Notes: Ellsbury, Ortiz back in lineup, Gonzalez to RF


Notes: Ellsbury, Ortiz back in lineup, Gonzalez to RF

By Sean McAdam Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
HOUSTON -- Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the lineup Saturday night, a night after missing a game because of illness.

"I don't think he feels great, but he's good enough to play," reported manager Terry Francona, "he's he's still kind of scuffling."

Francona also had Adrian Gonzalez back in right field for the second time in the last four games, with David Ortiz taking over at first base.

Ortiz had eight at-bats through the first seven game of the three-city road trip, enough so that he didn't get stale, though it's worth noting that Ortiz was hitless in those first eight at-bats and last got a hit on June 20.

"He's got his stroke," said Francona. "I'm thrilled about that."

Selections for the All-Star Game will be made Sunday and a number of Red Sox players seem positioned to make the American League squad.

It's a given that both Adrian Gonzalez (1B) and David Ortiz (DH) will be chosen for the game. Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and second baseman Dustin Pedroia are also strong possibilities.

On the pitching staff, it's expected that both Jon Lester and Josh Beckett will be given strong consideration, though Lester may be ineligible for the game since he's scheduled to start July 10, the final day of the first half.

Under rules introduced by MLB several years ago, starters who start games on the Sunday before the game can be chosen for the game, but aren't eligible to complete because of a lack of rest.

Reliever Daniel Bard, who had somewhat of a tough April, has been almost unhittable of late.

Bard went into Saturday night with a scoreless streak of 15 innings, covering 13 games. In that span, Bard has struck out 15 batters and allowed just four singles and three walks in that span.

At the same time, lefty Franklin Morales has been effective since coming off the DL following some elbow soreness.

He's made three appearances since being activated and has retired all five hitters he's faced. Francona is unafraid to use him in close-and-late situations and left him in the game Friday night when Houston manager Brad Mills went to a righthanded pinch-hitter.

Carl Crawford hit on the field for the first time since going on the DL and ran at about 70 percent effort. He's eligible to come off the DL Sunday, but probably won't be activated until the middle of next week.

Meanwhile, Francona acknowledged what's been obvious for a while: Clay Buchholz (back spasms) won't pitch again before the All-Star break.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Three-run HR from Sandoval (.353) leads Red Sox split squad past Rays, 7-5

Three-run HR from Sandoval (.353) leads Red Sox split squad past Rays, 7-5

Pablo Sandoval hit his fourth home run of the spring and Rusney Castillo had three hits to lead a Red Sox split squad to a 7-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday in Port Charlotte, Fla. 

Sandoval, who has won back his third base job after missing nearly all of last season following surgery on his left shoulder, connected for a three-run shot, batting right-handed, against Rays starter Ian Snell in the fifth inning. The switch-hitting Sandoval had abandoned hitting right-handed in 2015, his last full season with the Red Sox.

He's hitting .353 this spring with a 1.051 OPS and 19 RBI.

Castillo, the Cuban outfielder signed to a seven-year, $72 million deal late in 2014 but again likely headed for Triple-A Pawtucket, went 3-for-4 and is hitting .368 this spring. Catcher Blake Swihart, also probably Pawtucket-bound, had two hits and is hitting .325.


Another strong start for Kendrick in Red Sox split squad's 3-3 tie with Phillies

Another strong start for Kendrick in Red Sox split squad's 3-3 tie with Phillies

Kyle Kendrick strengthened his bid for a spot in the rotation by allowing two runs in six innings and striking out six and Jackie Bradley homered as a Red Sox split squad played to a 3-3 tie with the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Kendrick, 32, a non-roster invitee to spring training, allowed eight hits and a walk in his sixth start this spring. He's been the Red Sox best starter with an ERA of 2.17. 

With David Price out until May and lefty Drew Pomeranz still a question mark, Kendrick could find his way into the rotation behind Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Bradley went 2-for-3 with his third homer of the spring. He's hitting .244 in spring training games. 

The Phillies pushed across the tying run in the ninth off lefty reliever Robby Scott, the first run he's allowed this spring in 10 innings. 

The Minnesota Twins host the Red Sox on Sunday at 1:05 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.