Valentine on Miller: 'One of the MVP's of our bullpen'

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Valentine on Miller: 'One of the MVP's of our bullpen'

Bobby Valentine had high praise for reliever Andrew Miller, who has been particularly effective out of the bullpen.

Entering Monday's action, Miller was 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA, limiting opposing hitters to a .172 average. Since May 30, Miller has pitched to a 1.04 ERA, allowing just one earned runs over his last 12 outings, covering 8 23 innings.

Miller is averaging more than a strikeout per innings (20 in 19 innings of work).

Perhaps most impressive is that Miller has stranded 16 of 18 inherited runners --- second-best in the American League -- and retired 22-of-23 first batters faced.

"He's been one of the MVPs of our bullpen," said Valentine. "He's been able to be durable and consistently good. He's a presence now out of our bullpen, throwing 96 mph with a very good breaking ball. He's been effective because our Triple-A (coaches) did a fabulous job eliminating his windup and any other motion he had in his stretch. His efficiency in his delivery has allowed him to be very efficient in the strike zone."

Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

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Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.

The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.

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.