Boston Red Sox

Sox make little progress in closer search on Tuesday

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Sox make little progress in closer search on Tuesday

DALLAS -- While continuing to explore various avenues to address their closer vacancy, the Red Sox effort to replace Jonathan Papelbon seemed to stall some Tuesday, the second day of baseball's annual winter meetings.

Red Sox executives met with Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane late Tuesday afternoon, but made little progress in trade talks centered around A's closer Andrew Bailey, who is being shopped by the ever-cost-conscious A's.

According to a source, the A's believe that there are other organizations whose prospect inventory is more attractive than the Red Sox.

The Sox, meanwhile, were careful not to send any hint of desperation in the trade talks, giving the impression that they have other options to consider for closer.

"We're very fluid right now," said a Red Sox source. "We don't have anything close (when it comes to making a deal)."

Bailey, who was the American League Rookie of the Year in 2008, is 27, relatively affordable and is under control for the next three seasons, making him extremely attractive to other clubs.

The A's have received interest from a handful of teams on Bailey, including some who have established closers. Those teams could presumably either deal their current closers, or move their current closer into the starting rotation, as the Texas Rangers recently did with Neftali Feliz.

Oakland isn't necessarily seeking major league-ready talent. The A's are hopeful of a resolution to their ballpark mess, eying a move to the San Jose area for 2015. As such, Beane wants to stockpile young players who will either be ready or affordable -- or both -- by the time the A's move.

At least two other clubs are shopping relievers. Seattle is willing to move Brandon League, who made the All-Star team last year, But League is eligible for free agency after 2012, making it highly unlikely that the Sox would surrender a player who they can't control for more than one season.

The Colorado Rockies, meanwhile, continue to listen to offers for Huston Street, who once closed for the A's but has been used in more of a set-up role the last two seasons.

A Rockies official, however, said Tuesday night that the Red Sox weren't players for Street.

A number of free agent closers remain on the market, of course, including Brad Lidge, Francisco Cordero, and Francisco Rodriguez.

Red Sox move closer to AL East title with 5-0 win over Reds

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Red Sox move closer to AL East title with 5-0 win over Reds

CINCINNATI - Mitch Moreland ended his long slump with a three-run homer, Eduardo Rodriguez pitched three-hit ball into the eighth inning, and the Boston Red Sox took another step toward a second straight AL East title, beating the Cincinnati Reds 5-0 on Saturday.

Boston has won 13 of 16, holding off the Yankees as it tries to win back-to-back East titles for the first time since divisional realignment in 1969. The Red Sox have their best record of the season at 90-64, reaching 90 wins for the second year in a row.

They remain four games in front of the Yankees, who beat Toronto 5-1.

Moreland was in an 0-for-19 slump when he connected off Robert Stephenson (5-6) in the sixth inning, his 20th homer of the season but only his second in September. The Red Sox are last in the AL with 160 homers.

Rodriguez (6-6) has given up two or fewer earned runs in each of his last four starts, the best stretch of his career. The left-hander gave up three singles and two walks in 7 2/3 innings, his longest outing since May 21.

The Red Sox have shutout victories in three of their last four games, including two at Baltimore. They are 7-1 on a trip that ends Sunday. Boston wraps up the regular season at Fenway Park with three games against Toronto and four against Houston.

Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who grew up in suburban Madeira and had hundreds of relatives and friends in the stands for the series, singled home a run in the seventh at the ballpark where he regularly attended games as a youth.

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Betts (foot), Pedroia (knee) out of Red Sox lineup

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Betts (foot), Pedroia (knee) out of Red Sox lineup

Mookie Betts, who fouled a ball off his left foot Friday night, and Dustin Pedroia, who has been bothered by a knee injury almost all season, were out of the Red Sox lineup Saturday against the Reds in Cincinnati.

Chris Young started in right field for Betts and Brock Holt at second base for Pedroia.

Betts was scratched from the original lineup but was a late scratch. Pedroia, who had been getting intermittent days off to rest his knee was originally expected to play but needed treatement and hopes to be able to play Sunday, according to Scott Lauber of ESPN. 

Manager John Farrell told reporters, including Christopher Smith of MassLive.com, that Betts "was hindered by it last night in the second half of that game. [He] woke up a little bit more sore. Went through treatment. But felt it was best to give him a day to fully recover and get some additional treatment."

The manager added that Betts was available to pinch hit Saturday and did not have X-rays, but that step could be taken if there's no improvement in the next 24 hours.