boston — Boston’s Adrian Gonzalez and the Dodgers’ James Loney were scratched from their team’s starting lineups Friday night as the clubs tried to finalize a major trade.
The Red Sox also were discussing sending pitcher Josh Beckett, left fielder Carl Crawford and infielder Nick Punto to Los Angeles, a baseball official informed of the discussions said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcements were made.
Gonzalez was removed from the Red Sox’s lineup minutes before a game against Kansas City, and Loney was pulled from Los Angeles’ lineup against Miami.
Boston began the day seven games under .500 and with little or no postseason hopes. If the trade is completed, the Red Sox would be relieved of a huge salary burden, assuming the Dodgers pick up most of what is owed. Gonzalez, Crawford and Beckett are due $261 million from 2013-18.
The Red Sox have plummeted after being one of baseball’s best teams for most of last season. They went 8-18 after their collapse began on Sept. 4 last year and they are 65-84 since the skid began.
VOTTO CLOSE TO RETURN
First baseman Joey Votto thinks he’s close to rejoining the Cincinnati Reds.
Votto took ground balls on the field Friday as part of his workout before the start of a series against the St. Louis Cardinals. He’s had two operations since July 17 to repair torn cartilage in his left knee.
Votto was close to returning this month, but re-injured the knee while practicing sliding.
CLEMENS NOT THINKING RETURN
Roger Clemens said he’s not ready to return to the major leagues. Clemens, 50, is scheduled to start today for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League. He dismissed the idea that this is a first step toward an eventual big league return.
Clemens said, “I’m nowhere near major league ready, nor have I been training or pitching in that type of mode.”
Houston Astros owner Jim Crane told KRIV-TV the team is open to the idea of adding Clemens and they are sending a scout to the game.
The Yankees activated their ace left-hander, CC Sabathia, to start the opener of a three-game series against Cleveland on Friday. ... Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera was back in the lineup with a heavily taped right ankle as the designated hitter against the Angels on Friday night. Angels first baseman Albert Pujols was not in the lineup because of an injured right calf. ... The Pirates selected the contract of first baseman Jeff Clement, taken No. 3 overall by the Seattle Mariners in the 2005 draft, from Triple-A Indianapolis and claimed reliever Hisanori Takahashi off waivers from the Angels.