05/07/12 7:55 PM ET
Melancon red-hot in Minors, but Sox stand pat
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
But the Red Sox instead decided to stand pat rather than call up Mark Melancon, who has been red-hot at Triple-A Pawtucket since his demotion.
"[Assistant general manager] Brian [O'Halloran] came in the office last night. I wasn't thinking all that clearly," Valentine said. "You know, it would have meant taking someone who doesn't deserve to go down off the roster, and considering nobody pitched on consecutive days, other than [Scott] Atchison, we'll see what we have. We might have enough. We hope so."
While Melancon has probably regained enough confidence to rejoin the team, there's no clear-cut move the Red Sox could make at this point to open up a spot for him.
One scenario could have been to option Clayton Mortensen back to Pawtucket, but the righty has pitched well since being called up, and he also gives Valentine more length than the other relievers.
"You know, a lot of things go into these decisions," Valentine said. "It sure seems like [Melancon's] pitching well enough."
In seven games for Pawtucket, Melancon hasn't given up a run in 7 2/3 innings. He's walked none and struck out 12.
"He's doing fine. He's doing really well, yeah," said Valentine. "I have very good reports on him."
Adrian not overly frustrated by 0-for-8 game
KANSAS CITY -- Adrian Gonzalez might never go 0-for-8 again, as he did Sunday afternoon against the Orioles in a 17-inning loss. In one frustrating game, Gonzalez's average went from .284 to .264, wiping out the progress he made in back-to-back three-hit games Friday and Saturday.
However, Gonzalez was more frustrated by the result of the game than his day at the plate.
"The only thing hard about it was the fact we lost," Gonzalez said before Monday's game against the Royals.
Gonzalez is still pleased with how he feels at the plate and doesn't think Sunday was a sign he's about to slip back into the type of deep funk he experienced last week.
"The first at-bat, I felt like I had a good at-bat and swung through a backup cutter and struck out," Gonzalez said. "The next one, I kind of pulled off a little bit on a high fastball and hit into a double play. From there, we got into situations where the next at-bat, I felt I hit a ball good. I think that was the one where they brought in the lefty. I felt I hit a ball good, but the shortstop caught it. That one was up the middle. Normally it's a base hit up the middle. The shift got me there."
In the late innings, Gonzalez admits he was trying to put the team on his back.
"After that, we were in situations where I was trying to hit home runs and finish the game. It didn't happen," Gonzalez said.
In Gonzalez's final at-bat, he was completely baffled by the arsenal of Orioles' position player Chris Davis, who wound up being the winning pitcher. Gonzalez struck out on three pitches.
"That was different, because you've got a position player and you're expecting fastballs and he didn't throw me a fastball," Gonzalez said. "He threw me three offspeed pitches, or two two-seamers that cut, and then he threw me a split that was actually a pretty good split. You're not expecting anything like that."
"I think he's fine," manager Bobby Valentine said of Gonzalez. "Maybe a little anxious yesterday. Really just trying to do it all himself."
Gonzalez actually told Valentine he could pitch, but Darnell McDonald, who was already in the designated hitter slot, got the call for the top of the 17th.
"Yeah, I was trying to help out the team," Gonzalez said. "If I can't help out hitting, maybe I could help the team pitching. It's not that I want to pitch, but it's one of those things -- somebody had to. It's one of those things. It's always tough for a position player to pitch. You don't want to see anybody get hurt. It's one of those things were you try to do it for your teammates. Everyone is in a no-win situation at that point."
Gonzalez batted fifth on Monday night, marking the first time this season he didn't hit third or fourth.
"Well, they have the three left-handers in the bullpen," Valentine said. "When they use their bullpen up, we can't make it easier on them."
Beckett cleared for Thursday start against Tribe
KANSAS CITY -- At a time the Red Sox need all the good news they can get from a health standpoint, they got some on Monday. Right-hander Josh Beckett declared himself good to go for his start on Thursday night at Fenway against the Indians.
Beckett was scratched from his Saturday start due to discomfort in the right lat area.
"Beckett threw today, said he felt great," said manager Bobby Valentine. "Well, I don't think he said great. I think he said he felt fine and ready to go."
Beckett doesn't figure to have any pitch count restrictions after missing just one outing.
"It seems like it's a regular start unless I'm told differently," Beckett said.
Aviles enjoys return trip to Kansas City
KANSAS CITY -- For Mike Aviles, a Red Sox road trip to Kansas City means a return to the city he called home for nearly four years.
Aviles and the Red Sox are in Kansas City for three games to face the Royals, and Boston's starting shortstop will be taking the Kauffman Stadium field as a visitor for the second series since being traded last year.
"It feels good [to be back]. Last year was a little weird. This time isn't as weird, but it definitely feels good," Aviles said before Monday's game. "It's always good to see the guys and come back to where you started. I'm excited. I got a good sleep [Sunday] night. I wanted to make sure I got a good sleep so I could be extra hyper [Monday]. I like coming here. I always like playing in this park."
In four seasons with the Royals, Aviles hit .286 and played in more than 300 games. Kansas City traded Aviles to Boston on July 30 last season in exchange for Minor League pitcher Kendal Volz, who is with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, and infielder Yamaico Navarro, who's now with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
It isn't too much of a stretch to say that the trade has worked out well for both Aviles and Boston. Aviles only appeared in 53 of the Royals' first 104 games before being dealt, but he has since become the Sox's everyday shortstop. He's having a very nice season, hitting five home runs and driving in 19 runs entering Monday's game. His 20 runs scored and three stolen bases lead the team.
"Every time I come to the field, I feel like I've got to prove everything," Aviles said. "I feel like I've proven that I can play on an everyday basis in the big leagues, and I feel like I still need to prove it, because that's just my personality. I just like to prove people wrong, and I like to come out and try to do my best."
Monday wasn't the first trip back for Aviles. Last year after being traded, he started every game of a three-game series against the Royals in Kansas City. In his first game back at Kauffman Stadium since the trade, Aviles went 1-for-4, including a single to center field in his first at-bat against Luke Hochevar. Aviles didn't remember much about the game, but he did remember that he used third baseman Mike Moustakas' bat. Aviles explained that his bat wasn't working for him, so he used his former teammate's.
Aviles said that the biggest difference between Kansas City and Boston is the increased exposure and the larger contingent of media and fans, but the game's the same, he said.
"It's still baseball, whether you're putting on a Red Sox uniform or a Royals uniform," said Aviles.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Associate reporter Vinnie Duber contribued to this this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.