5/11/2014 5:29 P.M. ET
Bradley still growing into big leaguer
By Dave Sessions / Special to MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The maturation of rookie center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. into a more disciplined player is an ongoing process, manager John Farrell said, and the Red Sox skipper believes he's seeing progress.
"Without a doubt," Farrell said. "One, he has the ability to impact every game when he steps on the field defensively. Second, he is becoming more familiar with how pitchers are attacking him. … There are certain types of pitchers I think he's more readily able to handle, and those that are challenging him right now, he's learning ways to attack them."
Bradley went 2-for-3 Saturday, his sixth multi-hit game of the season, tied for the third-most among American League rookies. But prior to Saturday, he endured a five-game stretch in which he hit just .059 and struck out six times in 17 at-bats.
"There's growing pains, that's for sure," Bradley said, "But it's a long season, it's still early and I have a lot of time to get better."
Bradley's defense has been outstanding for the most part. He made an exceptional catch in the deepest part of Globe Life Park on Friday, though he took an awkward route and failed to come down with Alex Rios's triple on Saturday.
"He's an aggressive outfielder, he likes to play a shallow center field and that was one play that the ball carried over his head," Farrell said. "But his routes and reads are spot on and as good as I think we'll see in the big leagues."
Boston's stolen-base percentage 'alarming'
ARLINGTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell did not mince words Sunday when asked about his team's MLB-worst 50 percent stolen-base percentage this season.
"Not good is how I look at it," Farrell said.
The Red Sox were caught stealing twice Saturday, keeping them at 11 steals (28th in the Majors). Farrell said the difficulty stealing bases has forced the team to run less; indeed, their 22 attempts are the sixth-fewest in baseball.
"The efficiency rate is alarming, almost to the point of saying we need to shut down our running game unless it is determined by us that we can be 100 percent sure, or more than 50 percent sure of success," Farrell said. "We're always going to look to take the extra base whenever we can, but the straight-out steal has been something where we've given away far too many outs on the bases."
Last season, they led the Majors with an 87 percent success rate, stealing 123 bags with only 19 caught.
"Could we have caught teams by surprise last year? Possibly," Farrell said. "When you look at the success rate of nearly 90 percent or high 80s last year, teams are defending against that more."
Victorino's defensive play draws praise
ARLINGTON -- Shane Victorino had a robust night at the plate Saturday, going 3-for-4 with four RBI, but that wasn't what he or his manager liked most about his performance.
Victorino said Sunday that the play he made in right field in the eighth inning was the best thing he did all night in Saturday's 8-3 win over the Rangers. Elvis Andrus hit a line drive that bounced into the corner and Victorino got there quickly to cut the ball off, running into the wall that runs parallel -- and very close -- to the foul line at Globe Life Park. Victorino's hustle and strong throw to second base held Andrus to a single, and the Red Sox turned a double play on the next pitch.
"That turns out to be a pivotal play," Farrell said. "You're looking at a double. At the time it was a five-run game. In this ballpark with the offense we're going up against, keeping a double play in order has a major impact. … When somebody looks at Vic's game last night, they see the RBIs and the base hits. To me the play in the right-field corner is equal to all that he did at the plate."
Victorino acknowledged that the play probably went unnoticed to the majority of people who saw it, but he knew it was important nonetheless.
"You do the little things in the game, eventually, over a period of time, that little stuff that you do is going to come back for you," he said.
• Will Middlebrooks was originally in the lineup Sunday, but the Red Sox third baseman was scratched for precautionary reasons after experiencing soreness in his right hand while hitting in the cage prior to the game. He was on the hand by a pitch late in Saturday's game. He is considered day-to-day and is expected to be available when the Red Sox play at Minnesota on Tuesday.
"We'll see how he feels on Tuesday," manager John Farrell said. "If there's added tests or imaging that's needed, we'll take a look at it at that point. But today it was as much precautionary as anything."
• Boston's 13-9 record (.591) starting on April 16 is the third-best in the American League behind Detroit (15-7, .682) and Baltimore (14-7, .667). That followed a 5-9 start to the season.
• The Red Sox are getting another day off Monday, making it the fourth scheduled off-day the team will have in a 22-day span that began April 28. It will be their third day off in an eight-day stretch beginning last Monday.
"When you compare it to the stretch that we're going to embark on after Monday, when it's 38 of 39 -- you kind of wonder, where's the logic to it?" manager John Farrell said.
Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.