Pregame notes: Lavarnway returned to Pawtucket

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Pregame notes: Lavarnway returned to Pawtucket

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON-- BOSTON -- Ryan Lavarnway, who hit .304 (7-for-23) with three RBI in his seven-game big league debut has been returned to Triple-A Pawtucket with right-hander Scott Atchison getting called up for his fifth stint this season. With three games scheduled in under 24 hours, including Saturdays doubleheader, manager Terry Francona was concerned about his pitching.

"We talked to Lavarnway Thursday last night after we kind of had a chance to talk before we left and decided that even with the three games coming up in two days we probably better protect our pitching so we got Atch here, Francona said. Hes been lengthened out to three innings at a time and weve all seen what he can do. Just really want to protect our bullpen. It would be nice to have the extra position player. Saying that, Lavarnway is a catcherDH. We have that. If you're going to protect your lineup in a doubleheader thats probably not what you do. So we swapped them out. Just want to protect our pitching.

Francona is not concerned, though, that the odd schedule has had an adverse effect on the pitching staff.

Weve never gotten to a point where Ive thought anybodysgottenoverdone or anything, he said. The odd times where things like that, I think you have to pay attention to it, not let somebody pitch three days in a row or something like that when they shouldnt, and we dont, but I dont think its ever gotten in the way of our pitching. And like on a day like today we went and got Atch so something doesnt happen. If we have a lead, were fine. But if something happens when someone exits early or were losing, then you can ruin your bullpen and thats why its important to have somebody here.

It is rare to have two consecutive days off in the baseball calendar. But the Red Sox find themselves with that unusual scenario Sunday because of the impending hurricane and Mondays scheduled off-day. Francona was uncertain if that would affect his pitching rotation.

I dont know, he said. Well get through this and then well figure that out. Obviously its not just cut and dried because its two days off and we dont have that very often, so well look at it.

Lavarnway will likely be back up when rosters expand in September.

The way he controlled the strike zone, Francona said of what he liked about Lavarnway. We only saw him catch two innings so thats a little bit hard to give a proper evaluation. But obviously a smart kid. He helped us win some games. Thats what we asked him to do. Its not an easy thing to do but I think the experience was probably really good for him. Hell be back. Hell be back as soon as we can get him back here, spend September with us and hopefully learn some more. Spending some time with bullpen coach Gary Tuck will be really important.

With left-hander Gio Gonzalez starting for the As tonight, and two righties, Guillermo Moscoso and Graham Godfrey, starting tomorrow, Carl Crawford is getting tonight off with Mike Aviles making his first professional appearance in left field. Crawford is expected to play both games of the doubleheader.

Were trying to give as many guys some time off as we can, Francona said. Theres only so much we can do. I thought Carl was actually cramping a little bit last night during the game. So with the late arrival and everything I thought it would be a good day because hell probably play both tomorrow.

J. D. Drew is expected to play tonight and Saturday with Single-A Lowell as rehab games as he makes his way back from the disabled list , where he has been since July 20 with a left shoulder impingement. He is expected to serve as the Spinners designated hitter tonight.

If things go well for Drew this weekend, he is expected to join the PawSox next week.

Right-hander Bobby Jenks, on the DL since July 8 with left back tightness, is expected to pitch one inning in a rehab assignment with the Single-A Salem Sox on Saturday. Where he pitches after that is dependent on the weather.

Were trying to move him to Triple A, Francona said. But theres some things to think about with the weather so, but pretty good chance well get him up to Triple A.

Kevin Youkilis, on the DL since Aug. 18 with a lower back strain, is expected to begin a rehab assignment next week with the PawSox.

Hes doing really well, Francona said. Hes probably going to go out and get a couple of at-bats Tuesday and Wednesday. I think theyre in Rochester. J.D. would do the same thing

Youkilis hit off a tee and took some soft toss Thursday and hit in the cage Friday.

Hes been making progress. Hes doing well. Hes doing fine, Francona said.

Except for a brief stop into Fenway on Aug. 16 and 17 when they played three games in about 27 hours, the Sox have virtually been on a road trip since Aug. 8. They are now home through Sept. 4, with three games against the As, three against the Yankees, and three against the Rangers.

Im hoping itll be terrific, Francona said of the homestand. The last time we were home it was almost like a continuation of the road trip. We were home for 24 hours or whatever it was, and three games. It was almost like more of a hindrance. But, hopefully, well take advantage of it on the field. But itll be nice to unpack for a little while. Its been a long time.

Reminder: Because of the approaching hurricane Sundays game has be rescheduled as the second game of Saturdays doubleheader and Saturdays scheduled game has been moved to an earlier start time. Saturdays scheduled game will begin at 12:00 noon in the first game of the doubleheader. The second game (originally scheduled for Sunday) will begin at 5 p.m.

Carl Crawford has been given the night off for Friday night's game against the A's, and Mike Aviles will play left field for the first time in his career. Crawford is expected to play both games on Saturday.

Kevin Youkilis will make a rehab appearance with the PawSox on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Other Red Sox rehab appearances: J.D. Drew will be in Lowell on Friday and Saturday, and Bobby Jenks will be with Salem on Saturday.

Tonight's Red Sox lineup:

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Marco Scutaro SS
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Jed Lowrie 3B
Mike Aviles LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Darnell McDonald RF

Tim Wakefield P

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

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.