NEW YORK -- Rookie phenom Mookie Betts was called up to the big leagues Saturday to help spark a recently lackluster Red Sox offense. Sunday night in the Bronx, it seemed that his mere presence in the lineup was enough to spark 12 hits and six walks in an 8-5 victory over the Yankees.
Making his Major League debut in right field, he grounded into a double play in his first at-bat, but his next plate appearance was much more memorable.
On a second-pitch fastball from righty Chase Whitley in the fourth inning, Betts pushed a grounder up the middle into center field, acquiring his first Major League hit. Hoping to push his luck, he attempted to steal second base but was thrown out by Brian McCann to end the inning.
"It was great," Betts said of his first hit. "I mean, going up my first at-bat I had a little jitters, but once I saw the first pitch ... it's the same game I've been playing the whole time. Not wanting to put any extra pressure on myself today, so I think I did that pretty well."
His play in right field wasn't as successful, but was equally confident. In the fifth inning, in the only play that really tested his speed, Betts dove for an Ichiro Suzuki line drive. The ball missed his glove by inches and rolled to the wall, allowing Ichiro to get a triple.
Betts finished 1-for-3 with a nine-pitch walk and scored a run.
"I thought he controlled each and every one of his at-bats, particularly the walk," said manager John Farrell. "He takes a borderline 3-2 pitch for the walk. He showed good presence in the batter's box, might have been a little bit over aggressive on the defense with the dive of Ichiro's ball, but for his first outing, he showed very well."
With homer No. 450, Papi makes All-Star statement
NEW YORK -- David Ortiz might be having an ordinary season by his standards. But it's one a lot of other players could live with.
In Sunday night's game against the Yankees, Big Papi launched a three-run moonshot to help lead the Red Sox to an 8-5 victory.
The homer was the 19th of the season for Ortiz, and No. 450 of his career.
"Just another homer for now," said Ortiz. "I'll be counting later."
Ortiz is 37th on baseball's all-time home run list, and two behind Hall of Famer and Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski.
"It's just special, with a legend like that having your name being mentioned with him," said Ortiz. "It's pretty cool."
By the end of the week, Ortiz will find out if he is an All-Star for the 10th time in the last 11 years.
He has been trailing Nelson Cruz in the balloting at designated hitter the last several weeks. But even if Ortiz doesn't make it as a starter, there's a chance he could be voted in as a reserve by his peers, or perhaps manager John Farrell, who will lead the American League squad in Minneapolis.
How does Ortiz evaluate his season so far?
"I think I'm doing good," Ortiz said. "I am where I like to be. I could be hitting better for average, but it's not my choice. All I can do is put a good swing on the ball and make sure to just hit it in nobody's zone."
The lefty slugger is hitting .253, but his OPS is a typically sturdy .837.
Ortiz seemed to take some extra joy as he rounded third in Sunday's game, pointing to some familiar faces in the stands.
"Oh, my family was sitting right there on third base," said Ortiz. "My son, he always enjoys daddy going deep. He was dancing."
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.
Lester says conversations continue about contract
NEW YORK -- Though Red Sox ace Jon Lester didn't pitch on Sunday night, he was surrounded by a crowd of reporters after his team beat the Yankees, 8-5.
This, after a report by ESPN's Buster Olney stated that the Red Sox have re-engaged in talks with Lester's representatives about a contract, perhaps making one last effort to get him signed before free agency.
"I mean, I don't think they've started anything. I know the conversation has been there throughout the season on different topics," said Lester. "Like I said from the beginning of the season, everything is amicable. Conversations continue, but nothing as far as contract or numbers or anything like that."
The Red Sox and Lester have both worked hard to keep the discussions private. For that reason, Lester was a little annoyed that he had to talk about the situation after his team recorded a series win in New York.
"Like I've said before, I think it's an added distraction that we don't need right now," Lester said. "We need to focus on playing good baseball and getting back to the top of the East and going from there, hopefully getting to the playoffs. We don't need to be worried about my contract stuff.
"That's the last thing I want these guys to have to answer questions about. I mean, kind of like tonight -- we got a big win, took a series from the Yankees, playing good baseball and we're sitting here talking about this. This is the last thing we need to be talking about right now."
