The Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy and the Boston Herald's Steve Buckley aren't sure the Celtics can get past the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals . . . but it sure looks like they're going to get there, now that they have a 3-1 lead over Atlanta and the Sixers are on the verge of eliminating the Bulls.
BOSTON - For a bullpen that could use all the help it can get right now, there's the prospect that Koji Uehara could rejoin the Red Sox on Labor Day.
Uehara, who's been out since July 20 with a strained pectoral muscle, threw a bullpen Monday at Fenway that impressed John Farrell.
"He came out of today's work session in good fashion,'' said Farrell. "It was 25 pitches to hitters with good intensity to both his fastball and split. It's been impressive to see how he's handled the volume, and now, three times on the mound, the intensity to his bullpens and BP.''
Next up for Uehara will be a bullpen session Wednesday morning, followed by a live batting practice session Saturday in Oakland.
Since both Pawtucket's and Portland's seasons are over on Labor Day, Uehara won't have the option of going on a rehab assignment to face hitters before being activated.
But the Sox believe that he can build arm strength through these side sessions and BP sessions -- enough so that he could return to the active roster soon.
"We'll re-assess where is after Sunday,'' said Farrell, "and I wouldn't rule out activation [after that]. What we've done with Koji is just review how he feels after each session and we'll take it from there.''
Uehara, 41, is 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA, and while he's had a propensity for giving up homers (eight in just 36 innings), he had been throwing better before being injured.
And given the performance of the bullpen in general and the recent poor showings from Matt Barnes, the Sox would welcome Uehara back as soon as he's ready.
"The one thing that Koji has proven to us,'' noted Farrell, "is that, even with limited spring training work [in the past], he's been a very effective pitcher for us and obviously, he has a chance to make a very positive impact once he does return.''
Uehara's progress since late July has been a pleasant surprise for the Sox, who feared at the time of the injury that he might be done for the season.
"To his credit,'' said Farrell, "he's worked his tail off and advanced fairly rapidly and he's withstanding the intensity that he's put into [the work]. A healthy Koji certainly adds to our bullpen.
Maybe Tim Tebow could be the eighth-inning guy?
OK, OK. Maybe not. Still, the Red Sox will be among the “roughly half” of the MLB teams who will attend the former Heisman Trophy winner and Patriots’ 2013 training camp phenomenon’s baseball tryout on Tuesday in Los Angeles.
Tim Tebow's baseball workout tomorrow will be attended by scouts and executives from roughly half of the 30 @MLB clubs.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) August 29, 2016
Dave Dombrowski says the #RedSox will send a scout to watch Tim Tebow's workout.— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) August 23, 2016
Tebow is 29 and hasn’t played organized baseball since he was a junior in high school. He was an All-State performer in Florida back then.
Based on his accuracy and mechanics throwing a football, maybe DH would suit Tebow better than the mound.
Dustin Pedroia is out of the Red Sox starting lineup for the second night in a row as they open a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays tonight at Fenway Park.
Pedroia, who left the team Sunday to attend a family funeral, told manager John Farrell that he might be able to return during the game Monday night.
"Based on his texts he's envisioning a walk-off hit in the ninth," Farrell said before the game Sunday. "Much like Pedey's fashion, that was his parting text this morning before he left."
For the second game in a row, Brock Holt will play second base in place of Pedroia and bat leadoff. The Red Sox lost 10-4 to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday night.
Right-hander Rick Porcello (17-3, 3.23 ERA) will go for his 18th win and try to match Dave “Boo” Ferris in 1946 as the only Red Sox pitchers to go 13-0 at Fenway Park. Right-hander Matt Andriese (6-5, 3.71) starts for the Rays.
Logan Forsythe 2B
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Evan Longoria 2B
Brad Miller 1B
Matt Duffy SS
Logan Morrison DH
Nick Franklin RF
Corey Dickerson LF
Bobby Wilson C
Matt Andriese RHP
Brock Holt 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Chris Young LF
Sandy Leon C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Rick Porcello RHP