PawSox notes: Aceves gets Opening Night start

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PawSox notes: Aceves gets Opening Night start

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

PAWTUCKET, RI As the Opening Night starter for the Pawtucket Red Sox Thursday against Rochester, Alfredo Aceves knows whats expected of him.

Its an honor, he said. And a responsibility, too.

After making his first major league Opening Day roster last season, with the Yankees, no one could fault him if he was disappointed at not making the big-league team this year. Aceves, who still has options, was among the last roster moves, getting sent down the day before the Red Sox opened their season.

In 10 Grapefruit League games he had a record on 0-1 with one save and a 4.05 ERA, allowing six earned runs, with 13 hits, including two home runs, with three walks and four strikeouts in 13 13 innings. In 10 games with the Yankees last year, he was 3-0 (3.00). But a strained lower back limited him to 12 big-league games. A rehab stint was cut short after seven appearances and he was shut down for the season. An offseason biking accident left him with a broken left (non-throwing) collarbone. Hes healthy now, but feels he could have had a better showing in spring training.

My spring training, no, I couldnt have it better, but I was focused on other things, he said. And I live and learn. So I learn from that. Its not going to happen next year.

What was he focused on?

Showing the Red Sox that I was healthy, and working on the pitches, and not focus on numbers, he said. Maybe if I focus on numbers, I make the team. But I learn from that, from this spring training and its not going to happen next year.

I like his track record, said Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler. Hes been a very successful guy. He seems to be a real hard worker, very focused about what hes doing. Hes got a lot of ability. Hes proven it at the major league. So I expect him to be pretty successful at this level. Hopefully, we can enjoy him while we can.

Aceves will be opposed by Red Wings right-hander Anthony Swarzak, the Twins second-round pick in 2004.

The PawSox will have a club heavy with veterans and players with big-league experience, including 15 on the 24-man roster. That can only help Beyeler, he believes.

I hope it helps me a lot because we do have a lot of veteran leadership out there, Beyeler said. Im going to lean on those guys a lot to help me out, and batting coach Chili Davis and pitching coach Rich Sauveur and trainer Jon Jochim in the other room there to help these guys out.

The last thing I want to do is come in here and make guys uncomfortable and feel like theyre back in A ball again or something. I just want to stay out of the way and let them roll and let them do what they do here. Just get right into the realm of previous PawSox managers Torey Lovullo and Ron Johnson and the guys whove been here and keep things rolling. That, to me, is the best thing that can happen here.

Catcher Mike McKenry was acquired from Colorado for pitcher Daniel Turpen on March 29.

Very high-energy guy, Beyeler said. Blocks balls well. Above-average arm. Handles the pitching staff pretty good for a guy coming in that really doesnt know anybody. And swings the bat real good. Looks like hes a pretty strong kid. Seems to have a good idea of what hes doing. A pretty impressive kid.

Left-hander Felix Doubront, who was placed on the disabled list with March 31 with left forearm inflammation, remains in Fort Myers. Fla.

Outfielder Josh Reddick reported to McCoy Stadium Tuesday morning but was sick, with a possible strep infection, and was sent home. Driving to Pawtucket from Fort Myers, Reddick didnt feel well and stopped for medical attention.

Tip of the cap to Daniel Nava, who entertained onlookers before the PawSox workout Tuesday afternoon by borrowing a reporters tape recorder to interview his teammates. Have to admit, I wouldnt have thought to ask about singing with Enrique Iglesias (Jose Iglesias), hair care (Kyle Weiland), canoeing as an Olympic sport (Randy Williams, McKenry), or Fleetwood Mac vs. John Mayer (Aceves).

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

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.

How dominant has Craig Kimbrel been? The numbers are eye popping

How dominant has Craig Kimbrel been? The numbers are eye popping

Remember that infield hit by Jonathan Villar of the Brewers off Craig Kimbrel on May 11 in Milwaukee?

Don't worry, nobody does. That's the last hit off the Red Sox closer. That's right. One hit this month.

How dominant has Kimbrel been? Going into Saturday, right-handed hitters don't have a hit off him in their past 39 at-bats. Opponents are hitting .083 against him. Move the decimal point and 0.83 happens to be his season ERA, too, to go with 13 saves. 

Here's more via @SoxNotes:

Kimbrel, 28, has been one of baseball's best closers for years with the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres. His first year in Boston last season was solid with 31 saves and a 3.40 ERA, but his walks climbed (30 total and 5.1 per 9 innings, the second-highest totals of his career). He also struggled in non-save situations.

There's been no struggling lately. The last run Kimbrel gave up was a home run by Kendrys Morales of the Blue Jays in the ninth inning on April 20 in Toronto that tied the score at 1 in a game won by the Red Sox 4-1 in 10. Kimbrel got the win and his only blown save of the season.

His three-out save Friday night was his first outing without a strikeout since a one-out save April 23. That followed his four-strikeout inning Thursday night.