Cherington provides updates on injured Sox

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Cherington provides updates on injured Sox

BOSTON -- General manager Ben Cherington provided some medical updates Wednesday on the Red Sox' injured players:

JOSH BECKETT (sore lat muscle, will miss Saturday's start)
"We're optimistic that he'll be skipped once and be back in there the next time around. Just wanted to get ahead of it. At a different point in the season he might have pitched with it. But just trying to be smart.

"He came in the next day (after his 126-pitch outing Sunday in Chicago) and was a little more sore than normal. And he wasn't that concerned about it. But the more we talked and factoring in Aaron Cook who could have opted out of his contract had he not been called up by May 1, we just felt, 'Let's get ahead of this and do the right thing.' We expect Beckett will come back the next time around and be able to pitch.

"We'd like to avoid putting him on disabled list. We'll see. I mean, we're going to avoid that for now."
ANDREW BAILEY (on the 60-day disabled list after undergoing surgery for an injured thumb late in spring training)
"Bailey's down there in extended spring training. He's still in range of motion and strengthening. It's going along well. Hasn't started throwing yet."

JOHN LACKEY (on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery)
"Lackey has been throwing for a while."

RYAN KALISH (on the 60-day disabled list after a series of problems last year)
"Kalish is hitting on a field, throwing out to 120 (feet) so he's coming along well. No decision on when he'll be ready . . . but he's coming along and he's hitting on a field. So we'll let him do that for a little while and get him some live BP and then get him into game action down there."

CARL CRAWFORD (on the 15-day disabled list because of wrist and elbow concerns)
"He's not throwing yet. He has not started swinging yet. So he's going to get checked again in a few days from now. We're just trying to keep his legs going as best we can. The hope is that he'll pass the next exam and start swinging at that point and that it maybe a little bit longer before he starts throwing.

JACOBY ELLSBURY (on the 15-day disabled list because of a shoulder injury)
"Ellsbury's making progress. He's got a lot more range of motion and the soreness is going away. He's just got to get a full range of motion . . . He's coming along. He's feeling better."

As expected, Red Sox send Swihart to Pawtucket

As expected, Red Sox send Swihart to Pawtucket

Blake Swihart wasn't going to win a job. Monday merely made that official.

Swihart was optioned out as the Red Sox made further cuts, sending a player who could still be the Red Sox catcher of the future -- well, one of them anyway -- to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he's expected to work on his receiving.

Swihart hit .325 in 40 Grapefruit League at-bats.

"Had a very strong camp and showed improvements defensively. Swung the bat very well," manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida.  "For the player that he is and the person that he is, you love him as a person. He's a hell of a talented player.

"He made some subtle adjustments with his setup [defensively]. That gave him a different look to pitchers on the mound. Pitchers talked positively about the look that they got from him behind the plate. I think it softened his hands somewhat to receive the ball better. And there were a number of occasions where he was able to get a pitchers' pitch called for a strike, so the presentation of the umpire was a little bit more subtle and consistent then maybe years' past."

Sandy Leon's hot hitting in 2016 earned him an automatic crack at the lead catching spot for this year. Combined with the fact that Christian Vazquez looks great defensively, went deep on Sunday and is out of options, Swihart was the obvious odd man out.

He had options, the others didn't.

Deven Marrero was also optioned to Pawtucket. Sam Travis -- who, like Swihart, could break camp with the 2018 team -- was reassigned to minor-league camp, as was catcher Dan Butler.

The Sox have 38 players left in camp, 32 from the 40-man roster.

Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg likely headed to disabled list

Red Sox reliever Tyler Thornburg likely headed to disabled list

Righty Tyler Thornburg seems a guarantee to join David Price on the disabled list to start the season.

Thornburg, the biggest acquisition Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski made for the bullpen this winter, was scratched Monday because of a spasm in his upper right trapezius — not a great sign for a pitcher who already had throwing shoulder issues this spring.

Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida the spasm was “not shoulder related.”  But the trap, a large muscle along the neck and back, does extend to the shoulder blade.

Dombrowski told reporters it is most likely that Thornburg starts the year on the disabled list. More is expected to be known Tuesday, possibly after an MRI.

Robby Scott could be a replacement for Thornburg. If so, the Sox would likely have three lefties in the bullpen, along with Fernando Abad and Robbie Ross Jr.

"Possibly. Possibly," Dombrowski said of Scott. “We still have to make those decisions. But possibly.”

Dombrowski didn’t indicate a desire to go outside the organization for now.

Thornburg had barely enough time to get ready for Opening Day prior to Monday’s setback. If he indeed starts the season on the DL, Joe Kelly would be the eighth-inning reliever for the Sox — a role Kelly was headed for anyway given Thornburg’s shaky spring.

Thornburg, 28, had a 2.15 ERA last season for the Brewers. The Sox picked him up at the winter meetings in a deal that sent Travis Shaw and prospects to the Milwaukee Brewers.