Notes: Youkilis, Ellsbury out tonight vs. Royals

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Notes: Youkilis, Ellsbury out tonight vs. Royals

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON The dog days of August are right around the corner, and that means some of the Sox regulars will be getting a little bit of rest over the next few weeks.

Kevin Youkilis tightened up his hamstring when his heal caught on the bag at first base during Monday nights 14-inning loss to the Kansas City Royals, and hes sitting out Tuesday nights second game of the four-game series.

Hes a little sore, said Francona.

Terry Francona was quick to point out that Youkilis probably would have had the night off from third base duties anyway, but the Sox skipper also opted to give red-hot centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury a night off against Kansas City southpaw Danny Duffy.

While its a little difficult benching a leadoff man smoking the ball at a .411 clip during the homestand, Ellsbury's had little rest during the recently sweltering hot days at the ballpark.

Francona decided it was time.

Ellsbury is fine. I just think in the next couple of days it would be give guys a couple of days and let Yamaico Navarro and Darnell McDonald get some at bats against lefties. Jacoby has played a lot, said Francona. I think he wanted to play which is great but I think a day off would do him some good.

Its not that big a deal. We talk to Jacoby. I said to him in the second inning that Im going to check with you after the game, and he didnt fight. Guys get tired sometimes and a little beat up, and a day off really does them some good. We know these guys well enough to try and not get in the way.

Instead .160-hitting McDonald will play centerfield and bat leadoff against the lefty pitcher and .185-hitting Navarro gets the start at third base for the Sox in a lineup that looked more Grapefruit League than mid-summer dream.

While theres been plenty of speculation about relief help coming to Boston and another starter potentially slotting in should Clay Buchholz continue to suffer through back woes, the bench would seem to be the logical place to benefit from a trade. The current group of right-handed hitting non-starters isn't even average.

One thing the Sox and Francona are unwilling to do, however, is give up young prospects in exchange for a spare part capable of minimal contributions over the final two months of regular season and the playoffs. With the July 31 trade deadline approaching, thats the stance voiced by the manager, and upheld by the rest of the front office staff.

I like our team. Ive been around here long enough to know that Theo is going to be on the phone doing his due diligence that way hes supposed to, said Francona. I dont need to sit up here and say what we need because my job is to get the most out of these guys. But I like them a lot.

I also know Theo is going to make them better if he can. I do feel pretty strongly that I like the young players in our system, so Im not voting or saying to go do this because I like our young guys too. I really like the idea of our young guys helping us.

J.D. Drew is officially on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder impingement while infielder Drew Sutton has been recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket for another tour of duty with the Red Sox. Francona said that Navarro could potentially play left field if the Sox get desperate for another outfielder during the game, but he didnt see that becoming a pressing issue.

Buchholz was experiencing general soreness in his back the day after his 30-pitch bullpen session, and Francona said that the righty would be checking in with the two teams of medical staff before they begin quickening the pace of his rehab process.

We still view it as a very positive day yesterday. Hes going to revisit the medical people hes talked to and review where he thinks he is and where they think he is, Francona said. Well do it so that when we start moving fast and aggressive with things pretty quickly that hell feel good about it.

Itll be getting pretty aggressive from now on, so we just want to cover everything.

Nothing new with Bobby Jenks or Jed Lowrie over the last couple of days. Jenks isnt feeling any better and Lowrie is still working his troublesome shoulder toward taking batting practice.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Ortiz provides magical moment for young fan

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Ortiz provides magical moment for young fan

David Ortiz has hit 507 career homers during the regular season. Some of them have won games. Some have come in extra innings, sending the Red Sox to immediate victory.

But it's doubtful that Ortiz has hit a homer that's meant more to an individual fan than the one he hit Friday night against the New York Yankees.

Former teammate Kevin Millar told Ortiz about a young boy named Maverick who has been battling a life-threatening illness. The two sent Maverick a video before Friday's night game that closed with Ortiz pointing to the camera and saying: "I'm going to hit a home run for you!''

Then, in the eighth inning, with the Red Sox and Yankees tied 2-2, Ortiz did just that, driving a first-pitch curveball from New York reliever Dellin Betances into the Monster Seats in left field.

