04/14/2013 4:10 PM ET
Ex-Rays outfielder Gomes marvels at Maddon
By Jason Mastrodonato / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Since Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes left Tampa Bay in 2008, he's become pretty comfortable playing games against the Rays, particularly since he returned to the American League last season.
The key: expect the unexpected.
Rays manager Joe Maddon pulled another trick out of his bag in Saturday's 2-1 loss to the Red Sox, pulling outfielder Matt Joyce in to play third base. With only one out and Jacoby Ellsbury representing the winning run on third, Maddon wanted Joyce to keep Ellsbury as close to the bag as possible. The move also allowed the Rays to cover the grass with five infielders.
The move didn't work, as Shane Victorino hit a grounder in between first and second and Ellsbury scored easily. But the Red Sox can expect more unconventional circumstances in games against the Rays, who went 9-9 against Boston last year.
"Gosh, that's awesome," Gomes said of the five-man infield. "You think of bringing in another outfielder -- but I think a lot of people are little scared to do that.
"[Maddon's tactics] work. And it's not like that stuff just works in Tampa, it could work in a lot of places. He plays the extreme odds."
Red Sox manager John Farrell had to adapt accordingly, and the Sox have, at times, played unconventional defenses to counter.
With no outs and two Rays on base in the ninth inning, conventional wisdom indicated bunt. But Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks didn't charge in. The Rays never bunted.
"[Maddon] doesn't beat to a different drum," Gomes said. "He's just, I'd say, extreme."
Sore hamstring hampering Hanrahan
BOSTON -- Joel Hanrahan has been dealing with right hamstring soreness since April 3, and Red Sox manager John Farrell said it played a role in Hanrahan's early exit from Saturday's game after throwing just 12 pitches in the ninth inning of a 2-1 win over the Rays.
Hanrahan said he tweaked his hamstring when throwing a slider against the Yankees in his second outing of the season, but tried working through the injury only to have it affect his mechanics.
Farrell said the team is taking it day to day while Andrew Bailey steps into the ninth-inning role. Hanrahan's injury was first reported by MassLive.com.
"It's something I had last year early in the year, as well," said Hanrahan. "It's kind of been there in the back of my mind. I was hoping I could get through it. I tried to pitch a couple games through it, I've been doing some treatment on it. It's not anything terrible, but something I'll need [to take] a couple days off for I think."
The hamstring has provided solid push off the mound for the 6-foot-4, 245-pound right-hander. He has still been dialing his fastball up to 97 mph, but said velocity can be made up for with other parts of the body. The hamstring has played more of a role in messing with his mechanics and affecting his command, which Hanrahan has struggled with, walking the only two batters he faced Saturday.
"Not being able to repeat your delivery when you're worrying about your hamstring -- if it's going to pull or grab or twist, or what's going to happen to it -- it's something that's in the back of your mind," Hanrahan said. "If you're driving down the street thinking about hitting a car, you have a better chance of hitting a car. So it's something you have to be careful with."
Hanrahan said he only missed four or five days while dealing with the injury in early parts of the 2012 season. He finished that season with a 2.72 ERA in 63 games, going 36-for-40 in save opportunities with the Pirates.
Hanrahan has allowed six runs so far this season, five coming in a blown save to the Orioles earlier this week, while walking five batters in 4 2/3 innings.
"It's frustrating," the closer said. "That's the main part is it's frustrating, because I know when I go out there, I'm not 100 percent. That's the guy that's been out there the last couple games. That's not Joel Hanrahan. And I know that, but I don't know if everybody -- the fans here -- they don't know much because they haven't seen me pitch much.
"So that's not me, that's not the way that I pitch. I feel like once I get my legs underneath me, I can be back to where I was."
Farrell said it's uncertain whether or not Hanrahan will need to spend time on the disabled list.
"Right now, we're hopeful that's not the case," the manager said. "That's not to speculate that it would. Our starters working deep in the game will have some effect on that. As we mentioned to Joel, we'll put our heads together and map out what's best for all involved."
Sox to honor Jackie Scholars, contest winners
BOSTON -- The Red Sox will honor Jackie Robinson Scholars as well as Jackie Robinson essay contest winners during a pregame ceremony Monday morning.
With Major League baseball celebrating Jackie Robinson Day, the Red Sox will also have players and on-field staff wearing No. 42 for the 11:05 a.m. ET game against the Rays.
In 1997, under the direction of Commissioner Bud Selig, Robinson's No. 42 was retired across all of Major League Baseball in an unprecedented tribute.
Rookie outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. talked about what Robinson meant to him.
"Without him, this wouldn't be possible," Bradley said. "He's a very special guy. His will and determination is what keeps us playing this game at such a high intensity."
A New York Times article recently stated that black players from the United States make up just about 8.5 percent of the Major Leagues, compared to about 19 percent at its peak in the mid-1970s.
"Basketball and football -- there are no Minor Leagues, so to speak," Bradley said. "Once you get drafted into those sports, if you're a top-notch player -- and I'm not saying you don't work at it -- but you have so many different levels in baseball and you don't have to go through that in football. You go right up to the top.
"I think it all comes down to preference. It's not really anything you can do to persuade a certain player. It's kind of what you enjoy doing. You're going to choose what you enjoy doing the most."
• David Ortiz was scratched from a rehab start with Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday due to illness. Ortiz, who expected to get 20-25 at-bats before returning to Majors, is 3-for-7 in two games with Pawtucket. "The production is going to tell you about timing, how he feels in the box," Farrell said. "So far, so good. All the reports that have come out each day he's played, it's been very positive."
• Shortstop Stephen Drew is 1-for-10 with two walks in three games since returning from a concussion. Farrell said he's appeared fully healthy. "He's a very solid Major League player," Farrell said. "He's efficient with his actions. He's got good range at shortstop. He's exactly what we hoped and expected him to be."
• Jackie Bradley Jr. was back in the Red Sox's lineup Sunday, playing left field and batting ninth. He's been on the bench against the last two left-handed starters, but the Rays sent right-hander Alex Cobb to the mound Sunday.
• Red Sox starters have held opponents to three runs or fewer in all 10 games this year, entering Sunday. Boston is the first American League team since 1990 to begin a season that way.