Ortiz’s first start at Fenway since ’05

For nearly a decade, it was a certainty that David Ortiz would only need his first baseman’s mitt for a road Interleague or World Series game, in which the Red Sox did not have the designated hitter. But things changed on Sunday, as the slugger got the nod at first and the heavily-slumping Mike Napoli was on the bench.

Hanley Ramirez served as the designated hitter. This was Ortiz’s first start at first base in a game being played under American League rules since June 22, 2006, at Seattle. It was his first start at first at Fenway since July 16, 2005 against the Yankees.

“Well, today’s lineup I think gives us the best lineup we can put on the field,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “[We] Recognize that it’s been quite some time since David has played first base in an American League game. It also gives us the ability to put [Alejandro] De Aza in left field. It’s about putting the best lineup on the field today.”

Ortiz playing first will not become a staple for the Red Sox. This seemed to be an isolated occurrence, and the Red Sox have a day off on Monday in which the 39-year-old DH will be able to rest his legs.

I don’t know how frequently we would see this going forward,” said Farrell. “David and I had a chance to talk after the game last night, then this morning. Tomorrow with an off-day this was kind of an ideal set of circumstances to get him at first base.”

If Napoli continues to struggle, the Red Sox would have the option of getting Brock Holt more regular playing time at first base once Dustin Pedroia returns from the disabled list.

Ortiz has generally held his own while playing first for the Red Sox, making standout plays in the World Series in 2004 and ’07.

“A guy like me, when I play first base, the thing is that when you’re playing defense out there you got to do a lot of bending and a lot of moving. You’re moving a lot every time the pitcher makes a pitch,” said Ortiz. “So maybe the next day you feel a little sore or whatever, but it goes away. I kind of start feeling things out as the game goes and try not to go too crazy.”

Napoli’s struggles have been one of the surprises of the season. The first baseman is hitting .192 with 10 homers, 30 RBIs and a .652 OPS.

“Napoli’s what, 32 years old? He’s still young,” said Ortiz. “He’s going to come out of it. It’s just not that easy to come out of it. You can have a good game and that gives you the positive vibe, and all of a sudden you are hitting. It’s just like, when you never see that game come, you just keep on digging and digging and digging, and it’s hard to come out of it.”

 

Rodriguez to debut Thursday in Texas

Highly-touted lefty prospect Eduardo Rodriguez will make his Major League debut for the Red Sox when he starts on Thursday night at Texas.

The Red Sox will make a corresponding roster move before Thursday’s game. Manager John Farrell said that he isn’t bumping anyone from the rotation, and that he will go with six starters this time through. The Red Sox are in the midst of a stretch of 20 games in a row without a day off.

At this point, Rodriguez — ranked as the fourth best Red Sox prospect by MLB Pipeline — is only expected to make the one start before going back down to Triple-A. But Farrell has reserved the right to change his mind.

The Red Sox acquired Rodriguez from the Orioles for Andrew Miller on July 31, 2014.

Rodriguez, 22, is 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA in eight starts for Triple-A Pawtucket this season.

Ortiz dropped to five-hole

David Ortiz, off to his worst start to a season since 2010, was dropped to fifth in the batting order tonight by manager John Farrell.

This is the first time Ortiz has started a game at a spot other then third or fourth since 2012, under Bobby Valentine.

Pablo Sandoval will hit third, followed by Hanley Ramirez, at Target Field against Twins right-hander Mike Pelfrey.

Game 2 in Philly

After a glorious weather day on Opening Day, the Red Sox and Phillies are playing under dreary and raw conditions tonight.

It was somewhat interesting that Shane Victorino was not in the lineup for Game 2, after a day off on Tuesday. But Daniel Nava is going to get his share of starts also, and the same goes for Allen Craig. John Farrell has a lot of depth to manage.

Farrell said that part of the reason Victorino was sitting was the weather. No use risking an injury for someone coming off back surgery.

Victorino was 9-for-27 lifetime vs. Harang entering this one. Nava was 1-for-2.

This was the first time we’ve had a chance to speak with John Farrell since Rick Porcello signed his new contract. Here is what Farrell had to say about it.

