Notes: Lackey decent, Ellsbury still hitting

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Notes: Lackey decent, Ellsbury still hitting

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
Boston -- John Lackey took the loss as the Sox fell to the Rays, 4-0, Wednesday afternoon at Fenway Park, snapping a six-game win streak over his seven previous starts. He went 6 23 innings, giving up four runs, three earned, on six hits and three walks, with seven strikeouts, a wild pitch and two hit batters. He also tied a season high with two home runs.

It was his eighth quality start in 21 outings this season. He has held opponents to three runs or fewer in six of his last eight starts since July 9, going 6-1 with a 3.93 ERA in that stretch.

Hes been giving us about the same every time out, Francona said. He gives up the last run, which is the fourth run, but they kind of one-runned him to death. But on a lot of nights thats plenty good enough for us to win. Good velocity coming out of the chute today.

The two hit batters give him 16 total this season, tied for fifth-highest ever by a Sox pitcher in one season. He also threw a season-high 125 pitches, the second highest total of his career, after 131 pitches against the Rangers one Aug. 9, 2009, while with the Angels.

Jacoby Ellsburys triple leading off the sixth inning, landed in the triangle in deep center field, bouncing around before Rays' center fielder B.J. Upton could retrieve it. Ellsbury had thoughts of an inside-the-park home run, but third base coach Tim Bogar held him at third.

I had my back turned, Ellsbury said. Bogies my eyes in that situation. So, obviously if hes going to send me hes going to do it when Im halfway between second and third. But its definitely a hard decision.

It was his third triple of the season.

His third-inning steal of second base gave him 32 for the season, and 168 in his career, tying him with Carl Yastrzemski for third on the Sox all-time list. Only Harry Hooper (300) and Tris Speaker (267) have more stolen bases with the Sox.

Ellsbury had an extra-base hit in all three games of the series, the first time he has had an extra-base hit in three straight home games. He leads the Sox with 25 extra-base hits, 10 home runs and 38 RBI since June 30.

Alfredo Aceves struck out the side in the eighth inning, the first time with the Red Sox and third time in his career he has done so.

Gonzalez has been feeling a little beat up, Francona implied. He said a neck issue, which has nagged Gonzalez, may be affecting the first baseman's power at the plate.

"I think he still feels it, but I think about every player in the league right now is probably not perfect," Francona said. "Thats just the way it is, especially guys that play every inning of every day. It may have cut into his power a little bit but you play and you continue to play. If theres ever a chance when we can give them a couple of days off wed probably do it. Probably not a good time to do it right now."

While Gonzalez is batting .281, going 16-for-57 in 15 games this month, he has just four extra-base hits, all doubles. He has not hit a home run since July 30 in Chicago, his only homer since the All-Star break. He has just seven doubles since then.

J.D. Drew, on the DL since July 20 with a left shoulder impingement, will travel with the team to Kansas City. He has been taking batting practice in the cage, but has not progressed to on-field BP. He is expected to do so in Kansas City. After that he will be reevaluated before being sent on a rehab assignment, which will be determined by the medical staff, Francona said.

Left-hander Rich Hill, who had Tommy John surgery in June, will stay in Boston to continue his rehab and meet up with the team in Texas.

Left-hander Andrew Miller is scheduled to start Fridays game in KC. He has not since July 31 against the White Sox in Chicago and has pitched just three innings since then, 2 23 innings against the Indian s on Aug. 4 and a third of an inning on Aug. 10. Francona said Miller will be monitored in his outing.

Well certainly keep an eye on him, Francona said. There's certainly been enough time in between where . . . we keep an eye on him. Hes going to throw an extended side today. Hes thrown, warmed up a lot. Hasnt necessarily been in games but it shouldnt get in the way. I think what happens is say he throws 85-90-95 pitches, I just think you come out of that start a little more sore than normal . . . or stiff. Thats probably a better word.

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

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."

Hanley Ramirez's shoulder already a concern for Red Sox heading into WBC

Hanley Ramirez's shoulder already a concern for Red Sox heading into WBC

Another year, another injury concern for Hanley Ramirez. This time, though, it's a bit more complicated.

Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell told the media Monday that Ramirez hadn't played any first base during spring training yet due to discomfort in his right throwing shoulder.

“Well, we’re working through ramping up his throwing program,” Farrell said, via WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. “That has taken a little bit more time than anticipated coming in so we’ve got to kind of take that day to day how much we can increase the intensity with the throwing. He’s just working through some soreness with the throwing.”

As Bradford points out, Ramirez and the Red Sox went through the same process last year. Where it differs this time around is Ramirez's scheduled participation in the World Baseball Classic: He's expected to report to Team Domincan Republic on Friday, which means the Red Sox won't be monitoring his every move on the field (though the two training staffs will be communicating daily, also per Bradford).

Ramirez isn't the only first baseman on the roster, with the Cleveland Indians' Carlos Santana there as well. So will Ramirez be jumping into game action anytime soon?

“I don’t know what I’m going to do. They haven’t told me anything,” Ramirez told WEEI.com “I’m just going to go there and see.”