Boston Red Sox

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Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel to undergo knee surgery; out 3-6 weeks

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BOSTON — Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was already looking to shore up his beleaguered bullpen when closer Craig Kimbrel was hurt shagging flyballs.

Suddenly, Dombrowski had another big hole to fill.

And he did.

The Red Sox acquired Arizona closer Brad Ziegler early Saturday, hours after learning Kimbrel would likely be sidelined for three-to-six weeks with an injured left knee. He was hurt during BP before Friday’s win over Tampa Bay.

“I took a step for a groundball, heard a pop and didn’t really think it was anything serious,” Kimbrel said in the dugout about 75 minutes before Boston’s game against Tampa Bay.

Kimbrel is expected to have surgery Monday for a medial meniscus tear.

“It’s something we’ve been looking to do, try to add to our bullpen for an extended period,” Dombrowski said. “We went back and forth numerous times, then finally agreed to the deal, really right toward the end of (our) game, during the game.”

Kimbrel is 1-3 with a 3.55 ERA and 17 saves in 19 chances.

“I think that’s the one thing Dave has proven over the course of his career, the proactive-ness or recognizing what our current needs are and being able to anticipate what we’ll need when we go forward,” Boston manager John Farrell said before Boston’s game against the Rays.

Boston acquired Ziegler for two minor leaguers. The 36-year-old right-hander was 2-3 with a 2.82 ERA and 18 saves in 20 opportunities for the Diamondbacks.

Farrell said Ziegler would share the closing duties with 41-year-old right-hander Koji Uehara, who got the save Friday despite allowing a solo homer to Evan Longoria.

Farrell said the team spoke with Ziegler about 1:30 a.m. after Arizona’s game ended in San Francisco.

“We briefly discussed how things are going to shape up,” Farrell said.

Uehara is 2-3 with a 4.96 ERA and three saves. He’s struggled giving up eight homers in just 32 2/3 innings.

In 2012, then-Yankees closer Mariano Rivera tore a ligament in his right knee shagging balls in Kansas City.

Farrell said it was part of Kimbrel’s cardiovascular work.

“Pregame conditioning went fine. There was a change of direction during shagging BP, which is routine, normal,” he said. “This is anomaly. You can’t put guys in bubbles.”

Kimbrel said he won’t reconsider his routine because it was a fluke, and only on a grounder.

“If I was shagging flyballs, maybe,” he said. “I just took a step.”

The Red Sox already had set-up reliever Junichi Tazawa shut down for a few days with a sore shoulder. He’s hasn’t pitched since Sunday and Farrell said he’s unavailable Saturday. They already lost setup man Carson Smith for the season after he underwent elbow reconstructive surgery in late May.

Ziegler was available because the Diamondbacks are far of the NL West chase, 17 back of the Giants. Arizona is 10 behind the New York Mets for the NL’s second wild card.

AP source: Boston given 1-year ban on international amateurs

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NEW YORK (AP) The Boston Red Sox were banned from signing international amateur free agents for one year, a penalty assessed after Major League Baseball concluded the team broke rules on signing bonuses last summer.

MLB concluded the Red Sox and buscones – local trainer/representatives of the players – worked together to evade a $300,000 cap on signing bonuses to five Venezuelan prospects who were 16 at the time: right-hander Cesar Gonzalez, infielders Antonio Pinero and Eduardo Torrealba, and outfielders Albert Guaimaro and Simon Muzziotti.

A person familiar with the investigation said Friday the signing bonuses of those five were pooled with the bonuses of about 10 other players, and more than $300,000 was given to each of the five.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no public comments were authorized.

Boston may not sign international amateur free agents – generally players under age 23 residing outside the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico – for the signing period that starts Saturday and runs through July 1, 2017. The five players were declared free agents and are allowed to keep their prior signing bonuses.

The investigation was first reported by Baseball America and details were first reported by Yahoo.

Boston was subject to the $300,000 signing bonus limit in 2015-16 because it exceeded its bonus pool in 2014-15, when the Red Sox agreed to a $31.5 signing bonus for Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada. The Red Sox took responsibility for breaking the rules, but are not sure who exactly in the Red Sox organization was aware at the time, the person familiar with the investigation said. The violations occurred before Dave Dombrowski was hired last August as president of baseball operations, taking over from general manager Ben Cherington.

“We are not at liberty to comment on an MLB investigation,” Red Sox spokesman Kevin Gregg said.

MLB is investigating whether Venezuelan law allows it to ban the buscones from representing the five players in the signing period that starts Saturday.

Video: Xander Bogaerts hits a Little League grand slam against the Phillies

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Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts helped his team take a commanding 7-0 lead in the fourth inning against the Phillies on Saturday, clearing the bases and coming around to score on what should have been only a double, but turned out to be a Little League grand slam.

Bogaerts slashed an Alec Asher offering down the right field line. Right fielder Aaron Altherr corralled the ball and hit cutoff man Cesar Hernandez. Hernandez fired a weak throw to catcher Carlos Ruiz, bouncing off of him and into foul territory. Betts, at third base, used the opportunity to scamper home. Bogaerts was credited with a double and three RBI, advancing to third base on the relay throw home and scoring on Hernandez’s throwing error.

David Ortiz followed up with a solo home run, his 30th of the season and the 496th of his career.