Ross swinging hot bat after two homers on Sunday

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Ross swinging hot bat after two homers on Sunday

BOSTON Cody Ross powered the Red Sox offense on the way to a 9-4 win over the Braves at Fenway Park Sunday afternoon.

Ross went 2-for-4 with two home runs, two runs scored, and five RBI. It was his second multi-home run game of the season, along with April 23 at Minnesota. He now has 11 home runs this season, just three behind his 2011 total. The five RBI are a season high and matches the second-highest total of his career. It is the most hes collected since June 2, 2009, with the Marlins against the Brewers.

The win also gave the Sox a second win in the three-game series. They have won 11 of their last 15 series since May 10, with three losses and a tie.

Ross first home run a three-run blast into the Monster seats in the fourth inning, scoring Dustin Pedroia and Will Middlebrooks, who had both walked put the Sox on the scoreboard for the first time in the game. Adrian Gonzalez, the next batter, followed Ross with a solo shot. It was the third time this season and the first time since Middlebrooks and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the fourth inning on May 19 at Philadelphia the Sox have hit back-to-back home runs.

The Braves cut the lead to one run in the top of the fifth.

But the Sox answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning, capped by Ross two-run home run, scoring Daniel Nava.

Ross has five home runs in his last eight games.

Im feeling good, said Ross, who is hitting .277. The main thing is just getting out there and contributing and feeling like part of the team again. It was a big series for us, this series. Weve been playing well lately. Today was a good example of a good team win. We kept adding on runs and they kept fighting, trying to get back into it and we kept tacking runs on and our pitchers shut them down. Just a good way to end the series.

Since returning from the disabled list on June 19 after missing 27 games with a fracture of the navicular bone in his left foot, Ross is 7-for-22 (.318) with three doubles, three home runs, and 10 RBI in six games.

He appeared in two rehab games with Triple-A Pawtucket before being activated.

Ive been on the DL enough times where I know that sometimes you go for too long you can find yourself in a funk, he said. Pitchings different in Triple-A than it is here. Its still the same game, but I felt like I was seeing the ball well enough where I could tell them that I was ready to go. My foot felt, obviously, fine and its just nice to start off on the right foot . No pun intended.

Ross reached double-digit home runs in his 43rd game, the second-fastest in a season after 41 games with Florida in 2008. He has at least 10 home runs in a season for the seventh time in his career, all since 2006. He is tied with Carl Crawford for the second-most seasons among all major leaguers hitting 10 or more home runs behind David Ortizs 13.

He definitely gives options and its a threat every time he has a bat in his hands, said manager Bobby Valentine. He feels healthy, obviously. And, two home runs, that works for me any day.

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Infielder Marco Hernandez may make the Red Sox roster after all.

Fellow infielder Josh Rutledge, the presumptive 25th man on the Red Sox, suffered a left hamstring strain on Tuesday against the Pirates, according to reporters in Florida, including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.

If Rutledge isn’t ready for opening day, Hernandez, a left-handed hitter, may have his crack. 

The question is whether the Sox would be comfortable without a right-handed bat to complement both Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland on the corners. Rutledge was going to give the Sox that right-handed look they sought. (When Hanley Ramirez's shoulder will be healthy enough to play first base is unclear, but isn't expected to be too long.)

Neither Rutledge nor Hernandez has played first base in the majors or minors.

A big-league rookie last year, Hernandez has done decently against lefties at the upper levels of the minors, hitting .328 vs. them at Triple-A Pawtucket last season in 67 at-bats. He hit .315 in 54 at-bats at Pawtucket, with a .318 average against them that season in 88 at-bats for Double-A Portland.

Rutledge is a Rule 5 draft pick who has to remain on the major league 25-man roster the whole season or the Sox risk losing him. Placement on the disabled list doesn’t affect his status unless he’s on the disabled list for a very lengthy time.

An alternative option is Steve Selsky, who has first-base experience, but he's already been optioned.

