Red Sox

Red Sox fall to A's, 7-3; A.L. East lead cut to three games

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Red Sox fall to A's, 7-3; A.L. East lead cut to three games

BOSTON -- Matt Olson hit a two-run homer, Jed Lowrie drove in two runs and the Oakland Athletics rebounded for a 7-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox to win for the sixth time in seven games Wednesday night.

The loss sliced Boston's lead in the AL East to three games over the second-place New York Yankees, who beat Tampa Bay 3-2.

Oakland, which owns the majors' worst road record (22-48), snapped an eight-game losing streak away from home. The A's had dropped their past seven at Fenway Park.

Dustin Pedroia had three singles for Boston to extend his hitting streak against the A's to 26 games. The Red Sox had won five of six.

Jharel Cotton (8-10) picked up the win, allowing three runs in five innings. He entered 1-7 with an 8.00 ERA in night games.

Five relievers held Boston scoreless the rest of the way.

Doug Fister (5-8) was tagged for six runs and six hits in four innings. He was 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA in his previous four starts.

A night after getting routed 11-1 by the Red Sox, last-place Oakland built a 6-1 lead by scoring four in the first and two in the third.

Lowrie had an RBI triple and Khris Davis a run-scoring single in the first before Olson hit his homer into the A's bullpen.

Boston scored a run in the first on Mookie Betts' RBI grounder and one in the third on Andrew Benintendi's RBI double.

SIGN OF THE TIMES

A few fans seated above the Green Monster unfurled a sign denouncing racism during the fourth inning. The sign, draped over the middle of the 37-foot wall, had a black background with white letters that read: "Racism is as American as Baseball." It was up for about one batter and umpires asked that it be removed because it was in fair territory. There was a smattering of boos from the crowd as Red Sox security forced the fans to put away the sign and led them away from their seats. A team spokesman said four people were escorted from the ballpark and one of them said they were inspired by Black Lives Matter.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox LHP David Price (left elbow inflammation) threw his second simulated game. "He's in the process of building up arm strength," manager John Farrell said. "I thought he threw with good velocity." Price, who has seldom spoken to the media while working his way back, said: "I don't know how many more times I have to do a live BP, but if I come tomorrow and feel fine, I don't know what else I have to do."

PAPI'S POSITION

The Red Sox announced they have reached a long-term agreement with retired slugger David Ortiz that "should link him with the organization forever."

Ortiz is expected to act as a mentor to current players, help recruit players, make appearances and help develop business for Fenway Sports Management and its partners.

"He got his long-term deal," Farrell joked before adding: "His place in this organization speaks for itself. I'm glad he's going to be here. I hope to be able to include him in some player aspects going forward."

UP NEXT

Athletics: RHP Daniel Gossett (4-8, 5.02 ERA) starts the series finale Thursday afternoon.

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (15-5, 3.35) is up for Boston. He's won eight of his last nine decisions.

Tyler Thornburg wants a normal spring, but don't be surprised if it's bumpy

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Tyler Thornburg wants a normal spring, but don't be surprised if it's bumpy

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Don’t confuse the goal of a normal spring training with the likelihood one will follow.

Tyler Thornburg’s time with the Red Sox has been an ordeal. He’s optimistic he can have a regular spring training after undergoing surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome in June, a surgery that included the removal of a rib which is now on display at his parents’ house. 

He said Saturday, in fact, there’s a “very good chance” of a normal spring. But there’s also a chance his build up to regular-season form runs unevenly. And that would be OK.

“I started throwing Oct. 2, that’s when they kind of gave me the go-ahead to go tossing,” Thornburg said Saturday at Winter Weekend. “So I’ve been building up slowly since then, just trying to make sure we don’t have any setbacks or things like that, and ramp it up at a good pace. I’m throwing at 120-140 feet, so it’s about the pace I’d normally be on, granted I’d know 100 percent before where I was [under normal circumstances]. So things could be a little different."

Consider a few other things Thornburg said Saturday at Foxwoods.

“I don’t really think any of us really know how quick I’m going to bounce back necessarily as far as how quickly the recovery’s going to go in spring training after an outing,” Thornburg said. “But hopefully I mean it’s fantastic, and we can kind of just keep going.”

A bit of natural uncertainty. He missed an entire season, and the reason he missed an entire season is he had a lot going on medically. 

What appeared to be a shoulder injury was far from your usual, say, rotator-cuff matter. His was a nerve issue.

“Two of the neck muscles were incredibly hypertrophied, like overgrown, and they just started squeezing on the brachial plexus, where all the nerves run down,” Thornburg said. “I’d be sitting there watching a game and just a nerve thing would hit me and I’d almost get knocked over by it. As well as the first rib was getting pulled up and my hand would just turn red some days if I was just standing there, cutting off the blood circulation. Then all the scar tissue and buildup along the nerves they had to go and dissect all that off there.”

So the injury wasn’t simple, and now, the recovery process is really a whole-body matter. 

"There’s a lot off things your arm has to get used to between using different muscles, as well as my arm was kind of working through a scenario where it was trying to overcompensate for this and [trying] to relieve that,” Thornburg said. “So just worked a different way. Now your body has to remember how to actually properly work again. It’s a lot of neuromuscular stuff.”

Thornburg noted the possibility too he could be ready to go to start the season but not really ready to go back to back yet. Would the Sox then carry him on the big league roster, or continue to build him up elsewhere? 

Velocity won’t be there right away for Thornburg, he said: “But I mean that’s what spring training is for for most guys anyway.”

There’s a lot of optimism, but naturally, there’s a lot to be seen. 

“The rehab process, it's been a massive rollercoaster,” Thornburg said. “It really has. But I mean, I've been trying to take it week to week which has been a lot easier. There's the good days and bad days, just different kinds.”

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Kimbrel's newborn daughter treated in Boston for heart condition

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Kimbrel's newborn daughter treated in Boston for heart condition

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Coming off a phenomenal season, Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel spent the offseason in Boston. Not to be closer to Fenway Park, but for proximity to something far more important: the city’s first-rate medical community.

Kimbrel’s daughter, Lydia Joy, was born in November with a heart issue.

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“It’s been a lot,” Kimbrel said Saturday at Red Sox Winter Weekend at Foxwoods. “My wife and I, we’ve kept it kind of private. But when she was born, she had some heart defects so we decided to stay in Boston and work with Children’s Hospital and just been going through that ordeal and it’s had its ups and downs but she’s doing great right now."

Focusing wasn't always easy in season, but Kimbrel said his daughter's condition has motivated him even more.

“They always say when you have a child, things change and they have," he said. "I’m definitely more focused towards her and her needs and our family needs. It’s just one day at a time and give everything I got. It’s real easy to look at her and understand everything I’m doing is for her and it makes it a lot easier.”

Kimbrel and his wife, Ashley, found out early in the 2017 season that they would be staying in Boston for the winter and were preparing.

“Everything has kind of gone as planned so far,” Kimbrel said. “She’ll have another surgery during spring training, so I’ll come back to Boston for a week and do that, but it’s been good. It’s definitely been tough, but one of the happiest, joyful times of our life.”

"Being in Boston, we feel blessed, because the doctors are the best in the world. Being able to work with them has been great.”

Kimbrel said his wife has stayed in touch with Travis Shaw’s wife. The Shaw family has had a similar experience, Kimbrel said.

“It seems like they’re doing pretty good,” Kimbrel said. “It’s been very encouraging to see.”

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