Pregame notes: Buchholz, Crawford close to returning; Bard struggles


Pregame notes: Buchholz, Crawford close to returning; Bard struggles

BOSTON -- Clay Buchholz threw another bullpen session Friday afternoon, and the expectation is that he'll rejoin the Red Sox rotation sometime in the first two series after the All-Star break.

Buchholz has been sidelined after being diagnosed with esophagitis.

"He'll throw another bullpen soon,'' said manager Bobby Valentine. "He's feeling great. After the break, he'll either slot into the first turn through the rotation or early in the second rotation, depending on whether we and he feel whether he should get on the mound and pitch to some hitters or not.''

Translation: if Buchholz goes on a brief rehab stint, he'll pitch when the team gets home for its first homestand. If he's deemed ready to pitch right away, he'll likely pitch one of the three weekend games at Tampa Bay on July 13-15.

"His bullpen sessions have been very good,'' said Valentine. "His weight is all back, his strength is back.''

Carl Crawford was at Fenway Friday, getting checked out by the medical and training staff. After spending much of the last week with Double A Portland, he'll spend Saturday and Sunday with Pawtucket.

There's been speculation that Crawford could rejoin the team in Tampa Bay after the break, but he isn't ready to commit to that.

"I don't think you'll know until you get there,'' he said. "so we're just taking it day-by-day right now. That's how we're approaching it and we'll see. I'd like to get back as soon as possible. But we'll have to wait and see.''

Crawford said the elbow is "not 100 percent healthy. But I'm able to hit, so I said pretty much whenever I'm able to start hitting the ball and swinging that bat, then I'll play even if the elbow is still some issue.''

As for throwing, Crawford joked that he wouldn't be "hosing anybody at home or anything like that. But I think it's strong enough to where I could hit the cut-off man and get to the ball quick enough that I can stop the guys from advancing.''

Scott Podsednik was at Fenway, too, being examined. He's been on a rehab assignment with Pawtucket after being placed on the DL June 18 because of a groin strain.

It's likely that Podsednik will be added as the 26th man for Saturday's day-night doubleheader. Under terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, teams are allowed to add an extra player for the day.

"He just got examined and he's healthy and ready to go,'' said Valentine. "We're trying to figure out all those options for the 26th man and of course, he'd be one of them.''

Daniel Bard experienced another erratic outing Thursday night pitching for Pawtucket, throwing two wild pitches, hitting two hitters and giving up two hits.

In the previous outing, Bard, believing he had found a key to correcting his mechanics, had a 1-2-3 inning and the Sox were hopeful that he had turned the corner.

But Thursday night was as bad as ever. While at Pawtucket, Bard has made 12 appearances and compiled an 8.78 ERA while walking 10 and hitting 6 others in 13 13 innings.

"I have confidence that Daniel's going to be just fine,'' said Valentine. "I guess he had a control problem once (early in his career at Single A) and he got over it and seemed to get to a very, very high level of performance. And I think he'll do it again.''

Will Middlebrooks was out of the lineup for the fourth straight game after straining his left hamstring last Sunday in Seattle.

"He ran at about 70 percent capacity on Thursday,'' said Valentine. "He felt just okay. He ran Friday and felt closer to 100 percent, so that's where he is. He's close.''

Asked if he thought Middlebrooks would be back in the lineup this weekend, Valentine said: "There's a chance, a chance he could pinch-hit, for sure, maybe even Friday night.''

Pomeranz 'pretty comfortable' with potential move to bullpen


Pomeranz 'pretty comfortable' with potential move to bullpen

NEW YORK -- If Drew Pomeranz is going to be part of the Red Sox' postseason plans, the team will likely have a better idea about that question by Thursday afternoon.

Pomeranz, who was scratched from his final scheduled start on Thursday because of soreness in his left forearm and general concern about his 2016 workload, will throw a 30-35 pitch bullpen.

If he responds well, he could then see some relief action over the final weekend at Fenway to determine his readiness for the playoffs.

"Before we even begin to map out a potential relief appearance over the weekend,'' said John Farrell, "we've got to get through that next step.''

Pomeranz pitched well in his last start at Tropicana Field over the weekend, but has been dealing with some discomfort in his forearm.

"I've had some soreness here, late in the year,'' Pomeranz said. "I've thrown more innings than I have ever (before), so we kind of sat down and talked about the best course of action the rest of the way.''

Pomeranz described what he felt as "just some soreness, probably from never covering this time of the year. It's a spot I've never been in before. We just decided the best thing to do was not making this last start and talk about maybe sliding into the bullpen.''

The lefty is no stranger to the bullpen, having pitched there as recently as last season while with Oakland.

"I've had the benefit of doing pretty much everything (in terms of roles),'' he said. "I'm pretty comfortable in any situation. If they see me helping there, obviously, that's where I want to be. But I don't know if it's a sure thing. We'll have to see how it goes.''

Meanwhile, another sidelined starter, Steven Wright, is expected to rejoin the team in Boston Friday. Wright threw a bullpen off the mound earlier this week in Fort Myers as he attempts to come back from inflammation in his shoulder.


Wednesday's Red Sox-Yankees lineups: Second try at clinching A.L. East


Wednesday's Red Sox-Yankees lineups: Second try at clinching A.L. East

The Red Sox try again to nail down the A.L. East crown tonight, sending Clay Buchholz to the mound against the Yankees while needed just one victory -- or one Toronto defeat -- to clinch the division.

Tonight's lineups:

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Brock Holt 3B
Andrew Benintendi LF
Sandy Leon C
Clay Buchholz P

Brett Gardner LF
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Gary Sanchez C
Brian McCann DH
Starlin Castro 2B
Didi Gregorious SS
Mark Texeira 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Mason Williams RF
Bryan Mitchell P