Sox' managerial choice will reveal level of trust in Cherington

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Sox' managerial choice will reveal level of trust in Cherington

Almost nine weeks after it began, the Red Sox managerial search is wheezing to a close.

Sometime before the end of the week -- but not Tuesday, despite a report to the contrary on Monday night -- the team expects to unveil its replacement for Terry Francona. That the two lone remaining candidates for the job are Bobby Valentine and Gene Lamont , each improbable finalists in his own way, is a somehow fiting conclusion to a bizarre process.

Baseball sources indicated that Toronto Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo has been eliminated from consideration. That much seemed already obvious when Lovullo was not invited to meet with ownership following his initial interview.

That leaves the Sox to choose between Lamont and Valentine, who beyond their ages (Valentine is 61 while Lamont will soon turn 65) and their major league experience (Valentine has managed 15 years in the big leagues; Lamont has 8 seasons under his belt) couldn't be more different.

Where Valentine is loquacious and highly opinionated, Lamont is resolved and unassuming. Where Valentine can be confrontational, Lamont is more likely to resolve issues quietly.

Initially, neither was on general manager Ben Cherington's short list of candidates for the position. That initial group included Sandy Alomar Jr., Mike Maddux, Pete Mackanin and Dale Sveum.

When Maddux ruled himself out of the Boston search, Cherington added Lovullo and Lamont. Of Lamont in particular, Cherington said he wanted to include someone with more major-league experience and Lamont got glowing reviews from a number of people throughout the game as an experienced hand in the dugout.

In retrospect, it may well be that Lamont was added as a concession to the owners, who voiced a desire to have candidates with more experience.

Of course, the owners already had a veteran manager of their own in mind -- Valentine -- though one that they weren't ready to acknowledge publicly.

The public perception has been that Valentine is the choice of both principal owner John Henry -- who has known Valentine for better than a decade -- and team president Larry Lucchino, while Lamont is the compromise choice of Cherington and the baseball operations staff.

If that's the case, the eventual hire will be revealing. If Valentine is the choice, it will signal that ownership took control of the managerial search and imposed their choice on Cherington.

Should Lamont be the hire, it would signal a willingness on Cherington's part to buck ownership's recommendation, and, in turn, a show of faith on by ownership that Cherington can be trusted to make such a decision, even if it's at odds with ownership's preference.

That alone marks a potentially fascinating subtext to a search process which has had more twists and unpredictable turns that anyone could have imagined when it began two months ago.

Robbie Ross Jr. is getting elbow checked out

Robbie Ross Jr. is getting elbow checked out

Red Sox reliever Robbie Ross Jr.'s tough 2017 has reached a potentially scary moment.

Expected to be the team's lead lefty out of the bullpen, Ross has twice been demoted and struggled in the majors. Now, he's on the disabled list at Triple-A Pawtucket with inflammation in his throwing elbow — a health situation that might explain why he wasn't pitching well in the big leagues.

The Red Sox expect to know more about Ross' situation later in the week.

Ross hasn't pitched in game for Pawtucket since he was most recently optioned. If the 27-year-old was indeed hurt in the majors, it's possible he could retroactivley wind up on the major league disabled list. Ross was demoted May 19, and is on the DL retroactive to May 25. 

Per BrooksBaseball.net, Ross sat at 93 mph with his fastball on May 12. He dropped down to 92 in the following appearance, and the next two outings were at 91 mph. He averaged 94 mph in 2016.

Ross had a 7.00 ERA in eight major league appearances this year, striking out nine and walking five in nine innings. He posted a 3.25 ERA in a 2016 season where he established himself as a key member of the 'pen.

Ross said he was shocked when he was demoted for the first time this year. 

Robinson Cano, Guillermo Heredia homer in Mariners' 5-0 win over Red Sox

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Robinson Cano, Guillermo Heredia homer in Mariners' 5-0 win over Red Sox

BOSTON (AP)  Christian Bergman rebounded from a miserable start with seven shutout innings and the Seattle Mariners halted Boston's season-high six-game winning streak with a 5-0 victory over the Red Sox on Sunday.

Robinson Cano hit a two-run homer and Guillermo Heredia a solo shot for the Mariners, who averted a three-game sweep with just their second win in nine games. Seattle was shut out the first two games.

Bergman (2-2) allowed four hits, walked two and struck out two. He got a lot of help from his infielders when they turned a double play in each of the first four innings.

Three relievers completed the combined five-hitter, with closer Edwin Diaz getting the final three outs despite two errors by infielders.

Bergman was tagged for 14 hits and 10 runs over four innings in a loss his previous start.

Rick Porcello (3-6) gave up 11 hits, but only two runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Seattle finished one off its club record for most double plays turned in a game.

After being shut out for the first 21 innings of the series, the Mariners moved ahead 1-0 in the fourth when Kyle Seager raced home from third after Porcello bounced a pitch that went over catcher Sandy Leon's right shoulder and onto the screen. Seager had doubled leading off and advanced on Danny Valencia's single.

Heredia homered over the Green Monster in the eighth and Cano sent his into the center-field bleachers an inning later.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, had another bullpen session Sunday because he wasn't happy with one a day earlier.

Red Sox: Manager John Farrell said 3B Pablo Sandoval, out since late April with a sprained right knee, will stay on his rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket to get his "timing going" with more at-bats.

ROSTER MOVES

Seattle sent Saturday's losing pitcher, RHP Rob Whalen, to Triple-A Tacoma and brought up RHP Ryne Harper from the same club.

The Red Sox also made moves with pitchers, sending Saturday's winner, lefty Brian Johnson, to Triple-A Pawtucket and promoting RHP Blaine Boyer for a day. Boyer will go back down Monday when ace David Price is activated.

Boyer made his Red Sox debut, retiring the only two batters he faced.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Sam Gaviglio (0-1, 1.38 ERA) is set to make his third major-league start when they open a two-game series Monday at Colorado. RHP Tyler Chatwood (4-6, 4.50) is scheduled for the Rockies.

Red Sox: LHP Price makes his season debut Monday in Chicago against the White Sox after being sidelined since early spring training with a strained left elbow.

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