Red Sox notes: Ellsbury scratched; lineup shuffled

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Red Sox notes: Ellsbury scratched; lineup shuffled

BOSTON Jacoby Ellsbury was in the original lineup the Red Sox posted, in his customary lead-off spot, playing center field. But, soon after that manager Bobby Valentine posted a new lineup with Ellsbury scratched and Ryan Kalish taking his place.

Valentine said Ellsbury is sitting out with a leg ailment.

Im just being safe with Jacoby, Valentine said. He has a very little situation that he wanted to play through and with the day game tomorrow I vetoed it. Ryans healthy, ready to go.

Its a leg issue, but its not an issue, but it could become an issue. Now that hes not playing, its an issue.

Kalish has led off three times previously, all in 2010. He is 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia is back with the team after missing Friday with what Valentine had thought was an ear infection. Actually, it was food poisoning.

Saltalamacchia is batting sixth, serving as the designated hitter.

He said he felt really good when he woke up this morning, Valentine said. Came here and lifted some weights and got it out of his system.

Third baseman Will Middlebrooks is not in the starting lineup. Its just a day off, he said, and not health related.

Its OK, Middlebrooks said. Just a day off. I want to play but its a long season, so take em when I can get em.

I wanted to get him a day off two days ago. He talked me out of it and I said OK well go through the left-hander Brian Duensing, Thursday, Valentine said. We all need days off and hes out working every day early. Hes doing great.

Of Middlebrooks' diving grab on Brian Doziers pop foul near the third base dugout on a bunt attempt for the first out in the 10th inning with a runner on second, Valentine said:

He wanted it, didn't he? He showed the effort that he has burning in the belly every night. Very big play at a big time in the game. Too bad it didn't result in a win.

Valentine has seen Middlebrooks defense improving.

I think that a lot of early work and also more time, his experience has made him a real improved third baseman., Valentine said. In particular his backhand.

Valentine said David Ortiz, on the disabled list since July 17 with a strained right Achilles tendon, is progressing. Ortiz did a pregame workout and hes feeling better, but there is still no schedule for a return to the lineup.

Left-hander Franklin Morales is scheduled to start Sunday against the Twins (in place of Josh Beckett, who left his Tuesday start against the Tigers with a back spasm with two outs in the third inning). This will be Morales sixth start of the season, first since July 13 in Tampa Bay.

It will be his first career start against the Twins. In four relief appearances, spanning 3 23 innings, he has allowed three runs. All the runs he allowed were prior to joining the Sox in May 2010. Since then, he has pitched two scoreless innings over three games against Minnesota.

Hes pitched very well for us the majority of times hes been on the mound, as a starter, reliever, Valentine said. Im expecting for him to be healthy, sound, aggressive, pound the strike zone, use his three pitches and help us win a game.

Depending on Becketts health, Morales will likely return to the bullpen after Sunday.

I dont plan on going with six pitchers all year, Valentine said. So well see.

On left-hander Felix Doubront's outing against the twins Friday, in which he went five innings, giving up five runs on eight this and four walks with two strikeouts, Valentine said:

Felix Doubront is a first-year starter in the American League, in the American League East in Boston, Massachusetts. We want to look at a perfect finished product and a guy whos doing an outstanding job. Im not looking at perfection. I've seen a great deal of excellence. I love the excellence that I see and I think we can build on that.

Moreland, Travis homer to lead Red Sox past Northeastern 9-6 in opener

Moreland, Travis homer to lead Red Sox past Northeastern 9-6 in opener

Mitch Moreland and Sam Travis hit three-run homers and left-hander Brian Johnson started and pitched two scoreless innings to help the Red Sox win their spring training opener, 9-6, over Northeastern University on Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Johnson, who made one spot start in his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2015 but then was derailed by injuries and anxiety issues last season, struck out three and walked one Thursday. He's expected to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 5-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 15 starts in 2016.

Moreland, the left-handed hitting first baseman signed to a one-year deal after spending his first seven seasons with the Texas Rangers, and Travis, a right-handed hitting first base prospect coming back from knee surgery last season, each hit three-run homers in a six-run third inning.

Pablo Sandoval, attempting to reclaim the third-base job after missing nearly all of last season after surgery on his left shoulder, went 1-for-2 with a double. 

The Red Sox open Grapefruit League play Friday afternoon when they host the New York Mets at JetBlue Park. 

Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

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Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

CSN baseball analyst Lou Merloni sits down with Pedro Martinez and Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis to discuss one of Pedro's greatest games. 

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On September 10, 1999 at the height of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, Pedro Martinez struck out 17 Yankees in a complete game victory, with the only hit he allowed being a home run to Chili Davis. The two men recall that memorable night in the Bronx, and discuss the state of pitching in 2017.