Notes: Gonzalez breaks his homerless drought

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Notes: Gonzalez breaks his homerless drought

By SeanMcAdam and MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Adrian Gonzalez had been one of the Red Sox' hot hitters before Tuesday night with a nine-game hitting streak, a .310 batting average and a team-high 18 RBI.

What he hadn't done is hit home runs. Going into Tuesday, in fact, Gonzalez had hit just one homer in 28 games -- and that came in the fifth game of the year.

By the time Gonzalez hit his second homer of the season in Tuesday night's 7-3 win over the Angels -- his first at home -- 96 at-bats had passed.

"Was I concerned?'' said Gonzalez, repeating a reporter's question. "Well, I thought I'd hit another before the end of the year.''

Gonzalez had talked about his homer drought last week in Baltimore and maintained that the long stretch without a long ball had nothing to do with his surgically-repaired shoulder and everything to do with a mechanical flaw in his swing.

''Since that day in Cleveland when he hit the first homer I was just focusing on hitting balls away,'' said Gonzalez Tuesday night. "But I've been moving in the right direction.''

Carl Crawford is showing signs that he's slowly but surely coming around at the plate.

The slumping outfielder had two hits again Wednesday, marking the third straight game in which he's collected two hits.

Crawford singled in the third inning for his 1,500th career hit, two years to the day afterhe tied modern major-league record with six stolen bases against theRed Sox. He is the fourth modern big leaguer ever to collect 1,500 hitsand 400 stolen bases before turning 30, joining Cesar Cedeno, Ty Cobb,and Eddie Collins.

In the seventh, Crawford singled again, then rode home all the way from first on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's wall-scraping double.

With the two hits, Crawford is now hitting .194, his highest average in weeks.

"It was just a matter of time,'' said Terry Francona of Crawford's emergence. "He's a good player. I think he's just starting to relax at the plate.''

The Red Sox are 6-0 against the Angels this season, outscoring them 36-13. The Sox are 15-1 against the Angels since the start of the 2010 season.

Its a good ballclub, said L.A.'s starter Tuesday night, Dan Haren. Its not losing 15 out of 16 to, no disrespect, like the Mariners or the Pirates. Its the Boston Red Sox --theyre a good ballclub.

In order to do 15 out of 16 you gotta have a little luck on your side. A lot of things have to happen because its not that easy. We got to just hope we can scratch one out tomorrow and then go from there.

Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hit streak to 12-games a team high with a sixth-inning double.

Marco Scutaros eighth-inning home run, his first of the season, passed a video review. It was the 10th time instant replay has been used at Fenway, the second time this season. It was the fourth time the on-field call has stood.

Kevin Youkilis was scratched from the lineup just before game time because of illness.

Jonathan Papelbon threw 24 pitches in the ninth inning a non-save situation three shy of his season high of 27 on April 3 in Texas, also a non-save situation, a 5-1 loss.

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

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who’s on first? A middle infielder, maybe.

Hanley Ramirez, Josh Rutledge and Mitch Moreland aren't fully healthy. So the 25th man on the Red Sox has become a matter of corner-infield triage.

Rutledge was gearing up to play some first base with Ramirez restricted to DH because of his throwing shoulder. But Rutledge is hurt now too, likely headed to the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, Sox manager John Farrell said Wednesday morning in Florida.

Here’s the easiest way to think about who takes Rutledge's place: Who would the Red Sox like to see less against left handed pitching, third baseman Pablo Sandoval or first baseman Mitch Moreland? 

If it’s Sandoval, then you carry Marco Hernandez, who can play third base.

“He’s a very strong candidate,” manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday. “He’s one of a few that are being considered strongly right now.” 

If it’s Moreland, than you carry Steve Selsky, who has a history playing first base.

“He’s a guy we’re having discussions on,” Farrell said. “Any guy in our camp that we feel is going to make us a more complete or balanced roster, Deven Marrero, they’re all in consideration.”

The additional wrench here is that Moreland has the flu. If he's not available at all for a few days to begin the season, then the Sox probably have to carry Hernandez.

Why? Because Brock Holt can play some first base if Moreland is out. But then, you’d need another back-up middle infielder, and Hernandez gives you that. 

Hernandez is also hitting .379 in 58 at-bats this spring entering Wednesday.

Moreland isn’t the only one who has the flu.

"It’s running through our clubhouse," Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday, including the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. "Probably be held out for three days for a quarantine.” (LINK:http://www.providencejournal.com/sports/20170329/with-josh-rutledge-and-mitch-moreland-ailing-first-base-depth-compromised-for-red-sox)

That means the Red Sox won't have Moreland for their exhibitions against the Nationals on Friday and Saturday in Washington D.C. and Annapolis, Md. Moreland could still be ready for the regular season, but would likely be at less than full strength.

Having Ramirez available would sure make things a lot simpler for the Sox.

Both Sandoval at third base and Moreland could use right-handed bats to complement them. Or more specifically, they could use people who can hit left-handed pitching to complement them.

Hernandez is a left-handed hitter who might actually be able to hit lefties. But the Sox haven't used him at first base, and there's no indication they will.

“As we look at the upcoming games, there is the potential for two left-handed starters in Detroit,” Farrell said. “So there’s a number of things being factored right now.”

Early in spring training, Farrell was asked what player had started to catch his eye.

The guy he mentioned was Selsky, an outfielder and first baseman the Red Sox feel fortunate to have picked up off waivers because he still has minor league options remaining.

Now Selsky, who has already technically been cut from major league spring training, has a chance at making the opening day roster. He's 27 and hit .356 in 45 Grapefruit League at-bats.

Chris Young isn't going to have an easy time finding at-bats as it stands now, but the Sox aren't considering moving him to first base.
 

Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

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Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.

The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.