Notes: Lackey decent, Ellsbury still hitting

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Notes: Lackey decent, Ellsbury still hitting

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
Boston -- John Lackey took the loss as the Sox fell to the Rays, 4-0, Wednesday afternoon at Fenway Park, snapping a six-game win streak over his seven previous starts. He went 6 23 innings, giving up four runs, three earned, on six hits and three walks, with seven strikeouts, a wild pitch and two hit batters. He also tied a season high with two home runs.

It was his eighth quality start in 21 outings this season. He has held opponents to three runs or fewer in six of his last eight starts since July 9, going 6-1 with a 3.93 ERA in that stretch.

Hes been giving us about the same every time out, Francona said. He gives up the last run, which is the fourth run, but they kind of one-runned him to death. But on a lot of nights thats plenty good enough for us to win. Good velocity coming out of the chute today.

The two hit batters give him 16 total this season, tied for fifth-highest ever by a Sox pitcher in one season. He also threw a season-high 125 pitches, the second highest total of his career, after 131 pitches against the Rangers one Aug. 9, 2009, while with the Angels.

Jacoby Ellsburys triple leading off the sixth inning, landed in the triangle in deep center field, bouncing around before Rays' center fielder B.J. Upton could retrieve it. Ellsbury had thoughts of an inside-the-park home run, but third base coach Tim Bogar held him at third.

I had my back turned, Ellsbury said. Bogies my eyes in that situation. So, obviously if hes going to send me hes going to do it when Im halfway between second and third. But its definitely a hard decision.

It was his third triple of the season.

His third-inning steal of second base gave him 32 for the season, and 168 in his career, tying him with Carl Yastrzemski for third on the Sox all-time list. Only Harry Hooper (300) and Tris Speaker (267) have more stolen bases with the Sox.

Ellsbury had an extra-base hit in all three games of the series, the first time he has had an extra-base hit in three straight home games. He leads the Sox with 25 extra-base hits, 10 home runs and 38 RBI since June 30.

Alfredo Aceves struck out the side in the eighth inning, the first time with the Red Sox and third time in his career he has done so.

Gonzalez has been feeling a little beat up, Francona implied. He said a neck issue, which has nagged Gonzalez, may be affecting the first baseman's power at the plate.

"I think he still feels it, but I think about every player in the league right now is probably not perfect," Francona said. "Thats just the way it is, especially guys that play every inning of every day. It may have cut into his power a little bit but you play and you continue to play. If theres ever a chance when we can give them a couple of days off wed probably do it. Probably not a good time to do it right now."

While Gonzalez is batting .281, going 16-for-57 in 15 games this month, he has just four extra-base hits, all doubles. He has not hit a home run since July 30 in Chicago, his only homer since the All-Star break. He has just seven doubles since then.

J.D. Drew, on the DL since July 20 with a left shoulder impingement, will travel with the team to Kansas City. He has been taking batting practice in the cage, but has not progressed to on-field BP. He is expected to do so in Kansas City. After that he will be reevaluated before being sent on a rehab assignment, which will be determined by the medical staff, Francona said.

Left-hander Rich Hill, who had Tommy John surgery in June, will stay in Boston to continue his rehab and meet up with the team in Texas.

Left-hander Andrew Miller is scheduled to start Fridays game in KC. He has not since July 31 against the White Sox in Chicago and has pitched just three innings since then, 2 23 innings against the Indian s on Aug. 4 and a third of an inning on Aug. 10. Francona said Miller will be monitored in his outing.

Well certainly keep an eye on him, Francona said. There's certainly been enough time in between where . . . we keep an eye on him. Hes going to throw an extended side today. Hes thrown, warmed up a lot. Hasnt necessarily been in games but it shouldnt get in the way. I think what happens is say he throws 85-90-95 pitches, I just think you come out of that start a little more sore than normal . . . or stiff. Thats probably a better word.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.

White Sox suspend Chris Sale over uniform flap

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White Sox suspend Chris Sale over uniform flap

CHICAGO - The Chicago White Sox were set to wear throwback uniforms. Chris Sale had other ideas.

The White Sox suspended their ace five days without pay for destroying collared throwback uniforms the team was scheduled to wear.

The team announced the punishment on Sunday after Sale was scratched from his scheduled start and sent home the previous night.

The suspension comes to $250,000 of his $9.15 million salary. He was also fined about $12,700 - the cost of the destroyed jerseys - according to a person familiar with the penalty. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.

"Obviously we're all extremely disappointed that we have to deal with this issue at this time both from the standpoint of the club as well as Chris' perspective," general manager Rick Hahn said. "It's unfortunate that it has become this level of an issue and potential distraction taking away from what we're trying to accomplish on the field."

Sale was not expected at the ballpark on Sunday. He is eligible to return Thursday against the crosstown Cubs at Wrigley Field, though Hahn would not say if the left-hander would start that game.

The Major League Baseball Players Association declined comment, spokesman Greg Bouris said. Sale could ask the union to file a grievance.

FanRag Sports first reported Sale was protesting the 1976-style jerseys, which were navy and sported unusual collars on a hot and humid night.

Sale then cut up an unknown number of jerseys before the game and was told to leave the stadium. With not enough usable 1976 jerseys available, the White Sox wore white throwback uniforms from the 1983 season.

The incident comes with the White Sox in a tailspin after a 23-10 start and Sale's name circulating in trade rumors.

"The actions or behaviors of the last 24 hours does not change in any aspect, any respect, our belief that Chris Sale can help this club win a championship and win multiple championships," Hahn said. "It does not move the needle one iota in terms of his value to this club, his value to any other club that may be interested in his services or the likelihood of him being moved or kept whatsoever. None of that stuff is impacted at all by these events."

The incident does raise some questions in general about throwback uniforms, how players feel about them and whether they should be forced to wear jerseys that aren't comfortable - particularly starting pitchers.

"If I'm playing with Chris Sale I want him to pitch," Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez said. "If he wants to play with no shirt, we play with no shirt. I just want him to pitch."

New York Yankees pitcher Chasen Shreve said: "Pitchers like their stuff. Me, it doesn't bother me, but for him, obviously it does. It's crazy. I don't think I'm that bad."

White Sox pitcher James Shields wouldn't comment on whether players should be made to wear throwback jerseys. But he did say: "I don't really mind the throwbacks. I haven't had any issues with that."

Manager Robin Ventura said players occasionally wearing uniforms they don't like comes with the job.

"But you wear it," he said. "If you want to rip it after, you can rip it up after. I've seen guys rip it up after."

Hahn said throwback uniforms the White Sox wore last season were a bit baggy so the team took measurements in spring training so they would fit the players better. He also mentioned the money the uniforms generate.

"Part of the element of being in position to win a championship is the revenue side of the operation and respect for their reasonable requests to increase revenue," Hahn said.

This wasn't the first flare-up involving the 27-year-old Sale, who is known for his competitive streak and strict training regimen.

He was openly critical of team executive Ken Williams during spring training when he said Drake LaRoche, the son of teammate Adam LaRoche, would no longer be allowed in the clubhouse. Adam LaRoche retired as a result, and Sale hung the LaRoches' jerseys in his locker.

He was also suspended five games by Major League Baseball last season for his role in a brawl at Kansas City that started with a flare-up between teammate Adam Eaton and the Royals' Yordano Ventura. Sale went to the Royals clubhouse after he got tossed and was seen pounding on the door.

Hahn said the punishment was unrelated to previous incidents. He also said the two had a "very candid" meeting in his office with Sale after the pitcher had some exchanges with staff members in the clubhouse and that both "expressed remorse." They spoke again on Sunday.

"At that point last night Chris stood by his actions," Hahn said. "Part of what makes Chris great, part of what makes him elite, is his passion and commitment. We've seen that sometimes spill out from between the white lines. Yesterday was one of those instances and it unfortunately led to events that required discipline."