Notes: Sox being patient with young hitters

Notes: Sox being patient with young hitters
May 14, 2014, 7:45 pm
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(AP Photo)

MINNEAPOLIS - Three young players in the bottom third of the Red Sox lineup -- Xander Bogaerts, Will Middlebrooks, and Jackie Bradley Jr. --  entered Wednesday hitting .252 or below, but John Farrell indicated the team was prepared to be patient with all three.

For now, at least.

"These are our guys,'' said Farrell, "and we fully acknowledged and accepted that there were going to be some peaks and valleys with some young guys along the way. But we still go back to the abilities that each possess and their work ethic. And those are the things that are going to allow a guy to perform with some dependability.''

Middlebrooks is struggling the most, with a .197 batting average.

"Will's been in a little bit of a streak where he's searching a little bit,'' said Farrell. "But we need them to perform to their abilities and contribute for us to be the team we fully envision us being.''

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The Red Sox have been emphasizing the need to work quickly for both Wednesday's starter (Felix Doubront) and Thursday's (Clay Buchholz).

"In general,'' said Farrell, "we'd like all of our pitchers to work with an uptempo approach and yet, it has be individual to each guy, making sure that he's not rushing through things from a fundamental standpoint and not taking the time needed to execute as consistently as possible.

"But I think there's an adage in the game that if you work quick, throw strikes and change speeds, that's a recipe for success and we've seen it with other guys. And when Clay has felt comfortable, we've seen it work for him, as well.''

Catcher A.J. Pierzynski is an advocate of working quickly and that's a factor.

"We've seen A.J.'s rapport with John Lackey, in particular, (be a factor),'' said Farrell. "I think more importantly, it's the comfort of a pitcher, first and foremost. A.J. wants to keep it moving quick and we've seen that be very successful with John and we're hopeful that it will add something to both Clay and Felix.''

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Major League Baseball, acting on an appeal from David Ortiz, reversed an official scorer's call from last Friday in Arlington, Texas and given Ortiz a hit while taking an error away from Texas outfielder Alex Rios.

The call came in the seventh inning while Yu Darvish was working on a perfect game. Ortiz hit a ball to shallow right and the ball dropped between Rios and rookie second baseman Rougned Odor. The scorer gave Rios an error, preserving Darvish's no-hitter until Ortiz singled indisputably with two out in the ninth.

Typically, scorers are reluctant to award errors when the ball isn't touched by a fielder, though the rule book allows for errors to be assigned.

"I thought it was a hit in the moment,'' said Farrell. "Upon further review, obviously they've changed it. So in the end, the right call has been (made).''

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Craig Breslow had a scoreless inning Tuesday night and, after a slow start, has now pieced together five straight consecutive scoreless outings.

It's a positive development for the reliever, who missed the first few weeks building arm strength.

The Sox had been careful with his workload, giving him plenty of time off between appearances to allow him to build up, but more recently, the training wheels have come off.

"Over the past 10 days or so,'' said Farrell, "that's happened. We've been able to get him back-to-back days. We've seen the arm strength get back to the normal range and the pitch execution and ability to change speeds has always been there. He adds a tremendous amount of dependability to the group down in the bullpen.''

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Catcher David Ross, who rolled an ankle Tuesday night during batting practice and had to be helped off the field, was available Wednesday night.

"He turned his ankle coming out of the cage after a round of BP,'' explained Farrell. "But he iced it a couple of times during the game and he went down (to the bullpen) and caught the second half of (Tuesday) night, so everything's on tap for him to be behind the plate (in the finale Thursday).''

Also, Shane Victorino, who jammed his knee sliding into third base in the seventh inning Tuesday night, was in the lineup Wednesday.