Red Sox

Notes: Utility man Sutton gives Sox flexibility

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Notes: Utility man Sutton gives Sox flexibility

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

CLEVELAND Drew Sutton was attempting to zip his equipment bag shut after Wednesdays 14-2 pounding of the Indians.

See how much fun I have packing, he asked. I need a catchers bag. I have to pack it a certain way or it wont close.

Indeed, with five gloves to pack, he may have more equipment than just about any Sox player other than catchers Jason Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Sutton made his second start in as many days since being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on May 20. On Tuesday he filled in for Dustin Pedroia at second base. Wednesday he started in place of Kevin Youkilis at third. He could also be expected to play shortstop, first base, and the outfield.

The fact that hes a switch-hitter only adds to his versatility.

Hes a good hitter, and hes a switch hitter, said manager Terry Francona. The fact that he can move all over the diamond I think can be valuable. Thats why hes here. You can even put him in the outfield. We didnt do that in spring training but they did in Triple-A a little bit. So he kind of gives them some value. Got plenty of arm to play anywhere.

In Wednesdays game, Sutton went 3-for-5 with two doubles, two runs scored and two RBI. He matched a career high in hits, which he last did while with the Indians against the Royals on Sept. 19, 2010.

For Sutton, who was a late addition to the lineup when Youkilis was scratched, a game like that is fun.

Its great, said Sutton, who signed with the Sox as a free agent in December.I didnt have as much time to think about it as I did when they told me the night before, as much time to think about it and be nervous. When they tell you an hour and a half before the game youre just kind of like, Alright, lets do this. It does make it a little easier. You just kind of go back, get ready, and go play.

I think everybody felt good at the plate today. Its one of those things its the snowball effect. Once a couple guys start getting this and balls start falling, it just kind of takes over. Twenty hits later and 14 runs, its a good day.

Getting hits are fun. Not getting hits those game are not a whole lot, its one of those things. There's like four or five games each year that are like this, everybodys hitting and everythings on the barrel and even ones that arent on the barrel are falling. Just glad I got to be a part of it."

His comfort level at third base?

Shoot, about as good as anywhere else. As a utility guy youre not going to be completely comfortable anywhere. Just try and make the routine plays and not screw anything up too badly.

Shortstop Marco Scutaro, on the disabled list since May 8 with a left oblique strain, swung a bat for the first time before Wednesdays game. While he just took a few swings at balls on a tee, it represents progress. He has not been able to swing a bat while he has been sidelined. He said he felt no pain in his left side and expects to take some more swings Thursday.

Kevin Youkilis was a late scratch for Wednesdays game. While he was in the original lineup, Sutton took his place at third base. Youkilis left hand, which had been hit by a pitch Monday and which he tweaked on a diving play in the field Tuesday, was sore. Francona expects Youkilis to play Thursday.

I think he thinks hell be ready to play tomorrow, Francona said. He doesnt seem overly concerned. I think it got better as the day went. He told me hed give me a call in the morning but I think hell be ok.

J.D. Drew, who missed Wednesday game with a sore right hamstring, is not expected back Thursday. Drew aggravated the hamstring in the ninth inning of Tuesdays game, making a catch in foul territory.

were hoping that its not much more than a couple, three days, Francona said. Well certainly keep an eye on him. Hes got good range of motion, things like that. I think theres s some trepidation on his part that if he runs now its going to do something worse.

Bobby Jenks, who pitched his second bullpen session Wednesday morning as he makes his way back from a right biceps strain that has sidelined him since May 2, had said he expected to pitch a simulated game Friday. Francona, though, said the exact plan was uncertain.

We got to figure that one out, Francona said. We need to talk it through a little bit, whether its simulated or something else. We got to talk through that one a little bit. Me and pitching coach Curt Young talked about it before the game and because it was an early start I want to make sure we include general manager Theo Epstein, and kind of get some opinions on what we should do.

The Sox have won 10 of their last 12 games and are 16-7 in May, best in the AL.

The last time the Sox had nine hits in an inning was May 7, 2009, against Cleveland, when they had nine in the sixth inning. The last time they had nine in the first inning was June 27, 2003, when they had 13 against the Marlins. The last time they scored seven or more runs in the first inning was Aug. 12, 2008, when they scored 10 against the Rangers.

The Sox season-high 20 hits was the most they have had since 20 hits on May 13, 2010, against the Angels.

It was the 12th time this season a Sox starter has not allowed a run, most in the majors.

Lester improved to 7-1, the most wins in the majors. He has won seven decisions in a row, the longest active streak in the majors.

David Ortizs 10th home run of the season also provided his 1,000th career run. He has hit 10 or more home runs in each of the last 12 seasons. He has a season-high seven-game hit streak, batting .406 (13-for-32).

Adrian Gonzalezs RBI gives him 43 for the season, most in the majors.

Dustin Pedroias first-inning home run snapped a 34-game homerless streak, the second longest drought of his career, behind 47 games without a home run from April 8 May 30, 2009.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

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 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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