"I would say this is just God putting his hands on things like that,'' Ortiz said, "because we all know that it is not that easy to come through like that. I've been able to get things done like that on a few different occasions. I guess I've been lucky.

"I would say God is the one who takes over this stuff.''

Said manager John Farrell: "It's a storybook situation. You can say that the legend of David Ortiz is far-reaching. I don't know if players fully understand their impact and how far-reaching their impact can be. But to have it play out like that is really a cool thing.''

Ortiz recalled a similar situation from a few years ago, when he visited a young girl dealing with brain damage at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital.

"When she got a little better,'' Ortiz recalled, "she came to Fenway and we celebrated her birthday here in the family room. We lit up some candles with the cake, sang Happy Birthday to her and that day I told her I was going to hit a home run for her. And I ended up doing it.''

Once the game began, Ortiz was focused on his at-bats. The fact that he was facing Betances in the eighth inning, against whom he was 0-for-7 lifetime with four strikeouts, didn't make it any easier.

"Everyone knows how good Betances has been through his career,'' Ortiz said. "When things like that happen, it makes you believe that there's something special out there that we should believe in.''

Ortiz said he wasn't focused on hitting the homer during the game.

"Listen, the promise is not a guarantee,'' he said. "This is baseball. This is not, 'I'm going to shoot a free throw' when no one's playing defense on you. Or 'I'm Steph Curry and I'm going to shoot a three-pointer.' You know that's going to happen regardless. This is baseball. What you're trying to do was make Maverick feel better, have that connection with him. And you throw that out there to make sure he has a friend that he can count on right here.

"But while the game is going on, I'm not thinking about it, to be honest with you. But I can get away with it because I'm a power hitter and if I put a good swing on it, it can happen. But everybody on planet earth understands that it's not that easy. But that when it happens, everyone understands. Me personally, I'm a huge believer in God and I think he had a lot to do with this.''

In fact, it wasn't until Ortiz rounded the bases, crossed home plate and was trotting back to the dugout that he saw Millar and Millar's own kids sitting right next to the dugout that he recounted his pre-game video to Maverick.

"That's when I started thinking about it,'' said Ortiz.

Maverick sent a video back to Ortiz -- via Millar -- after the game-winning homer.

"After the game,'' Ortiz recounted, "Millar came to me and he was crying when he showed me the video that Maverick sent. It was very touching. I started thinking about it right after. When I got home, I was like, 'I can't believe this really happened.' Millar told me that his parents haven't seen (Maverick) him that happy in a long time. He has been very sick. But I always say there's something special out there. I'm a huge believer in God.

"I'm crazy about kids. When you see a sick kid and see what he's going trough I can't imagine. I don't think I'm prepared to see my child struggle like that. It's good. It's a good thing when you can put a smile on a child."

Saturday's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees

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Saturday's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees

Christian Vazquez is behind the plate catching Rick Porcello (4-0, 3.51 ERA), who looks to remain unbeaten, as the Red Sox continue their three-game weekend series with the Yankees on Saturday night (7:10) at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox won the series opener 4-2 on Friday night with a rally from a 2-0 deficit capped by David Ortiz' two-run homer in the eighth inning.

The full lineups:

YANKEES
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Brian McCann C
Starlin Castro 2B
Didi Gregorius SS
Chase Headley 3B
--
Michael Pineda RHP

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Brock Holt LF
Christian Vazquez C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
--
Rick Porcello RHP

Ortiz's winning HR fulfills his promise to young fan

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Ortiz's winning HR fulfills his promise to young fan

David Ortiz's exploits with the Red Sox over the years can easily be described as "Ruthian."

That description became more fitting and Big Papi's legend grew Friday night when Ortiz made like the Babe by promising and delivering a home run to young fan named Maverick. 

Ortiz connected with a two-run shot over the Green Monster in the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie and give the Red Sox a 4-2 victory over the rival Yankees. 

Here's the video Ortiz and former Red Sox teammate Kevin Millar, now with the MLB Network, made for Maverick before the game.

And here's Maverick's response, via Millar: