BOSTON — Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes reached up to 96 mph with his fastball during a rehab outing for Double-A Portland in Hartford on Thursday.

He pitched a perfect fourth inning. He got a groundout to first base and two strikeouts (one swinging, one looking).

Barnes might be activated this coming week.

The 32-year-old righty had another rehab outing for Portland Friday. He pitched one inning and got the win in Portland’s 7-6 win over the Yard Goats at Hartford, Connecticut. Barnes allowed one run and one hit and one walk.

It was the first time pitching back-to-back days on this rehab assignment.

Rich Hill also was in Hartford on Thursday to make a rehab start. Hill told Manager Alex Cora that he was impressed with the carry on Barnes’ fastball. Barnes’ fastball often has sat 94-95 mph on his rehab assignment.


“It was a very competitive fastball,” Cora said Hill told him. “It had carry. … He had the carry he had early in the season or two years ago. So that was encouraging. Barnsey felt good about it.”

Cora also spoke with Portland Manager Chad Epperson who said Barnes felt comfortable with his delivery.

“The breaking ball was good. So he has one tonight and then hopefully everything goes well,” Cora said.

Barnes will meet with the Red Sox staff at Fenway on Saturday. It then will be determined his next step.

“The most important thing with him is getting the fastball back and the carry on the fastball,” Cora said. “When he’s right, he can get lefties and righties out. So that’s an advantage he has when he’s right. So hopefully we can get that version and use him at will and get people out.”

ROYALS:  The Kansas City Royals activated All-Star catcher Salvador Perez from the injured list and put him in the starting lineup against the New York Yankees.


The reigning major league home run leader was set to bat third as the designated hitter barely a month after surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb.

“He’s the heart and soul of our club,” Manager Mike Matheny said. “We’re really fortunate to have him back.”

Kansas City initially estimated the 32-year-old Perez would need eight weeks to recover after surgery June 24, but doctors assured the club he was ready for big league action.

“At that point, I think we take whatever we think our preconcieved idea was of how long it should take and throw it out the window,” Matheny said.

Perez, a seven-time All-Star, played three minor league rehab games with Triple-A Omaha and went 4 for 8. He caught one game and was the DH in two others.

He warmed up prior to Friday night’s game with a first baseman’s mitt, although the five-time Gold Glove winner hasn’t played the position since 2020.


Perez led the majors with 48 homers in 2021 but was slumping this year prior to the surgery. He’s hitting .211 with 11 home runs, 34 RBI and a career-low .680 OPS in 57 games. He’s in the first year of a team-record $82 million, four-year contract.

The clubhouse leader returns to a club that could look quite different in a few days. The Royals entered Friday 39-60 and in last place in the AL Central after trading outfielder Andrew Benintendi to the Yankees on Wednesday. They could unload more players before Tuesday’s trade deadline.

Rookie shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. was held out of the lineup for a fifth straight game with right hamstring soreness, but Matheny is optimistic he’ll play before the end of the weekend. Witt ramped up his pregame work Friday, including a lengthy batting practice.

The 22-year-old Witt is batting .258 with 14 homers, 51 RBIs and a .760 OPS.

TRADE: Tyler Naquin went to the first-place Mets from the last-place Reds and was on the bench for Friday night’s series opener at Miami.

New York acquired the left-handed-hitting outfielder and lefty reliever Phillip Diehl in a deal for two teenage minor leaguers, outfielder Hector Rodriguez and right-hander Jose Acuna.


Naquin, a first-round draft pick 10 years ago, was batting .246 with seven homers and 33 RBI in 56 games for the Reds. He homered and drove in two runs Thursday afternoon in a 7-6 loss to the Marlins.

PADRES: All-Star right-hander Joe Musgrove and his hometown San Diego Padres are nearing agreement on a $100 million, five-year contract that would start next year, according to two people with knowledge of the deal.


GUARDIANS 4, RAYS 1: José Ramirez hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the fifth, Shane Bieber struck out eight in seven innings and Cleveland won at St. Petersburg, Florida.

Ramirez’s 21st homer, a drive off Jeffrey Springs (3-3), gave Cleveland a 3-1 lead. Ramirez added a two-out RBI single in the eighth after Steven Kwan’s third single.

Bieber (5-6) is just 2-3 in nine starts since June 3. He needed 26 pitches in the first, when Ji-Man Choi hit a run-scoring single. The Rays stranded the bases loaded when Christian Bethancourt struck out.


CARDINALS 6, NATIONALS 2: Nolan Gorman and Lars Nootbaar hit back-to-back homers in the sixth inning, and St. Louis won at Washington.

Washington’s Juan Soto went 1 for 4 in what could be his final homestand with Tuesday’s trade deadline looming. The Nationals were 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

METS 6, MARLINS 4: Starling Marte homered, tripled and drove in three runs, Brandon Nimmo broke an eighth-inning tie with a two-run shot and New York overcame two early deficits to win at Miami.

Nimmo finished with three RBI from the leadoff spot and Marte was a double short of the cycle for the NL East leaders, who won their fourth straight and maintained a three-game lead over second-place Atlanta.

TIGERS 4, BLUE JAYS 2: Willi Castro homered for the second time in two games, Victor Reyes had three hits, and Detroit  won at Toronto.

Javier Báez reached base three times, Harold Castro hit a two-run single and Riley Greene scored twice for the Tigers, who came in having lost 5 of 8 since the All-Star break.


The Blue Jays lost All-Star right-hander Alek Manoah in the sixth inning after he was hit on the right elbow by Jonathan Schoop’s comebacker. The team said X-rays revealed no fracture.

PHILLIES 4, PIRATES 2: Rhys Hoskins drilled a go-ahead two-run homer in the top of the 10th to lift Philadelphia past the Pirates  at Pittsburgh.

Hoskins finished off a four-hit night by taking the third pitch he saw from Duane Underwood Jr. (0-3) and sending it to the grassy area beyond the center-field wall for his 20th home run of the season to give the Phillies their third straight victory.

ORIOLES 6, REDS 2: Cedric Mullins hit a tie-breaking, two-run single in a four-run ninth inning, and Baltimore won at Cincinnati to move two games over .500 for the first time since April 2021.

YANKEES 11, ROYALS 5: Aaron Judge became the first big leaguer with 40 homers this season, smashed a grand slam for No. 41 and robbed a home run in right field as New York rallied to beat visiting Kansas City.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa lined a tie-breaking single in the eighth inning as New York completed its major league-leading 29th comeback victory.

A free agent at the end of the season, Judge is on pace for 66 home runs, which would top Roger Maris’ club record of 61 in 1961. Judge, Maris and Babe Ruth in 1928 are the only Yankees with at least 40 homers by the end of July, per

BRAVES 5, DIAMONDBACKS 2: Austin Riley had a homer and three RBI, Kyle Wright earned his NL-leading 13th victory and Atlanta beat visiting Arizona.

Riley homered in the first and drove in runs with doubles in the third and fifth. He has 11 homers, 24 RBI and a .427 average this month.

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