Royals-Red Sox Preview

The Associated Press

The Boston Red Sox may have an optimistic view of the future, but their present is still a problem.

Sporting a new, less-expensive look, the Red Sox try to bounce back from a frustrating defeat when they continue their four-game home set with the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

Hours after the club finalized a blockbuster deal that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers for first baseman James Loney and four other players, Boston (60-67) blew a six-run lead en route to a 10-9, 12-inning loss to Kansas City on Saturday night.

Though the deal will save the Red Sox more than $250 million in salary from now through 2018, it doesn't figure to improve their results on the field in 2012. They are 7-16 in August, 13 1/2 games behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees and are highly likely to miss the postseason for a third straight year.

"The bottom line is we haven't won enough games. That goes back to last September,'' general manager Ben Cherington said. "We just haven't performed on the field. This is not about the four players we gave up - anything particularly they did wrong. We just didn't perform as a team.

"We just felt like to get to be a team we believe in and a team the fans deserve, to sustain winning year after year, it was going to take something more than cosmetic changes. It was going to take something bold."

Loney, who hit .254 with four homers and 33 RBIs in 114 games for the Dodgers this season, could make his Boston debut Sunday. All-Star David Ortiz, however, might miss a second straight game with soreness in his right Achilles tendon.

Ortiz, who missed 35 games because of the injury, returned Friday to go 2 for 4 with two RBIs in a 4-3 win before sitting out Saturday's loss.

"We're going to meet and evaluate his situation again," manager Bobby Valentine told the Red Sox's official website. "It wasn't as pain-free as he was hoping."

Reliever Alfredo Aceves will not play after the team suspended him three games for storming out of Valentine's office, upset after Andrew Bailey closed Friday's contest.

Felix Doubront (10-6, 4.70 ERA) will be on the mound Sunday after Boston activated him from the disabled list (right knee contusion). The left-hander, 0-2 with a 6.97 ERA in four starts since beating the Chicago White Sox on July 18, allowed four runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 5-3 loss at Cleveland in his last outing Aug. 9.

He gave up five runs - three earned - in 6 1-3 innings of an 11-5 win at Kansas City on May 7.

The Royals (56-69) counter with rookie Will Smith (4-5, 5.40), who will make his first appearance against the Red Sox. The left-hander allowed four runs over 14 innings while winning his previous two starts before he gave up that many runs in 3 2-3 frames of a 5-1 loss at Tampa Bay on Monday.

"Falling behind too much, just wasn't very good," Smith told the Royals' official website. "Bad location, couldn't execute anything. You have those days, but you hate having them."

Tony Abreu's two-out RBI single in the 12th helped Kansas City avoid a third straight defeat Saturday. Alex Gordon, who had four RBIs, is 9 for 22 (.409) with six doubles and seven RBIs in his last five games at Fenway Park.

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