7/12/2014 9:48 P.M. ET
Adjustments at plate starting to pay off for Bradley
By Mike Vernon / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- While Xander Bogaerts has not been able to convert his work at the plate into success, Jackie Bradley Jr. has done the opposite.
Bradley's batting average hovered around .200 for May and June before beginning to creep back up in July.
"He's made some tangible adjustments to his setup in the box," manager John Farrell said. "He's using a more open setup that's letting him see some pitches better, and he's done a lot of early work to create and maintain a more even swing path. I think we're seeing less swing and miss, we're seeing strikeouts diminish and we're seeing more consistent contact."
Bradley is hitting .375 in July with five strikeouts in his 24 at-bats. His season average has crept up to .223 after starting the month at .208.
Bradley was 2-for-4 with one run Friday night and has hit safely in six of seven games in July.
"I think it's his recognition that he was being exploited in certain parts of the strike zone," Farrell said. "Those adjustments were required."
Farrell: Bogaerts working hard to break out of slump
HOUSTON -- Xander Bogaerts is putting the work in, manager John Farrell said, but that doesn't mean it's translating to in-game success.
It's not so much a matter of the work Bogaerts is putting in, either. It's more about the pressure of needing to snap out of his hitting slump and whether or not to trust the changes he's trying to make.
"There's a lot of early work going on," Farrell said. "Where it seemingly hasn't gained traction yet is taking it into games. Not uncommon for guys to revert back to some of the old habits even though they're working on some things currently. That's what we see Xander going through right now."
Entering Saturday's game, Bogaerts had nine hits in his past 100 at-bats for a .090 average with 31 strikeouts. On June 3, Bogaerts was hitting .304 after going 2-for-4 with a homer against the Indians. After going 0-for-4 Friday against the Astros, he was hitting .234 and has hit one homer since the June 3 game.
The rookie infielder finally showed some signs of breaking out of the slump, going 2-for-4 with two singles in the Red Sox's 3-2 loss to the Astros. Bogaerts said the difference Saturday was that he was swinging at strikes rather than chasing balls, which he said he had been doing.
"I just tried to go up there, tried to hit the ball hard," Bogaerts said. "Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't."
"He's still not fully on time," Farrell said. "Hopefully today's a little bit of a confidence boost for him and starts to get him going a little more consistently."
On Wednesday, Farrell decided to pinch-hit for Bogaerts in the eighth inning with the Red Sox trailing by one run with two runners on base and two outs. With two outs and runners in scoring position, Bogaerts is hitting .081 this season.
Farrell was asked Saturday about how he weighs what's best for Bogaerts against what's best for the Red Sox.
"What's right for our team long term is to get a productive Xander Bogaerts," Farrell said. "Keep in mind we've done some things recently here in a pinch-hit situation to look to win a ballgame. That may be the case going forward, but we don't lose sight that we still have confidence and know he's going to be an impact player."
Farrell said Bogaerts' attitude has remained positive during the stretch, but added that he's a conscientious player with a strong desire to do well, causing some of the ebbing and flowing of his confidence based purely off result.
"Part of that is not only trusting his work that's going on but slowing the game down mentally," Farrell said. "There's the competitive spirit inside of everyone that says you want to get it done right now, and sometimes that's when the reverting back to old habits take over, and we're working through that right now."
Victorino scratched from Saturday's rehab outing
HOUSTON -- The Red Sox scratched Shane Victorino from his rehab start for Double-A Portland on Saturday, and he is expected to play in the Futures at Fenway game on Sunday for Class A short-season Lowell.
The decision to skip the game was made by the Red Sox's medical staff. The club said it was "not a matter of increased symptoms, but we will adjust his schedule."
Victorino played seven innings in right field Friday for Lowell and went 0-for-2 with a walk as he recovers from hamstring and back injuries. He's 0-for-4 since restarting his rehab assignment on Thursday.
The veteran outfielder was hitting .242 before going to the disabled list on May 23.
Mike Vernon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.