ST. LOUIS -- With the madness of non-waiver trade deadline passed and Red Sox roster overhauled for the final two months of the season, general manager Ben Cherington met with the media at Busch Stadium Wednesday afternoon and addressed a number of topics about the remainder of this season and 2015.
Among the highlights:
"He had successful surgery (Tuesday). He had a disk injury that was repaired. He's definitely got a recovery ahead of him. It's a little too soon to say exactly what date on the calendar we're looking at, but I think spring training is realistic at this point. He's got a long road to go, but given the findings and the surgery, and the history of surgeries like this, I think we feel like it's realistic that he'll be out there in spring training, but we'll have a better idea when we get closer.''
On Victorino's future now that Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig are here: "If Shane is healthy and playing to his capability, he's obviously going to play. We'll figure that out when we get there. But he's got to get healthy and we've got a ways to go.''
The starting rotation
"Right now, we're going to use the next several weeks to find out as much as we can about the guys we have. We think we have eight or 10 young starting pitchers -- some of them are here now; others are Triple A and Double A -- that are some point can be good major league starters. That doesn't mean they all will be; that doesn't mean they will be next year.
"But we have a group that we're going to try to learn as much as we can about that group, focusing on the guys that are here now. And then we'll see where we are.
In the off-season, I'm sure we'll look at starting pitching alternatives -- either free agency or trade -- and see what's available to us. But we need some guys that are in the organization now to step up. We know that some will and some won't and time will tell who those are.''
Possibility of waiver deals
"Wouldn't rule it out. We'll certainly stay active in August. Obviously, it's a little different being in this position, but we'll stay active and see what's out there. There could be (something), but nothing on the front burner right now.''
The future of Clay Buchholz
"We're confident he can turn it around. He's got to be a piece of the puzzle, not the whole puzzle. We're confident he can turn it around because he's healthy and that means he's got a chance to turn it around. But obviously, the results are not what he wants, they're not what we expect from him. He knows that. It's not wake up tomorrow and it's all better. He's got to continue to work and get on the right track the rest of this season and then have a good off-season and come to spring training and we expect him to be a part of the rotation next year, an important part of it.
"I think we have a good handle on the 'end reasons,' the reasons that he's not having as much success. Obviously, the feel for the secondary is not where it has been in the past. He's always been a guy who's gotten hitters out with his entire mix, not by being a fastball-dominant pitcher or relying on exclusively one pitch, but by mixing and using all of his pitches in all parts of his zone and being hard to hit because he's unpredictable.
"He just has not had a feel for the entire mix this year. Why is that? That's something I think we need to keep to Clay and ourselves. We spend a lot of time looking at it and obviously nobody has been able to snap their fingers and fix it. It's not for lack of effort. We'll keep trying, he'll keep working at it. He's going to be better again. I don't know if that's going to be tomorrow, next week or a month from now. But he'll be better again.''
Finding playing time for a number of young position players and prospects
"I think John (Farrell) is doing his best he can to get guys into the lineup as much as possible and if it becomes a situation where we can't find enough playing time for a guy that we are trying to find something about or needs to play for development, then we might have to make a decision on that, just to help the playing time issue.
"Whoever's in the lineup, we think is talented enough to help us win. So it's really more a question of allocating playing time in the right way and if that becomes too much of a challenge, then we'll find a way to ease that up and allow John to have an easier mix. We'll see how that goes. We certainly don't want to get to the end of the year and look back and say, 'Boy, I wish we had gotten 60 more at-bats for this guy.' That would be inconsistent with what we need to do. We'll figure it out.''
On the possibility of some starting pitching prospects pitching out of the bullpen in Boston.
"Possibly, but we haven't gotten to talking about specific names. If we feel like there's some advantage to doing that. I think there are some guys we certainly would not do that with because we feel like they're not at that point yet. There may be others for whom hat might be a good step, but we haven't gotten there yet, but I wouldn't rule it out.
On Henry Owens pitching in the big leagues this year
"I think he's in a good spot. He obviously just got to Triple A. There's some things that he'll get out of pitching at Triple A first. They're making a playoff push themselves, so I think we'd like to see him finish out the year there and try to help them get into the playoffs. He's obviously a guy who's important to us in the long-term, but part of finding out as much as we can about young pitching is making sure there's a real role for as many of those guys as possible. We have to balance that out.''