Pedroia still searching for timing

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Pedroia still searching for timing

BOSTON Since returning to the lineup on Tuesday, after missing six games because of a torn adductor muscle in his right thumb, Dustin Pedroia has gone 2-for-20 with a run scored, two RBI, two walks and seven strikeouts. His average has dropped from .295 to .277 in that span.

His sixth-inning single Friday night against Stephen Strasburg snapped an 0-for-14 slide.

Saturday, he went 1-for-4 with a sixth-inning single against Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez.

Pedroia came to the plate with two outs and the Red Sox rallying in the seventh -- with two runs in already in the inning, now down by two runs, having knocked Gonzalez out of the game.

But Pedroia popped out to first baseman Adam LaRoche in foul territory to end the rally.

"He's got great effort, and I think they're pitching him really tough, said manager Bobby Valentine. He hasn't got a lot of great pitches to hit. And the ones that he's gotten, his timing's just been off a little."

Pedroia insists hes feeling better at the plate, seconding his managers opinion that he just needs to work on getting his timing back.

I feel alright, Pedroia said. Timings still a little off. A little late on the heater and early on off-speed pitches. But Ill have one at-bat where it clicks and take off.

His timing being off is just a factor of the time he had off, he said.

Yeah, thats it, he said. The past few days Ive hit the ball actually pretty good. Today I really didnt, but the last few days. But I got to start finding a way to get on base and help us score runs.

The 4-2 loss to the Nationals on Saturday was the Sox fifth in the last six games, dropping them under .500, at 29-30, for the first time since May 27. Its not a team slump, Pedroia said, just a matter of facing good pitching.

The last two guys Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg were pretty darn good, he said. So we got to come out and find a way to have better at-bats and score runs for our guy.

He insists hes fine physically, the brace hes been wearing is not hindering him, and the thumb is fine.

Ill be alright, he said. Ill get hits, dont worry.

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.”

Boston pitchers strike out 14, but Red Sox still fall to Rays, 7-3

Boston pitchers strike out 14, but Red Sox still fall to Rays, 7-3

The appearance of Tampa Bay Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough almost got the Boston Red Sox back in their spring training exhibition game. The Sox managed to score all three of their runs against the 25-year-old in their 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Sunday.

But the Rays, who scored runs in five different innings, managed to widen their lead in the eighth inning by beating up on Sox lefty Luis Isla, a 24-year-old who spent last season with Portland and Pawtucket. In the eighth, Rays' Joe McCarthy homered and Luke Maile managed an RBI single, which cappped off the scoring in the contest. Sox starter Hector Velazquez allowed three hits and an earned run in his two innnings. The 28-year-old, who spent 2016 in the Mexican League, still managed to amass four strikeouts.

"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez told RedSox.com through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away, and I was able to bear down."

Despite allowing two homers, Boston pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

With the exception of the Sox' inning against Yarbrough, Boston's veterans and prospects struggled mighltily against the Rays pitching staff. Chris Archer started for Tampa, and set the tone in the first two innings, where he threw two strikeouts, one walk and allowed one hit and no runs. Andrew Benintendi (0-for-3), Sam Travis (0-for-2) and Bryce Brentz (0-for-3) went hitless on the day. Travis, however, reached base on balls.

"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said, via the Red Sox' team website. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."

Marco Hernandez's triple got the Sox' eighth-inning off to a strong start, and singles from Matt Dominguez, Deven Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Cole Sturgeon followed. The Sox' eighth inning scoring ended after Castillo got thrown out by left fielder McCarthy at third. Six Red Sox finished with one-hit outings, including Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.

The Sox will next host the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.