“We’re talking about a free agent to be at 26 years old who’s pitched 200 innings, that’s evolving in his own right to be an upper echelon type of starter. It’s clearly a commitment on our ownership’s part. It’s also betting on a guy that we’ve grown to have a pretty good understanding in the two months that he’s been here, even though he hasn’t thrown a pitch yet,” Farrell said before Porcello took the mound against the Phillies. “You bet on the individual when you make these kind of investments. Rick is very detail-oriented and he’s committed to his own personal routine to prepare each and every day. And the fact he’s going to be pitching this season at 26 years of age, the five years we’re going to get him ideally at the prime of his major league career given the age and what all information would suggest with guys of that age group.”

March 12: Red Sox at Pirates

Hello from sunny Bradenton, where the red-hot Red Sox (six straight wins) brought a bus that included nearly all of their best players.

Opponent: Pirates (4-3).

TV/Radio: None. So make sure to follow closely on twitter (@ianmbrowne) and redsox.com.

Today’s lineup: Victorino RF, Pedroia 2B, Ortiz DH, Ramirez LF, Sandoval 3B, Napoli 1B, Bogaerts SS, Bradley CF, Swihart C.

Starting matchup: Buchholz vs. Burnett.

Available out of the bullpen: Ogando, Hembree, Couch, Celestino, Scott, Rodriguez, McCarthy, Younginger.

Recent stories of interest on redsox.com:

Mookie looks ready to take over the leadoff spot. http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/112199708/mookie-betts-looks-ready-to-take-over-leadoff-spot-for-red-sox

Kelly improving plan of attack: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/112198978/red-sox-right-hander-joe-kelly-kelly-displays-improved-command-against-yankees

Andrew Miller credits Red Sox for making a strong run at him in offseason. http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/112199706/left-hander-andrew-miller-contemplated-return-to-red-sox-in-offseason

March 10: Rays at Red Sox

Back home at beautiful JetBlue Park today after a lengthy sojourn to the East Coast, the Red Sox are ready for the Rays today and Shane Victorino is back in the lineup.

Opponent: Tampa Bay Rays (1-3).

TV/Radio: None. So that means you need to follow me on Twitter (@ianmbrowne) and redsox.com for any and all updates today.

Today’s lineup: Victorino RF, Pedroia 2B, Ortiz DH, Ramirez LF, Sandoval 3B, Napoli 1B, Bogaerts SS, Bradley CF, Hanigan C.

Starting matchup: Masterson vs. Andriese.

Available out of the bullpen: Owens, Uehara, Eveland, Spruill, Varvaro, Hinojosa.

Recent stories of interest on redsox.com:

Cecchini has an attitude everyone can learn from: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111904400/red-sox-prospect-garin-cecchini-stays-positive-despite-uncertain-future

Finding playing time for Allen Craig might be the toughest thing about John Farrell’s job: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111922460/allen-craig-in-line-for-reserve-role-with-boston-red-sox

Barnes displaying premium stuff in camp: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111924676/pitcher-matt-barnes-showing-premium-stuff-early-in-red-sox-camp

 

 

March 9: Red Sox at Cardinals

Allen Craig and the Red Sox are here in Jupiter today to face the Cardinals, completing a two-day road trip on the East Coast of Florida.

Opponent: Carrdinals (3-1).

TV/radio:  None, so make sure to stay updated at redsox.com and mlb.com and follow me on twitter: (@ianmbrowne).

Today’s lineup: Betts CF; Holt 2B; Cecchini 3B; Craig LF; Shaw 1B; Montz DH; Vazquez C; Ramos RF; Marrero SS.

Starting matchup: Miley vs. Wacha.

Available out of the bullpen: Barnes, Ogando, Mujica, Tazawa, Hembree, Paulino.

Recent stories of interest on redsox.com.

Solid debut for Porcello: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111769902/red-sox-rick-porcello-pleased-with-location-in-first-spring-start

Bogaerts off to hot start: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111813296/xander-bogaerts-bat-stays-hot-shane-victorino-to-return-tuesday

Injury update: Shane Victorino (general soreness) is expected to be back in the lineup for Tuesday’s home game.

March 7: Split squads vs. Twins, Orioles

Today is the first split squad game of the Grapefruit League for the Red Sox, with the regulars playing at home against the Twins, and the reserves hitting Sarasota to play the Orioles.

