ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Interleague play may be over, but that doesn't necessarily mean that David Ortiz's playing time at first base is also done.
With Adrian Gonzalez likely to miss a third straight game Sunday with spasms in his lower back, Bobby Valentine broadly hinted thar Ortiz could play first in Gonzalez's absence.
"I haven't approached him with it yet,'' said Valentine, "but I checked his health. I think (Sunday), with the righthander (James Shields), there's a chance of him doing that -- if he's rearing to go.''
Brent Lillibridge will start at first Saturday night.
Valentine was asked about other first base options and cited both utility man Nick Punto and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia as possible choices. Both have played first in the majors.
The Sox had to make a move to get Clay Buchholz on the active roster and optioned Mauro Gomez back to Pawtucket to create an opening.
Gomez had been recalled while the team was without the use of third baseman Will Middlebrooks (hamstring).
Gomez hit .308 with three RBI in 26 at-bats and made his first appearances at third base -- at any level -- since 2009. Gomez started at first in the series opener and was charged with an error.
Second baseman Pedro Ciriaco's start has been historic by some statistical measures.
He's the first Red Sox player to get three or more hits in at least three of his first four games. He also stole a base in each of his last three games, becoming the first Red Sox player ever with least three hits and a stolen base in three straight games.
Finally, he's the first major leaguer to do that since Johnny Damon did it with Kansas City from Aug. 5-7, 2000. The only player to ever accomplish the feat (three hits and a steal) in four games was Hall of Famer Ty Cobb.