ARLINGTON, Texas - The injury news was nearly all positive Friday for the Red Sox, who had Shane Victorino back in the starting lineup for the first time in nine days, with the promise of reliever Andrew Bailey returning to the mound as early as Saturday.
Victorino, who missed the last seven games and two entire series with lower back soreness, was in right field, hitting in his customary No. 2 spot in the batting order as the Red Sox began a weekend series with Texas.
"It's good to have Shane back on the field for us,'' said manager John Farrell, "not only from the two-hole but defensively. He gives us some additional speed at the top of the order.''
Farrell said the Sox will consult with Victorino about how much to play him in the first few days, "whether it's on an everyday basis, an every-other-day basis, just to get back in the flow of things.''
Farrell said Victorino is "full-go. With all the tests we put him though, there shouldn't be any restrictions or limitations on whether he's able to steal a bag or hit from either side of the bag - he's full-go.''
Bailey, meanwhile, threw some long toss and threw from flat ground and was "much improved over (Thursday),'' according to Farrell.
"He would be available (Friday night) in kind of an emergency situation,'' said Farrell. "Ideally, we can give him another day to stay away from him, but it's good news nonetheless.''
"We'll take a day or two now and that's easier than taking a long time later on,'' said Bailey. "We've got a group of guys (in the bullpen) that can do it. When Joel (Hanrahan) went down (with a hamstring injury), we picked him up and if I need a couple of days, (we'll be good).''
The Sox didn't think it was necessary to have Bailey undergo any imaging tests or medical examinations.
* The charge that Clay Buchholz and Junichi Tazawa were doctoring baseballs in Toronto -- a charge that stemmed from two Toronto broadcasters -- continued to be a topic around the team, mostly to the amusement of the Red Sox.
Farrell pointed out that, on neither occasion, did a Toronto hitter ask to have a baseball checked and the allegations were made by "someone that's not even on the field. So, we take it as a compliment.''
Farrell said he's had "conversations'' with Buchholz after the allegations were made.
"I can tell you, through our interactions and the way he's responded to things we've talked about,'' said Farrell, "he's very much at ease with himself. Like I said, there's nothing to hide.''
* With the Sox facing their third straight lefty starter (Mark Buehrle Wednesday; J.A. Happ Thursday; and Derek Holland Friday night) Pedro Ciriaco got the start at shortstop over Stephen Drew.
"With a lefthander going,'' explained Farrell, "a long travel night and, at some point, trying to get everyone a day off their feet, today was (that day) for Stephen.''
Drew has shown signs of breaking out at the plate, with four hits in 11-at bats in Toronto, including his first homer, and a sacrifice fly.
Heading into Friday, the Red Sox were second in the American League -- behind only Oakland -- with 111 walks, helping them post a .352 on-base percentage, the highest in the league.
On Thursday night, the Sox worked a season-high 10 walks against Toronto in their 3-1 win.
"I think it starts with the personnel,'' said Farrell. "Knowing that there was an approach that was drifted away from last year, in large part because of injuries, there was a concerted effort by Ben (Cherington) to bring in players who had on-base percentage track records. But what's been really powerful is when you add those (new) guys to the guys who were here and have that on-base capability, I think it's been further by a collective whole.
"What we've been able to do with starting pitchers as far as run up pitch counts is nothing short of impressive. We've had a number of those games where, maybe we've missed that two-out hit to score a run, but even (Thursday) night's game, it's a 2-1 game, but there's 95 pitches (thrown by J.A. Happ) in the fourth inning. Just the fact that you start getting into multiple pitchers inside a game, it has lingering effects.''