Red Sox notes: Beckett injures knee

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Red Sox notes: Beckett injures knee

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
BOSTON -- With Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester already sidelined, the Red Sox watched another starting pitcher leave the mound early with an injury.

Fortunately for them, Josh Becketts only suffered a mild hyperextended left knee.

Its a little tender, Beckett said following the Red Sox 10-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles. Its not too bad though. I think its going to be fine.

Beckett (8-3, 2.27 ERA) left the game following the fifth inning (7H, 3ER, 2BB, 3SO) for precautionary reasons, Terry Francona said, after pitching on a rain-soaked mound, which he says led to the injury.

You leave the tarp on there when its raining and stuff and that dirt just soaks up all that moisture, Beckett explained. You get the top soil on there and then as the game goes on, you start digging that out and the moistures pretty stuck down in there.

Beckett does not expect this injury to affect his availability for the MLB All-Star Game next week. He suffered the same injury playing basketball when he was younger and believes he will be ready to pitch again soon.

Ive done this before, he said. It scared me when it first happened because it literally feels like bone on bone when you go too far and straightening it out is a little bit of an issue but he thinks Ill be fine in a couple days.

The Red Sox are relieved to hear the positive prognosis on Beckett, especially after another solid outing.

He threw all strikes, which was tremendous, said Francona. He slipped on the mound, he hyperextended his knee a little bit, mild, and his stability is fine. We hopefully dodged a little bit of a bullet there. We saw him do that in Spring Training a few years back and again, we got him out strictly for precautionary reasons.

Kevin Youkilis has been named to the American League All-Star Team for the third time in his career, replacing Alex Rodriguez. Since Rodriguez was voted in by the fans, Youkilis was selected by AL All-Star Manager Ron Washington in conjunction with Major League Baseball. Youkilis is batting .275 this season with 12 homeruns and 59 RBIs.

The Boston Red Sox hadnt seen much of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Zach Britton before.

Of their starters, only six had faced him in the past -- Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez had three career at-bats against Britton while Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, and Jason Vartitek had two apiece.

After only one inning, it was evident Britton hadnt seen much of the Red Sox, either.

The Red Sox scored eight runs in the first off the left-handed pitcher, recording seven hits and sent 13 batters to the plate. David Ortiz hit his 19th homerun of the season during the inning and the Red Sox recorded eight runs in an inning for the first time since August 12, 2008.

That was tremendous. Those things don't happen very often, said Francona. It's a nice way to play the game. We got a bunch of hits, we extended the inning, we kept after them, and makes a long night for them. It's happened to us, it's not fun, it's a lot better when you're on the offensive side.

Said Beckett of the run support, It was great. Youve just got to remember to still pitch. You still got to remember that youve got guys playing behind you and you just cant fall in love with one thing. One of the jokes is all we need is 12 runs and airtight defense and everything else will take care everything else. That was kind of the case tonight.

Adrian Gonzalez (126 hits) passed Jose Reyes (124 hits) for the Major League lead in hits. Gonzalezs hit total at this point are the most in Red Sox history before the All-Star Break.

Clay Buchholz, onthe DL since June 17 with a lower back strain, expects to throw Sundaybefore the All-Star break.

Then well send him homebecause we dont want him throwing on his own too much withoutsupervision , said Francona. Then when we get back hopefully we canstart getting him on that throwing program and ramp him up a littlebit. Again, its all going to be according to how hefeels.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA

Ramirez bothered by right shoulder more than last year

Ramirez bothered by right shoulder more than last year

BOSTON — Hanley Ramirez on Wednesday afternoon acknowledged his shoulders are bothering him more this year than last year.

In specific, it’s the right (throwing) shoulder that’s bothersome, he said to CSNNE, noting it just doesn’t move as he wants it to — rotating his arm as he spoke. Asked how that happened, how it worsened, he said it was in spring training that he thinks he pushed it too hard.

On the positive side, Ramirez said his shoulders are improving.

"Honestly, yeah, it's feeling better now," Ramirez told a group of reporters. "It's started feeling better now than early in the year. I can use the top hand and drop a little bit the head of the bat. I was losing that. I was talking to [hitting coaches Chili Davis and Victor Rodriguez] about that. I've got to be able to use that top hand. Like Jim Rice."

Ramirez, who seems to always want to be playful in his interactions with the media, appeared surprised to learn that he was not hitting lefties well so far this year. He’s 5-for-35 against them.

Ramirez was out the lineup for a third straight game Wednesday, but took batting practice on the field and also took grounders at first base. As batting practice ended, he spoke to a group of reporters coming off the field.

"What am I hitting against lefties right now?” Ramirez asked in a response to a question about how he was feeling vs. southpaws.

It was low, he was told. He waited while a reporter used his phone to look up the specifics for him.

