BOSTON - Brandon Workman pitched well enough to remain with the Red Sox, especially in his four-inning relief stint Tuesday when he gave up just one run.
But that couldn't save him from the inevitable Wednesday. Needing a roster spot to activate lefty reliever Craig Breslow, the Red Sox had little choice but to option Workman back to Pawtucket.
"Not an easy message to deliver," said John Farrell. "But to Brandon's credit, he sees things around him that are unfolding that he has no control over. But this is someone who has pitched very well, whether it was last year in either (starting or relief) role or the three appearances he's made so far this year.
"We fully expect him to get back at some point and he'll contribute big innings for us."
When Workman does re-join Pawtucket, he'll be used exclusively as a starter. The plan is for him to make his first start Monday, during which he'll be allowed to go about 70 pitches or five or so innings until he builds up arm strength.
"He's not that far removed from being extended in spring training as well," said Farrell, "so he should pick back up here quickly."
The Sox have also maintained that Workman won't be shuttled between roles as the season goes along. He was needed in the bullpen at the start of the season, but the Sox want him to focus on starting -- be it in Boston or Pawtucket.
"That's what we outlined in spring training," said Farrell. "As he goes back to staring, that's where we've got to be careful about changing the role again. If we could script it, he would remain as a starter, and if the need were to arise, he'd be back here pitching in that role."
Clay Buchholz makes his second start of the season, Thursday in New York. He was belted around in an abbreviated start Saturday night and his fastball velocity seldom topped 89-90 mph. But the dropoff from where Buchholz has successfully pitched in the past -- 92-93 mph -- isn't a concern for now.
"It's his second start," said Farrell. "I don't think you see true velocity built until you get into the month of May and how they maintain it over the course of the entire outing. Regardless of what a pitcher has, it still comes down to location."
Will Middlebrooks took grounders at third from his knees as he begins to work back from the calf strain that sidelined him over the weekend and sent him to the DL.
Middlebrooks has started some cardio work and running in a pool.
"He's into that pre-baseball work, conditioning phase right now," said Farrell, who added that Middlebrooks will join the team in New York and Chicago to continue his rehab work.