at times. But he hasn't strung them together like he's capable of.

"You've seen him probably a lot lately to taking that cutter, slider away and rolling over to second or first probably more than we're used to. He's trying, He's trying to stay back and drive it. He's just getting out ahead of it and the bat head's coming with it and his hands and getting that weak ground ball or that pop-up.

Since being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday, Reddick is 5-for-9 in three games with four RBI.

Right-hander John Lackey, on the disabled list since May 12 with a right elbow strain, is set to be activated and start for the Sox Sunday against the A's. He pitched six innings in a rehab start Tuesday night with Pawtucket, giving up one run (on a home run) with three hits, no walks, and four strikeouts. He threw 63 pitches.

"Everything went pretty well," Francona said. "He actually, I think, pitched more innings than we anticipated just because he was pretty economical with the
pitch count. But he got stretched out enough. He'll come back Sunday now and join our rotation and be able to, with the day off the next day that helps also,
but realistically can get deep enough in the game where he's not hurting himself and he's not taxing the bullpen."

Francona on Rich Hill, who has not allowed a run over 12 innings in 14 appearances with the Sox since his first appearance on Sept. 14, 2010, after adjusting his mechanics to more of a sidearm delivery:

"I think guys have done it. A lot of guys that, a Mike Myers-type guy that at some point they were conventional, just for whatever reason and we see it more with lefties. If I was a left-handed pitcher in the minor leagues and they were telling me my career was maybe going to be over, I'd start throwing from down under, too, because it seems like if you're left-handed and breathing, somebody's going to give you a chance. And when you can create an angle and some deception, you got a chance to pitch in the big leagues. Rich has done a good job. He's lowered his angle, then he's kind of come up a teeny bit, and now he's found the right, right in between. But he hasn't lost his velocity, which doesn't always happen. So he can face righties, too. It's been fun to watch."

Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka is expected back in Boston today after his trip to Japan and his meeting Tuesday with Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles to get
a second opinion on his right elbow strain, which has had him on the DL since May 17.

"He'll be back tonight," Francona said. "We're going to meet with him . . . We got the day off Thursday . . . I don't know what our timetable is. General manager Theo
Epstein and all those guys got all those meetings going on for the draft. We will meet with him the next couple of days. We want to sit down and kind of put
our heads together and see how he feels, let Dr. Gill have their talk with Dr. Yocum and try to plan out how we go about the next couple of weeks.

No surgery is expected for Matsuzaka at this time.

"No," Francona said. "Diagnostically everything is kind of the same. We got to figure out how to best go about this. The player or the pitcher has to have some
opinion, too. But you're always going to go by non-operatively first. That kind of makes sense to me."

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.

Drellich: Sale may be Red Sox' most electrifying pitcher since Pedro

Drellich: Sale may be Red Sox' most electrifying pitcher since Pedro

The newest lefty ace can succeed where David Price did not.

Chris Sale might be the most electrifying pitcher the Red Sox have had since Pedro Martinez.

Josh Beckett had his moments. Jon Lester was steadily excellent.

But the stuff Sale brings is a step above.

A spaghetti-limbed motion and a fast pace. The ability to throw any pitch in any count, something said of many pitchers, but noted here without exaggeration. A delivery that disguises each pitch as another until there’s no time to react.

MORE ON CHRIS SALE

There's been a lot of talk about how competitive Sale is. That's great.

Let's acknowledge how filthy he is before going crazy about the intangibles. He carves hitters better than he does jerseys.

Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has made some questionable moves, but he deserves some optimism here. Some early praise, even -- no matter how well Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, the best prospects he gave the White Sox for Sale, are faring this spring.

Where Dombrowski failed with Price thus far, he may succeed immediately with Sale.

Yes, Sale's 10-strikeout performance against the Yankees on Tuesday night was just a spring training game. But he was dominant to the point that a Grapefruit League game was actually made interesting.

Must-watch, even.

“You guys saw,” Sale told reporters in Florida. “Just felt good.”

All three pitches were working for Sale, the fastball, slider and changeup, and the variants thereof.

