Boston Red Sox

Peverley could return 'sooner rather than later'

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Peverley could return 'sooner rather than later'

SAN JOSE, Calif. While Rich Peverley moved a lot closer to a return to the Bs lineup after taking some contact for the first time on Wednesday, the versatile winger wont be playing against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night.

Bruins coach Claude Julien ruled out Peverley for the first game of the three-game road trip through California, but said the winger is day-to-day while attempting to return from a sprained right knee. Julien also wouldnt rule out Peverley potentially returning at some point during the three games, and it does appear that the Sunday finale in Anaheim could become a chance to play the forward depending on what happens in the first two games of the trip.

Whether Peverley plays on the trip or not, it appears he should back in the lineup by the time the Bruins return to Boston next week and thats good news for a Black and Gold club looking to finish strong as they push for the playoffs.

Hes a day-to-day situation. We keep giving him more all the time-to-time. My prediction is that well be seeing him sooner rather than later, said Julien.

Thats not to say that well see him on this trip. If he plays then hell have progressed to that point. But we brought him on this trip to let him practice with the team, and see where he can get to.

Peverley skated with Benoit Pouliot, Chris Kelly and Brian Rolston as a part of the Bs red-hot third line at Wednesdays practice, and it would appear that would be his landing spot when he does jump back into the fray. It should be interesting to watch the urgency in Pouliots game in the next couple of games with the knowledge that Peverley could displace him in the postseason hes not firing on all cylinders.

More than anything else, Peverly's return will give Julien options with 10 games left in the regular season and the playoffs rapidly approaching. Peverley has missed 22 games with an assortment of lower body injuries and hasnt played a game since knocking knees with Habs defenseman Hal Gill on Feb. 15 at the Bell Centre.

Eduardo Rodriguez's delivery wasn't the same after knee injury, until recently

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Eduardo Rodriguez's delivery wasn't the same after knee injury, until recently

BALTIMORE — If you suspected Eduardo Rodriguez’s knee created a residual effect with his mechanics as he struggled in the second half, you were correct. 

It was here in Baltimore on June 1 that Eduardo Rodriguez hurt his right knee, suffering another subluxation, which he’s prone to. Once he came back — a month and a half later, after the All-Star Break — his performances didn’t match the competency he’d shown pre-injury.

Through the first nine starts back, Rodriguez had a 5.47 ERA. He appeared clearly outside of the playoff rotation picture.

The last three outings have left a different impression, and are a product of improved mechanics. The Red Sox feel Rodriguez is lifting  right leg, his lead leg, higher now.

“I think Eddy’s regained more confidence physically over his last three starts,” pitching coach Carl Willis said. “We’ve seen a better delivery. Really since he had come back the injury here, a little bit of abbreviated leg lift. He finally got a little more confidence in picking that knee up and getting a little more drive from his lower half. I think that’s made a huge difference. He’s using his changeup more which is also a huge difference, but I think that lower half has allowed him to do that.”

Rodriguez has a 2.55 September ERA. He has strikeout ability that could be appealing in a postseason setting, but he’s young and inexperienced compared to Rick Porcello and Doug Fister. The fact he’s had confidence issues with his delivery could factor into how the Sox decide their playoff rotation, but his upside and strikeout potential are undeniable.

Rodriguez had a knee subluxation in 2016 that affected his mechanics for a time as well.

Branch on reduced role vs. Saints: "Ask Bill"

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Branch on reduced role vs. Saints: "Ask Bill"

FOXBORO - If Alan Branch is worried about his spot with the Patriots, he isn’t acting that way. A notorious slow starter, Branch played just six snaps in Sunday’s win at New Orleans. And to hear him talk, it’s business as usual.

“It’s not like you can practice 3 technique on a store clerk,” said Branch late Wednesday afternoon. When informed that he probably could if he wanted, Branch smiled and noted “you’d probably get arrested for that.”

All kidding aside, it was stark to see Branch’s ample behind stapled to the bench. He earned a two-year contract this offseason, and his presence on the interior has been critical to the defense’s success. But after getting pushed around a bit too often in that opening night loss to the Chiefs, Branch spent a lot more time watching then playing. Did he know that he wasn’t a big part of the plan?

“That’s another question you gotta ask Bill, man” said Branch. “That’s not something I can talk about.”

Branch has - at times - come off as nonchalant about the game. Wins, losses, big plays, no plays, none of it seems to change his demeanor. Knowing that, I asked him if he was frustrated by his lack of playing time.

“I mean every player wants to be on the field so it is what it is,” he responded. 

Does he think that he’ll be more involved Sunday against the Texans?

“I don’t know what they plan to do with me,” he said. “i just need to go in there and keep my head to the grindstone and work.”

That may be Bill Belichick’s plan: sitting the player to motivate him. It would also seem to be potentially the last resort, and with someone who clearly marches to the beat of his own drum, it’s unclear how he’ll respond.