TORONTO -- If John Lackey is going to be sidelined for any period of time -- or even for just one start -- it seems likely that the club will use Alfredo Aceves as his replacement in the starting rotation.
"I think it's probably best to get through [Sunday, when an MRI will be performed in Boston],'' said manager John Farrell, "and factor everything in that we do get on the information front.''
The Sox' options, frankly are limited. Franklin Morales would ordinarily be a candidate, but he's been battling lower back issues since the start of spring training and is on the disabled list, having yet to appear in a game of any sort.
The timetable calls for him to work up to throwing in some extended spring training games in Florida before beginning a rehab assignment with a minor-league affiliate. That will take weeks at a minimum.
Allen Webster, obtained in the blockbuster deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, was brilliant in Grapefruit League action and impressive in his first start of the season for Pawtucket Friday night. But on Friday, a club official, when asked when Webster might be expected to contribute to the major league staff, responded: "Maybe June.''
Friday's start was the first of Webster's pro career above Double-A and the Sox are determined not to rush him to the big leagues and derail his development.
Another possibility could be journeyman Graham Godfrey, whom the Sox obtained from Oakland last December and who has some (limited) big-league experience.
Aceves came in for Lackey in the fifth inning and was given all the time he needed to get ready. After finishing the at-bat with Jose Reyes that Lackey had begun and walking him, he got a flyout, allowed a single and groundout to end the inning.
In the sixth, he issued two walks and a three-run homer to Colby Rasmus, but then allowed just one more baserunner over the final two innings.
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Lost in the news of Lackey's injury was how anemic the Red Sox offense was against J.A. Happ and three Toronto relievers.
The Sox got a leadoff double from Jacoby Ellsbury in the first and then didn't collect another hit until Dustin Pedroia beat out a single to the shortstop hole with two in the ninth.
"He used his changeup in key spots, including that 3-and-2 count to Pedroia [in the third] to get the pop-up,'' said John Farrell of Happ. "You couldn't sit on any one area. We had the one opporutnity where he walked a couple of guys (in the third), but he made some pitches to get out of any jams.''
Both losses this season season have come against lefty starters: Andy Pettitte limited the Sox to a single run over eight innings Thursday at Yankee Stadium.
By adding the likes of Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino (a switch-hitter who's much more effective from the right side against lefties), the Sox were supposed to crush left-handed pitching.
Instead, the Sox are 1-2 against opposing lefthanded starters. And against three lefties here in Toronto (Happ and relievers Brett Cecil and Aaron Loup), the Sox are a listless 2-for-25.