“Is it really? So it’s not me. I've got to get going because I crush lefties. It can't happen,” Ramirez said in the group. "You're kidding me. It took you long enough to tell me that. I didn't know that for real. So OK, after this conversation, let's see what's going to happen now. I'll say it. Yeah. Bring it. OK? I didn't know, I swear. Interesting. Thank you.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell wasn’t sure if Ramirez’s struggles vs. lefties was related to his shoulders. 

“Because if there’s the need or the tendency for Hanley to start his swing early because he might not feel as loose or reactive, as he might otherwise, if a left-hander’s going to sink the ball away from him or keep the ball on the outside of the plate and that early commitment might cause you to pull off some pitches, that’s one possibility,” Farrell said. “But I can’t say that’s the absolute sole reason.”

The Sox still believe Ramirez is healthy enough to contribute well.

“Without being in his body, and knowing what he’s feeling, you know, if you watch the number of hours he puts in for the shoulder maintenance, that’s real,” Farrell said. “All we can evaluate is his feedback and how he swings the bat with either the plate coverage or the aggressiveness and the ability to impact the baseball. And there has been stretches of that. I think he would be the first to admit, would like for it to be more consistent.”

Farrell was asked a bunch of questions about Ramirez on Wednesday afternoon in the usual pre-game press conference, including whether he’s difficult to manage. If that’s the case — and it sure seems so —  Farrell did not let on.

"With individuals you take the added time needed to sit down and talk things through and get a sense of where each individual player is," Farrell said. "I wouldn’t say Hanley is different than other guys in that clubhouse."

Ramirez did very well in the second half last year and was optimistic.

“It's coming along,” he said. “I think second half's coming and I'm ready for that. ... Just one click and you go from there. Like I said, I'm not going to stop working. I'm going to get hot.”

Drellich: Pomeranz lessens heat on Dombrowski's trade history

Drellich: Pomeranz lessens heat on Dombrowski's trade history

BOSTON — Drew Pomeranz is helping out Dave Dombrowski’s balance sheet in Boston.

The Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel trades have been awesome — beyond awesome, even. The Tyler Thornburg deal looks like a disaster that, maybe someday, Dombrowski will acknowledge rather than sidestep. The Carson Smith deal has produced, if nothing else, no gain. The Fernando Abad deal has not hurt the Sox, and he’s had some decent moments.

But the Pomeranz trade with the Padres, for just top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza, stood as the most controversial of Dealer Dave’s moves until the past couple months. Now, the Cult of Travis Shaw has slowly made folks forget about Espinoza and the complicated set of circumstances that surrounded that trade.

“Rescind” is something you’re hearing less and less. 

It’s remarkable what a 2.70 ERA in a 40-inning, seven-start stretch can do. Pomeranz is looking like a lot shinier these days, particularly after Tuesday night, when he came back out despite a rain delay of more than an hour in a 9-2 win over the Twins.

From the day that 40-inning stretch began, May 25, through Tuesday, only four qualified starters posted a better ERA in the American League: Corey Kluber (1.29), Jason Vargas (2.27), Jordan Montgomery (2.52) and Mike Pelfrey (2.64).

For comparison: Chris Sale is 10th in that stretch, at 3.54. Rick Porcello has 6.08 ERA in the same time.

Realistically, where the Sox stood last season, they needed Pomeranz. He was healthy enough to throw. That’s the reality everyone who wanted the deal undone always undersold: the back of the rotation was crumbling. 

But that was just one layer of the deal.

The Padres did not provide as much medical information as they should have, and the Sox stuck with Pomeranz despite the opportunity to look elsewhere.

Espinoza hasn’t pitched for a Padres minor league affiliate yet this season. He’s playing catch from flat ground as he comes back from a forearm injury, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported recently. 

Trades, to this observer, are typically best evaluated by reviewing the process behind them — which is to say, by looking back at the information was available at the time the deal was made. And at the time, it was known that the Sox were paying for Pomeranz beyond just last season's second half. They were paying for a controllable arm who could help out the rotation this year too.

Dombrowski may well have acquired Pomeranz at his peak value, which is unsurprising. But what mattered most was whether the team believed Pomeranz could contribute effectively beyond 2016. That, once they had all the health information, whether they properly evaluated what it would mean for his future.

It looked bad when Pomeranz started the season on the disabled list. He had a stem-cell injection in his forearm in the winter, too. There wasn’t much to hang your hat on at the start of April. 

Realistically, Pomeranz probably isn’t 100 percent right now. Even within the relative world of pro baseball — where no one is ever 100 percent — Pomeranz is probably further from it than most. 

But he's powered through. Pomeranz’s attitude might actually fit Boston better than most realize. He also is, whether people want to acknowledge it or not, a pitcher with a high ceiling in terms of ability (if not innings).

He also is, whether people want to acknowledge it or not, a pitcher with a high ceiling in terms of ability (if not innings).

How Pomeranz holds up is to be seen. But the team’s judgment that he would have value beyond last season, a value worth surrendering Espinoza for, is looking better and better.