Lester is having a solid season thus far, notching a 9-7 record and a 2.92 ERA in 17 starts.
Bogaerts excited after the Netherlands' World Cup win
NEW YORK -- Most players in Major League Baseball are either rooting for the United States or have seen their country get eliminated in this year's World Cup. But Red Sox third baseman Xander Bogaerts' experience has been a rare exception.
Bogaerts is from Aruba, one of the four constituent countries attached to the Netherlands, and he had a lot to cheer about Sunday, when the Dutch defeated Mexico 2-1 thanks to an extra-time penalty kick.
"Down 1-0, probably 80 something minutes, close to losing," Bogaerts said after cheering in the clubhouse earlier. "They tied it up, got the penalty, won 2-1."
The victorious penalty kick was the result of a somewhat controversial foul call in the box. Was it a fair call?
"Why not? It's helpful for my side," Bogaerts joked. "I'm rooting for them all the way. Hopefully, they can win it all.
"I used to play soccer as a kid but never thought I had enough talent. It's unbelievable how talented they are."
As for the Netherlands' chances, Bogaerts knows they have the talent, especially after falling short in the final to Spain in 2010.
"[The] Dutch are really good at soccer," he said. "Last World Cup, they came out second, so they're on a pretty good roll, and hopefully it continues."
Farrell: Red Sox have utmost respect for Tanaka
NEW YORK -- By now it's been well-documented.
Mike Napoli's shouts of "What an idiot!" to his teammates after he homered off a Masahiro Tanaka elevated fastball Saturday night quickly took over New York headlines Sunday. But manager John Farrell quieted any more suspicion about his first baseman's intentions.
"The one thing we don't ever want our players to be is non-emotional," said Farrell. "I'm aware of the comment made last night. I didn't hear it at the time. But I know this: We've got the utmost respect for Tanaka and I know Mike Napoli does.
"If his comment was based on emotion, in that moment, that wasn't directed to be derogatory towards him. It was a reaction."
Farrell also seemed to accept that the microphones, which caught his slugger's words, are to be expected at this level.
"My understanding is that they're looking to capture an emotion that might enhance the telecast," he said. "From my understanding, those [microphones] aren't directly inside the dugout, but are powerful enough to pick up things that can be said inside there.
"To me, the microphone is part of the package that FOX buys from MLB. That's part of what we live with."
Hitting coach Colbrunn set to rejoin Red Sox
NEW YORK -- The Red Sox received positive news about hitting coach Greg Colbrunn, who was hospitalized prior to a June 4 game against the Indians after suffering a subarachnoid hemorrhage. He is currently in Boston, and will join the team for the start of the Cubs series Monday.
"He's doing well, he'll be back tomorrow," said manager John Farrell. "One thing we're trying to get a better gauge on is the endurance inside a given day, how many hours on his feet. ... There's going to be a gradual build up."
Colbrunn experienced dizziness prior to the start of the game in Cleveland and was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic, where it was determined that he had suffered the hemorrhage.
Minor League hitting coordinator Tim Hyers has been with the team in his place to help assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez.
"Tim will remain until we get a better gauge on Greg's capabilities for the time being," said Farrell. "[Colbrunn's] been cleared medically, otherwise he wouldn't be returning to us. So he's made steady and quick progress over the last 7-10 days. We're looking forward to him getting back to us."
• Red Sox backup catcher David Ross is starting to get locked in, and more playing time could be in his future.
"There could be," said Farrell. "And he has caught other guys against the left-handed starters. To not have A.J. [Pierzynski] catch three consecutive days is part of it. I don't want to say David Ross is only going to catch Jon Lester. I think he's done a very good job every time he's been between the lines. That's a possibility."
• Mike Carp will make another rehab start on Monday, this time starting in the field and getting another three or four at-bats.
• Betts started in right field for the Red Sox on Sunday night while Brock Holt replaced Bogaerts at third base. Farrell indicated that a carousel of his outfield and left side of the infield will likely be in motion before he decides upon anything permanently.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Jake Kring-Schreifels is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.