Notes: Francona still struggling with Gonzalez decision

191542.jpg

Notes: Francona still struggling with Gonzalez decision

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
PITTSBURGH With right-hander Jeff Karstens (4-4, 2.54 ERA) starting for the Pirates tonight, the decision to play J.D. Drew in right field and Josh Reddick in left was a fairly easy one for Red Sox manager Terry Francona.

The choice between David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez continues to be a difficult one, though. Francona said at the beginning of the week he has the option of moving Gonzalez to right field and playing Ortiz at first base in order to get two of his most productive bats in the lineup. But, he has been hesitant to make that move.

"I'm concerned that if something happened to somebody, you can't go back and undo it, Francona said. In theory, it sounds great. I'm excited by having David and Gonzie both in the lineup. But if he went out there and did something, I can't call time out and undo it. It's a little bit of an anxiety."

Francona said he would discuss the situation with general manager Theo Epstein and his coaches. Until he is comfortable making the move, he would prefer to leave things as they are.

"Everybody would love to see the at-bats in the lineup, he said We're all together on that. But there are some ramifications and we're all in it together. I told Theo: Until I'm sure, I'm not doing it. I think he's completely on board with that."

Francona acknowledged the defense would suffer by moving Gonzalez to right field and putting Ortiz at first base.

Francona will probably leave the lineup the wayit is for Sundays series finale.

"I don't think I'm going to do it Sunday, he said. I'm kind of on the fence. Since I am, I'm not sure I know what's right. But I am sure of what's not right. Until I'm positive that this is something to do, I'm going to stay away. That's how I feel. I'll probably stay away tomorrow. Reevaluate on the way to Philly. I'm hung up and I'm struggling with it and I don't want do something I'm struggling with. If we put Gonzie out there and he got hurt, I'm just not ready to do it. Maybe three, four games into this road trip . . . maybe I will. We'll see.

Although the Sox have lost three in a row two to the Padres and Friday night to the Pirates Francona will not let that affect his decision-making process.

I would never do that, he said.

Right-hander Bobby Jenks, on the disabled list since June 8 with left back tightness, is scheduled to make a rehab appearance with Double-A Portland Saturday night. Jenks is expected to start against New Hampshire (Blue Jays).

Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield is making his second career start against his former team, and his first at PNC Park. He is three wins shy of 200 for his career. In his last start, at 44 years and 321 days old, he became the oldest American League pitcher to earn a win while recording six or more strikeouts in an outing of at least eight innings since Nolan Ryan did it at 45 years and 155 days on July 4, 1992, while with Texas. Asked how long Wakefield can continue to pitch, Francona replied: As long as he wants to.

Its not easy, Francona said, and as players get older they have to work harder both during the season and in the offseason to maintain their conditioning.

His knuckleball is still good, Francona said. Hes lost a couple miles an hour, but its not the same thing.

Francona on Josh Reddick, hitting .435, who is in his second call-up this season:

Hes done a terrific job. With Carl out it lessens some of the burden.

Reddicks ability to play all three outfield positions also helps, Francona said.

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

Robbie Ross Jr. is getting elbow checked out

Robbie Ross Jr. is getting elbow checked out

Red Sox reliever Robbie Ross Jr.'s tough 2017 has reached a potentially scary moment.

Expected to be the team's lead lefty out of the bullpen, Ross has twice been demoted and struggled in the majors. Now, he's on the disabled list at Triple-A Pawtucket with inflammation in his throwing elbow — a health situation that might explain why he wasn't pitching well in the big leagues.

The Red Sox expect to know more about Ross' situation later in the week.

Ross hasn't pitched in game for Pawtucket since he was most recently optioned. If the 27-year-old was indeed hurt in the majors, it's possible he could retroactivley wind up on the major league disabled list. Ross was demoted May 19, and is on the DL retroactive to May 25. 

Per BrooksBaseball.net, Ross sat at 93 mph with his fastball on May 12. He dropped down to 92 in the following appearance, and the next two outings were at 91 mph. He averaged 94 mph in 2016.

Ross had a 7.00 ERA in eight major league appearances this year, striking out nine and walking five in nine innings. He posted a 3.25 ERA in a 2016 season where he established himself as a key member of the 'pen.

Ross said he was shocked when he was demoted for the first time this year. 

Robinson Cano, Guillermo Heredia homer in Mariners' 5-0 win over Red Sox

ap_17148654925809.jpg

Robinson Cano, Guillermo Heredia homer in Mariners' 5-0 win over Red Sox

BOSTON (AP)  Christian Bergman rebounded from a miserable start with seven shutout innings and the Seattle Mariners halted Boston's season-high six-game winning streak with a 5-0 victory over the Red Sox on Sunday.

Robinson Cano hit a two-run homer and Guillermo Heredia a solo shot for the Mariners, who averted a three-game sweep with just their second win in nine games. Seattle was shut out the first two games.

Bergman (2-2) allowed four hits, walked two and struck out two. He got a lot of help from his infielders when they turned a double play in each of the first four innings.

Three relievers completed the combined five-hitter, with closer Edwin Diaz getting the final three outs despite two errors by infielders.

Bergman was tagged for 14 hits and 10 runs over four innings in a loss his previous start.

Rick Porcello (3-6) gave up 11 hits, but only two runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Seattle finished one off its club record for most double plays turned in a game.

After being shut out for the first 21 innings of the series, the Mariners moved ahead 1-0 in the fourth when Kyle Seager raced home from third after Porcello bounced a pitch that went over catcher Sandy Leon's right shoulder and onto the screen. Seager had doubled leading off and advanced on Danny Valencia's single.

Heredia homered over the Green Monster in the eighth and Cano sent his into the center-field bleachers an inning later.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, had another bullpen session Sunday because he wasn't happy with one a day earlier.

Red Sox: Manager John Farrell said 3B Pablo Sandoval, out since late April with a sprained right knee, will stay on his rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket to get his "timing going" with more at-bats.

ROSTER MOVES

Seattle sent Saturday's losing pitcher, RHP Rob Whalen, to Triple-A Tacoma and brought up RHP Ryne Harper from the same club.

The Red Sox also made moves with pitchers, sending Saturday's winner, lefty Brian Johnson, to Triple-A Pawtucket and promoting RHP Blaine Boyer for a day. Boyer will go back down Monday when ace David Price is activated.

Boyer made his Red Sox debut, retiring the only two batters he faced.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Sam Gaviglio (0-1, 1.38 ERA) is set to make his third major-league start when they open a two-game series Monday at Colorado. RHP Tyler Chatwood (4-6, 4.50) is scheduled for the Rockies.

Red Sox: LHP Price makes his season debut Monday in Chicago against the White Sox after being sidelined since early spring training with a strained left elbow.

--

More AP baseball coverage:https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball