Notes: McDonald tweaks thumb

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Notes: McDonald tweaks thumb

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Darnell McDonald left the Red Sox' 4-1 loss to the Phillies on Monday after the top of the third inning with a jammed right thumb, but the move was out of precaution more than anything else.

McDonald had surgery on the thumb last October, making the Red Sox extra vigilant.

"It just puffed up on him a little bit after an at-bat in the second inning," said Terry Francona. "He wanted to stay in. I just didn't want to undo a really good spring. We'll give him the day off Tuesday and then we're off Wednesday. He's fine. He said he took a swing and it hurt him a little bit. I just didn't want to mess with it.

"With the surgery, that's why I wanted to get him out of there. He said it had been a little bit sore for the past week. With the day off coming up, let's get him back feeling good."

Nate Spears, who had started the game at third base, shifted to left field with Ryan Khoury taking over at third.

McDonald wasn't the only injury victim Monday. Longtime clubhouse attendant Tom McLaughlin, stationed in the Boston dugout, was hit in the face with a splinter of a bat when Jacoby Ellsbury's bat shattered to lead off the game.

McLaughin was cut on the bridge of his nose, but was otherwise OK.

"It's amazing what some people do to get on TV,'' cracked Francona, noting that the game was televised by ESPN. "He got a little cut on his nose. But I was the only casuality. That's the quickest I've moved. I've got a little bit of a sore left hamstring.

"I was actually scared when he dropped his head. I thought he was hurt.''

McLaughlin joked that he suffered only a "broken eyebrow."

While the Sox and Phils played 140 or so miles to the north, four pitchers who stayed behind in Fort Myers were kept busy.

Felix Doubront, who has been slowed by left elbow tenderness, tossed a two-inning, 30-pitch simulated game. Doubront will throw a live batting practice session in a few days, then appear in a game before the Red Sox leave Florida next Tuesday.

Bobby Jenks also pitched a simulated game, throwing 17 pitches over an inning.

Jonathan Papelbon, pitching for Single A Greenville at the Red Sox' minor-league complex, gave up a hit and two walks over an inning and a third. He also had a strikeout. Of Papelbon's 28 pitches, 14 were for strikes.

Daniel Bard gave up four hits in an inning, pitching in the same game as Papelbon. He had one strikeout, with 16 strikes in his 26 pitches.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Bogaerts' "maturity is clearly taking hold"

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Bogaerts' "maturity is clearly taking hold"

NEW YORK -- Xander Bogaerts enjoyed a terrific 2015, his second full season in the big leagues.

He finished second in the American League batting race, established himself as a solid defender at short and generally showed immense promise.

The only thing he didn't do was show much home run power, limited to just seven homers.

This past spring, both manager John Farrell and Chili Davis expressed confidence that the home runs would come, and that they would come organically.

And so they have. In Thursday night's loss to the New York Yankees, a solo homer in the fifth by Bogaerts represented the only Red Sox run of the night in a 5-1 loss. It also gave Bogaerts 21 homers for the year, exactly triple his output from a year ago.

"The maturity is clearly taking hold," said John Farrell of Bogaerts' growth. "You start to get a couple thousand at-bats at the major league level, you're starting to understand your swing, you're picking out certain counts in which to leverage a little bit more. He's been able to do that.

"Home runs are up across the board. But with Xander in particular, he's physically maturing and he's maturing as a major league player as well."

Bogaerts took the advise of Davis and others and didn't set out to try to hit more homers this year. He knew they would come in time.

"Maybe not this quick," he said of the big increase, "but probably in the future, yeah. That's what I did in the minor leagues, so it's kind of something that I thought might translate to the big leagues, too."

Bogaerts is hard-pressed to put his finger on any on factor to explain the big uptick. After all, he didn't change his swing or his stance.

Rather, the homers came as a result of him understanding himself better as a hitter and consistently taking the right approach at the plate.

"It's just (a matter of) taking good swings in good counts," he offered. "Sometimes, you're looking for one. But overall, it's just being a more mature hitter and looking for the right spots to pick and choose."

It hasn't hurt that he's surrounded by quality hitters in the Red Sox lineup, with Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia ahead of him earlier in the year, and now Pedrioa ahead of him and David Ortiz behind him.

In addition to seeing better pitches because of who's surrounding him, Bogaerts has also benefitted from listening to Ortiz, who watches his at-bats and offers advice when called for.

Still, most of the credit belongs to Bogaerts himself, who has grown into his power naturally -- just as his manager and hitting coach forecast.

Quotes, notes and stars: "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving"

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Quotes, notes and stars: "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving"

NEW YORK -- Quotes, Notes and Stars from the Red Sox' 5-1 loss to the Yankees:

QUOTES

* "It seems like everybody was happy that I'm leaving." David Ortiz, unaccustomed to ovations and cheering at Yankee Stadium.

* "I thought he threw a high number of strikes. There was good swing-and-miss to his changeup and he took the opportunity and showed well." John Farrell on Henry Owens.

* "It's just taking good swings in good counts. It's just being a more mature hitter and looking for the right spots to pick and choose." Xander Bogaerts, who has tripled his homer output since last year.

NOTES:

* With his fourth-inning homer, Xander Bogaerts tripled his home run total from last year, improving from seven to 21.

* The season series between the Red Sox and Yankees ended with the Sox winning 11 of the 18 games.

* The Boston bullpen has given up eight runs in the last two nights after allowing only seven this month before Wednesday night.

* The Sox suffered only their second sweep of the season. They were also swept by the Tigers in July.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. has reached base safely in his last 13 games.

* Junichi Tazawa has contributed seven straight scoreless outings.

* Robbie Ross Jr. allowed a season-high three walks -- all in the same inning.

* Henry Owens has a career ERA of 8.53 against the Yankees.

* David Ortiz went hitless (0-for-11) in his final series at Yankee Stadium.

STARS:

1) CC Sabathia

Sabathia turned back the clock and looked like a far younger version of himself, pitching into the eighth and allowed just a run on four hits while striking out eighth.

2) Jacoby Ellsbury

Ellsbury had a hand in the first Yankee run -- walk, stolen base, run scored -- and doubled home the second run in the fifth inning.

3) Xander Bogaerts

The Sox had little offense on the night, but Bogaerts smoked a solo homer in the fourth to account for their only run.