“I've been working on my changeup a little bit more the last couple of outings,” Sale said. “My last time out it wasn't great, but just working on it in between starts, just throwing it on the flat ground, it's a pitch that doesn't take a whole lot of stress on your arm. So even when you're just playing catch, you can flip it around, work on grips, things like that.

"As far as my slider, I feel good about it. . . . Obviously when I'm throwing harder, I think it's a little bit flatter. When I take some off of it, not only do I have a little bit more control, but I think it has a little bit more depth. Plus, it kind of creates another pitch in there. It's like an in-between fastball-changeup type of thing. Anything to give them a different look or try to throw them off. That’s kind of the name of pitching."

American League Rookie of the Year runner-up Gary Sanchez was miles in front of the 2-and-2 changeup he swung over in the first inning. Matt Holliday was frozen by a slider at the belt on the inner half.

Chris Carter, he of 40-home run power, was beat by a 2-and-2 fastball an inning later, clearly thinking off speed and unable to decipher just what was coming in time.

Aaron Hicks tried to golf an 0-and-2 slider by flinging his bat into the stands, somewhere behind the third-base dugout.

That’s just the first two innings.

"He added his third pitch more this evening than five days ago, when it was more fastball-changeup," manager John Farrell said. "He had his breaking ball to both sides of the plate, and got underneath to some right-handed swings. And any time he needs to, he's got such good feel for the changeup to get him back in counts to give him a different look. He was impressive."

Opening Day at Fenway Park will be exciting. But Game No. 2, when Sale is to make his Sox debut, should bring the most intrigue.

Chris Sale dominant again in Red Sox' win vs. Yankees

Chris Sale dominant again in Red Sox' win vs. Yankees

By Pat Bradley, CSN Staff

Chris Sale was treating this like a regular season game, and delivered an excellent, midseason performance.

The Boston Red Sox got a taste Tuesday of the star pitcher they acquired last offseason, when Sale dominated the New York Yankees in a 4-2 spring training road win in Tampa, Florida.

Sale, who entered the game having thrown 63 of his 68 spring pitches for strikes (92%), continued to show off his incredible command, throwing 58 of his 86 pitches for strikes (67%) in the victory.

The 27-year-old struck out five of the first six Yankees he faced, and finished with an even 10 strikeouts on the night. He’s now struck out 20 batters to just one walk this spring.

"Obviously, anybody who knows anything about sports knows about Boston and New York," Sale said, via The Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. "Coming in here, playing against the Yankees, playing at their park in a night game, it gives it more of a regular-season feel. That's what we're here for. Anytime you can get that much closer to a regular-season game, the better off we're going to be."

His single blemish came on a 2-2 pitch to Yankees designated hitter and noted masher Matt Holliday, who sent the ball sailing to the opposite field for a two-run home run that at the time tied the score at 2.

Sale quickly regrouped, lining out Chris Carter to left field on his very next pitch to end his outing. His final line: two runs on four hits with 10 strikeouts and a hit batsman in six innings on 86 pitches.

That’s quite a debut to the rivalry, and something the Red Sox are well aware could become a regular thing.

“I don't want to say tonight is the norm,” began Red Sox manager John Farrell, via The Providence Journal, “but certainly he is very capable of doing that every time he walks to the mound.”

Sale wasn’t the only one strutting his stuff on Tuesday, though. Youngsters Marco Hernandez and Sam Travis continued to hit and were pivotal parts of a Red Sox offense that pounded out 13 hits.

After Mike Miller opened the scoring with a solo homer for Boston in the third inning, Travis kept things rolling a few batters later when his base hit scored Hernandez.

Travis was back at it again in the seventh inning, when his groundout scored Heiker Meneses for what proved to be the game-winning run.

Hernandez and Travis each finished 2-for-4, with Hernandez tripling (his fifth of the spring) and scoring a run and Travis driving in two runs of his own. They raised their spring averages to .422 and .351, respectively.

Every member of the starting lineup -- which did not feature regulars Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval or Xander Bogaerts -- recorded at least one hit, save for Jackie Bradley Jr., who went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts out of the cleanup spot.

Boston is back in action Thursday with a 1:05 p.m. start against the Pittsburgh Pirates.