Opponents: Home vs. Twins (1-1), 1:05 p.m. ET; Away vs. Orioles (2-3), 1:05 p.m. ET.

TV/radio: Home game on 93.7, WEEI, and of course, also available here: http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/mediacenter/index.jsp?c_id=bos&affiliateId=clubMENU#date=3/7/2015

Today’s home lineup: Betts CF, Pedroia 2B, Ortiz DH, Ramirez LF, Sandoval 3B, Napoli 1B, Nava RF, Bogaerts SS, Hanigan C.

Today’s road lineup: Bradley, Jr. CF, Weeks 2B, Craig LF, LaHair DH, Swihart C, Cecchini 3B, Brentz RF, Shaw 1B, Bianchi SS.

Starting matchups: Home, Buchholz vs. Hughes. Away, Wright vs. Norris.

Available out of the bullpen: Home, Breslow, Workman, Eveland, Varvaro, Boggs, Ramirez. Road, Rodriguez, Escobar, Spruill, Hinojosa, Celestino.

Recent stories of interest on redsox.com:

Castillo injury not as bad as originally feared: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111543916/oblique-improving-castillo-logs-light-workout

Masterson revels in being healthy again: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111544198/masterson-right-at-home-after-first-outing-back-with-sox

Though Barnes is a starter, he could be weapon in bullpen: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111496864/barnes-impresses-farrell-with-velocity-in-relief-outing

Slight news update this morning: No Shane Victorino for the next couple of days as he battled general soreness. But John Farrell said it is not back related.

March 6: Marlins at Red Sox

By Ian Browne/MLB.com

Here we go. Ready for the first day game after the night game of Spring Training.

Opponent: Miami Marlins (0-1).

TV/Radio: None (So make sure to follow my tweets and stories for everything you miss).

Today’s lineup: Betts CF; Holt SS; Ortiz DH; Ramirez LF; Victorino RF; Nava 1B; Hanigan C; Cecchini 3B; Weeks 2B.

Starting matchup: Justin Masterson vs. Tom Koehler.

Available out of bullpen: Owens, Uehara, Layne, Ross, Hembree, Couch, Paulino.

Recent stories of interest on redsox.com

Pedroia, Bogaerts have impactful starts at plate: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111455118/xander-bogaerts-dustin-pedroia-get-off-to-powerful-starts-for-red-sox

Kelly struggles in Spring Opener: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111457362/red-sox-pitcher-joe-kelly-struggles-in-first-grapefruit-league-start

Bradley comes out swinging against Twins: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111459906/red-sox-outfielder-jackie-bradley-jr-comes-out-swinging-against-twins

Some good, old-fashioned t-shirt fun: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111406038/clay-buchholz-has-t-shirts-made-for-red-sox-starting-rotation

For all Red Sox info, follow all of our stories at http://www.redsox.com, and follow me on twitter (@ianmbrowne).

 

March 5: Red Sox @ Twins

By Ian Browne/MLB.com

Here here, the games are here! The Red Sox will play every day (sometimes twice in a day) between today and April 4. The lone exception is March 25, an off-day on the game schedule.

Opponent: Minnesota Twins (0-0).

TV/Radio: MLB Network; MLB.TV; 93.7 FM WEEI.

Tonight’s lineup:

Bogaerts SS; Pedroia 2B; Sandoval 3B; Napoli 1B; Craig LF; LaHair DH; Brentz RF; Bradley CF; Vazquez C.

Starting matchup: Joe Kelly vs. Kyle Gibson.

Available out of the bullpen for the Red Sox: Barnes, Johnson, Tazawa, Mujica, Ogando, Celestino, Ramirez.

Red Sox reserves of note: Berry, Swihart, Marrero.

Recent stories of interest on Redsox.com:

Red Sox cautious but optimistic on Rusney: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111356320/rest-helps-center-fielder-rusney-castillo-but-red-sox-proceeding-with-caution

Rotation quickly forming bond: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111154038/revamped-red-sox-rotation-quickly-forming-bond

Healthy Breslow could be important for Red Sox: http://m.redsox.mlb.com/news/article/111193894/healthy-spring-training-important-to-red-sox-pitcher-craig-breslow

For all Red Sox info, follow all of our stories at http://www.redsox.com, and follow me on twitter (@ianmbrowne).

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