Notes: Scutaro to hit leadoff in Saturday return

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Notes: Scutaro to hit leadoff in Saturday return

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs

KANSAS CITY Marco Scutaro was attempting to push the Sox staff to let him play on Friday night against the Royals, but instead the Sox shortstop will rejoin the Boston lineup Saturday night and hit leadoff in place of the injured Jacoby Ellsbury.

Scutaro had missed five straight games with the bad back, but the Sox have benefited from newfound depth there with both Mike Aviles and Jed Lowrie able to fill in while Bostons starting shortstop worked the kinks out of his back.

Weve thrown Aviles out there every day," Francona said. "His actions at shortstop are actually really good, and I think the at-bats have been very good for him. We didnt have to play Jed today, so Aviles versatility has been huge. His versatility at the plate and in the field really helps . . . even more than the numbers. To a manager its more important because you know you can throw him out there anywhere, and then you can do a lot of different things.

I think Scutaro wanted to play yesterday and I think waiting another day was a pretty good idea.

It appears that Scutaro is on the other side of the back issues that have hampered him, and there should be a clear stretch coming for a player thats been hot enough at the bat to put up .318.371.409 numbers since the All-Star break.

When Scutaro was presented with the scenario that the 100 plus degree heat of Texas in their upcoming series might help his back loosen up further, the dry-witted infielder took it one step further.

Yeah, and I might melt, said Scutaro.

David Ortizhas beenfreed from the boot on his right foot, and will take some swings in the batting cage Saturday afternoon in a good, progressive step coming back from bursitis in his right heel. The Sox designated hitter is probably still a few days away from returning to the lineup, but Bostons big slugger is trending in the right direction.

Hes going to hit today and he does feel good, which is good. Hell hit and start that progression, and thats good news, said Terry Francona. He might just be in the cage. I dont know you can put exact timetables on how these things happen. We hope the boot is gone for good. I know we dont want to go back and forth with it.Ortiz tweeted after the session and promised he'll be back in the lineup soon: "Hit in the cage today and I feel good ... I will be back soon Red Sox Nation!" wrote Ortiz from his @davidortiz twitter account on Saturday afternoon.

Lefty Andrew Miller responded well after tossing 5 23 innings in a spot start Friday night, and Sox manager Terry Francona indicated the tall southpaw will get another start at some point in the next few weeks. Miller is 5-1 for Boston this season while stepping in amid injuries to Sox starters, and Francona said his next starting gig will be utilized to maximize the extra rest given to Bostons five starting pitchers. Millers spot start could be used to give all the starters an additional day of rest, or it could give one of the starters a needed blow down the stretch after piling up some large innings totals.

As he recovers from his start well slide him back into the bullpen and then use him for another start at some point, said Miller. We just dont know when. I think we want to see how some of the other guys are doing, if a guy needs a break and see how the schedule works out moving forward.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.

Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

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Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

BOSTON - Brian Johnson had quite a turnaround in his second time on Fenway Park's mound.

Johnson pitched a five-hitter in his first big league appearance at Fenway, and the Boston Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

The 26-year-old left-hander became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998. In Johnson's first start in Fenway - his fourth as a professional - he sustained a season-ending facial fracture when he hit by a line drive while pitching for Class A Lowell in 2012.

"The last time I walked off the mound here was 2012 and I made two pitches," Johnson said. "Today I went nine innings. Today was pretty cool."

Johnson left Triple-A for a little over a month last season to get treatment for an anxiety issue.

"Obviously with some stuff that I've been gone through in my career, it's an awesome feeling" he said.

But despite the stellar outing, Johnson was optioned back to Triple-A after the game.

"That's the reality of the game," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We had a chance to congratulate him and yet option him back to Pawtucket, with David Price coming here Monday."

Brought up from the minors for the start, Johnson (2-0) gave up five singles, struck out eight and walked none. His only previous big league starts were at Houston on July 21, 2015, and at Toronto on April 18 this year.

Johnson was helped by a semi-leaping catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at the wall in the sixth, Bradley's diving grab of Nelson Cruz's sinking liner in the ninth and Bradley's game-ending running catch of Kyle Seager's drive.

Xander Bogaerts' RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth

Shut out for the second straight day, Seattle has lost seven of eight.

"Their guy threw the ball over the plate. He threw strikes," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "I won't take anything away from what he did, but we're not swinging the bat very well."

Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his Mariners' debut, his first big league start since Aug. 23 for Atlanta. He is Seattle's 12th starting pitcher, the most in the major leagues.

Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also had RBI singles in the first, when the Red Sox had two batters hit by pitches, two walks and two runners thrown out on the bases - Dustin Pedroia at third for the first out and Hanley Ramirez at the plate for the last.

Johnson beats Mariners 6-0 for Red Sox' 6th straight win

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Johnson beats Mariners 6-0 for Red Sox' 6th straight win

BOSTON - Brian Johnson pitched a five-hitter in his first big league appearance at Fenway Park, and the Boston Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

Brought up from Triple-A Pawtucket, Johnson (2-0) gave up five singles, struck out eight and walked none. The 26-year-old left-hander's only previous big league starts were at Houston on July 21, 2015, and at Toronto on April 18 this year.

Johnson became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998. In Johnson's first start in Fenway - his fourth as a professional - he sustained a season-ending facial fracture when he hit by a line drive while pitching for Class A Lowell in 2012.

Johnson was helped by a semi-leaping catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at the wall in the sixth, Bradley's diving grab of Nelson Cruz's sinking liner in the ninth and Bradley's game-ending running catch of Kyle Seager's drive.

Xander Bogaerts' RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth

Shut out for the second straight day, Seattle has lost seven of eight.

Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his Mariners' debut, his first big league start since Aug. 23 for Atlanta. He is Seattle's 12th starting pitcher, the most in the major leagues.

Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also had RBI singles in the first, when the Red Sox had two batters hit by pitches, two walks and two runners thrown out on the bases - Dustin Pedroia at third for the first out and Hanley Ramirez at the plate for the last.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: RHPs Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez, both on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, threw bullpen sessions. Hernandez said he "felt really good."... LHP James Paxton (strained forearm) is set to come off the DL and pitch at home Wednesday.

Red Sox: Pedroia was back at second base after getting Friday off to rest his sore left knee and not play on a wet field. He was hit by a pitch on the right forearm his first time up and went 1 for 3. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval, on the DL with a sprained right knee, was expected to play nine innings Saturday night in a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket. Manager John Farrell didn't rule out that he could be activated next week.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Christian Bergman (1-2, 6.30 ERA) gave up 10 runs and 14 hits over four innings in a 10-1 loss Tuesday at Washington.

Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (3-4, 4.35) has gone at least six innings in eight of nine starts.