Pre-game notes: Breslow close to returning

Pre-game notes: Breslow close to returning
May 4, 2013, 8:30 pm
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Sox will welcome back lefty Craig Breslow soon, perhaps as soon as early this week as they return home to begin a seven-game homestand Monday.    

"He's getting closer,'' said Farrell. "The most important thing is that with each outing, he's gotten more crisp with all of his pitches and is moving in the right direction.''    

Breslow, who missed all of spring training with shoulder inflammation, pitched a scoreless inning for Pawtucket Saturday as part of his rehab assignment.    

He's now made five appearnaces - one for Double A Portland and four more for Pawtucket. Combined, he's allowed one run over 3 2/3 innings pitched while recording four strikeouts.    

"Very clean inning of work, just nine pitches,'' said Farrell of Breslow's Saturday outing. "His velocity's been consistent with what he's been pitching with of late.''    

When Breslow returns, he'll likely be used in late innings -- against both lefties and righties -- while Andrew Miller, currently the only lefty in he Boston bullpen, will be used more as a matchup specialist earlier in the game.    

''Craig is a proven mid- to late-inning quality reliever,'' said Farrell. "Anytime you can add that experience and performance level, that's going to be a good thing.''    

To make room for Breslow, it's expected that Alex Wilson will be returned to Pawtucket.    

* The Sox worked out Pedro Ciriaco for a bit at first base early Saturday afternoon.    

Beyond starter Mike Napoli, the Sox have used Mike Carp and Daniel Nava at first, but Farrell said there may be times when they pinch-run Ciriaco for Napoli late in games and want the flexibility to have Ciriaco play first so as to not use up another player off the bench.    

"Just expanding the versatility of Pedro,'' offered Farrell.         

* Sunday should offer an interesting pitching matchup, with the Sox sending No. 1 starter Jon Lester (4-0, 3.11) out to face Yu Darvish  (5-1, 2.33). Darvish leads the major leagues with 58 strikeouts.    

"A good pitching matchup draws the attention of everyone that comes to the ballpark,'' said Farrell. "Tomorrow, hopefully, that's the way it plays out. We know that Yu is good, but I'm looking forward to Jon Lester going back out and pitching like he has for four of the six starts that he's made for us.''    

This will mark the third time in Lester's seven starts that he's drawn the other team's ace as an opponent. He faced CC Sabathia in the season opener on April 1 and won, then later out-dueled Tampa Bay's David Price at Fenway on April 13.    

Meanwhile, Darvish faced the Red Sox just once in his rookie season of 2012 and was hit around for six runs on 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings in an Aug. 6 appearance at Fenway.    

Darvish was asked if the Red Sox will see a different pitcher on Sunday than the one they saw last August.    

"I couldn't really comment on that,'' said Darvish coyly. "I'd like you to ask the Boston hitters after the game on Sunday.''