Farrell defends Sox' shoulder program, but he first raised the issue

Farrell defends Sox' shoulder program, but he first raised the issue

Red Sox manager John Farrell didn’t scream “fake news" on Tuesday,  but he might as well have.

The only problem is he seems to be forgetting his own words, and his reliever’s.

Righty Tyler Thornburg is starting his Red Sox career on the disabled list because of a shoulder impingement. 

Another Dave Dombrowski pitching acquisition, another trip to the disabled list. Ho hum.

But the reason Thornburg is hurt, Farrell said, has nothing to do with the Red Sox’ shoulder program -- the same program Farrell referenced when talking about Thornburg earlier this month.

“There’s been a lot written targeting our shoulder program here,” Farrell told reporters on Tuesday, including the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. “I would discount that completely. He came into camp, he was throwing the ball extremely well, makes two appearances. They were two lengthy innings in which inflammation flared up to the point of shutting him down. But in the early work in spring training, he was throwing the ball outstanding. So to suggest that his situation or his symptoms are now the result of our shoulder program, that’s false.”

Let’s go back to March 10, when Farrell was asked in his usual pregame session with reporters about Thornburg’s status.

"He is throwing long-toss out to 120 feet today," Farrell said that day. “He’s also been going through a strength and conditioning phase, arm-wise. What we encounter with guys coming from other organizations, and whether it's Rick [Porcello], David [Price], guys that come in, and they go through our shoulder maintenance program, there's a period of adaptation they go through, and Tyler’s going through that right now. We're also going to get him on the mound and get some fundamental work with his delivery and just timing, and that's soon to come in the coming days. Right now it's long toss out to 120 feet.”

So Farrell volunteered, after Thornburg was taken out of game action, that the shoulder program appeared involved. 

Maybe that turned out not to be the case. But Farrell's the one who put this idea out there.

On March 11, Farrell was asked to elaborate about other pitchers who needed adjusting to how the Red Sox do their shoulder program.

“Rick Porcello is an example of that. Joe Kelly,” Farrell said. “And that's not to say that our program is the end-all, be-all, or the model for which everyone should be compared. That's just to say that what we do here might be a little more in-depth based on a conversation with the pitchers, that what they've experienced and what we ask them to do here. And large in part, it's with manual resistance movements on the training table. These are things that are not maybe administered elsewhere, so the body goes through some adaptation to get to that point. 

“So, in other words, a pitcher that might come in here previously, he pitched, he’s got recovery time and he goes and pitches again. There's a lot of work and exercise in between the outings that they may feel a little fatigued early on. But once they get those patterns, and that consistent work, the body adapts to it and their recovery times become much shorter. And it's one of the reasons we've had so much success keeping pitchers healthy and on the field.”

Except that Kelly has had a shoulder impingement in his time with the Red Sox, last April, and so too now does Thornburg.

In quotes that appeared in a March 12 story, Thornburg himself told the Herald’s Michael Silverman that he didn’t understand the Red Sox throwing program.

Thornburg said that after the December trade, he was sent a list of exercises from the training staff. The message he did not receive was that all of the exercises were to be performed daily.

“I kind of figured that this is a list of the exercises they incorporated, I didn’t think this is what they do all in one day,” said Thornburg. “I thought, ‘here’s a list of exercises, learn them, pick five or six of them,’ because that was pretty much what we did in Milwaukee.”

But according to Farrell, Thornburg’s current state has nothing to do with the program -- the same one Farrell himself cited when directly asked about Thornburg before.

Maybe the program was the wrong thing to point to originally. But Farrell did point to it.

"This is all still in line with the shoulder fatigue, the shoudler impingement and the subsequent inflammation that he's dealing with. That’s the best I can tell you at this point," Farrell said Tuesday. "Anytime a player, and we've had a number of players come in, when you come into a new organization, there's a period where guys adapt. Could it have been different from what he's done in the past? Sure. But to say it's the root cause, that’s a little false. That’s a lot false, and very short-sighted."

Hey, he started it.

Thornburg is not to throw for a week before a re-evaluation.