Early notes: Lackey lands on DL

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Early notes: Lackey lands on DL

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Right-hander Scott Atchison was in the Red Sox clubhouse early Monday afternoon. But, manager Terry Francona called it a miscommunication.

He actually was picking something up, Francona said.

As it turns out, Atchison was actually picking up his place on the Red Sox roster. Just before game time the team announced that John Lackey was placed on the disabled list, retroactive to May 12, with a right elbow strain.

Lackey, 32, has struggled this season. In seven starts he is 2-5 with an ERA of 8.01. He is in the second year of a five-year, 82.5 million contract. The Sox hold a conditional option for 2015. If Lackey misses significant time with surgery in 2010-2014 for a pre-existing elbow injury, they can pick up the 2015 option at the major league minimum salary.

Although Lackey did not spend time on the DL last season, his first with the Sox, he began 2008 and 2009 on the DL, with a strained right triceps and a strained right forearm, respectively.

In his last start, May 11 in Toronto, he went 6 23 innings, giving up nine runs on nine this and five walks with one strikeout. After the game, he said Everything in his life stinks right now.

Although Lackey did not get more specific than that, he announced in spring training that his wife Krista had been treated in the offseason for breast cancer.

Before Mondays announcement of Lackeys trip to the DL, Francona said Lackey was feeling better after his latest side session.

I think Lack felt really good about himself after his side the other day, Francona said. I know theyve been working on things in the bullpen as they always do. Hands over the head, hands below on the deliverythings like that that all pitching coaches and pitchers do. Its always a constant work in progress.

There have been games all year where hes had a drop in velocity in a certain inning. Its not always been the same inning.

Several factors can contribute to that, Francona said.

Is there baserunners? Is he in a bind? Is he trying to locate? Is it physical? A lot of those things we try to figure out ourselves, Francona said.

But they had come up with no answers.

Not yet, Francona said. We always try. Were here all day. Maybe sometimes we try too hard.

Lackey had a similar issue with a drop in velocity last season.

Yeah, at times, Francona said. Im not sure its even a problem as sometimes he starts pitching a little bit

Shortstop Marco Scutaro, on the DL since May 8 with a left oblique strain, returned to the team after receiving treatment -- ice, heat, laser, and cardio work -- over the weekend at his home in Miami.

I cant even really tell how it feels until I start swinging, said Scutaro. I dont feel anything, just when I move. I didnt do anything all last week, so from today on, Ill be doing activities, and well go from there.

The next step for him will be swinging a bat, which could be today. Up until now, hes been cautious. The medical staff told him the injury gets worse, it could take two months to heal.

Right-hander Bobby Jenks, on the DL since May 2 with a right biceps strain, is getting close to being able to play catch.

I hope so, Francona said. Hell be examined today by Red Sox medical director, Dr. Tom Gill. Obviously thats kind of an important exam. He has to be symptom-free or I think the feeling is hell be putting a Band-Aid on something that we want getting better.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Napoli: Red Sox and his agent only had 'small talk' about reunion

Napoli: Red Sox and his agent only had 'small talk' about reunion

BOSTON -- Of course, the Rangers' Mike Napoli didn't mind the idea of replacing David Ortiz. He loved playing in Boston.

There just was never much chatter that way last offseason, when Napoli was a free agent after his Indians took the Cubs to seven games in the World Series.

"I think my agent had maybe a small talk or something [with the Red Sox], but I don't think it ever would have happened," Napoli said Tuesday afternoon as he returned to Fenway Park with Texas. "I mean, don't get me wrong, I would have loved to come back. But, I mean, it all worked out. I'm glad to be where I'm at now. Because I knew everybody here [with the Rangers]. I didn't have to start over again."

Napoli played with the Rangers in 2011 and '12, and was traded by the Sox to Texas for the last few months of the 2015 season.

He was hopeful the Sox -- his team from 2013 to midseason 2015 -- would be among the clubs to come calling last winter.

"Oh, yeah," he said.

But he wasn't optimistic it was going to happen. And it didn't.

"To be honest with you . . . Cleveland was my first priority," he said. "I just had a World Series run [with the Indians] and we didn't win it. And then Texas was there [in the bidding, along with] Minnesota."

The Rangers wound up giving Napoli, 35, a one-year deal for 8.5 million with an $11 million club option for next season or a $2.5 million buyout. He's hitting just .188 entering Tuesday, a subpar figure, but has 10 home runs.

"We started off pretty slow, but winning 10 straight will help," Napoli said of the Rangers' recent tear. "[Winning] 11 of 12, we've been playing better. I think we kind of lost track of who we are. We got some guys struggling, still trying to find themselves and kind of got away from doing it together as a team, but we got back to doing that. It's been going pretty well."

Part of the World Series championship team of four years ago, Napoli loved being in Boston in 2013, and he enjoys being back now.

"What we were able to do in 2013, obviously, it's something I'l never forget and something I cherish," Napoli said. "I love coming back here to play."

When it was noted there's been so much turmoil since Napoli left -- the talk of Tuesday was manager John Farrell's job security -- he was unsurprised.

"You got to have thick skin to play here," Napoli said. "You're expected to win a championship every single year. But that's what I loved about playing here, is that people were on you. For me, I loved it. A lot of people probably couldn't do it.

"I knew it in my heart that I went out there and I played as hard as I possibly could every single time . . . I know you're not going to be perfect and live up to everyone."

Red Sox recall Sam Travis, send Velázquez back to Pawtucket

Red Sox recall Sam Travis, send Velázquez back to Pawtucket

BOSTON -- On the list of Red Sox problems, finding a platoon partner for Mitch Moreland at first base isn't high on the list. But the others -- third base, fifth starter -- aren't solvable at the moment, so the Sox turned to one they think they can solve.

Today they recalled Sam Travis from Pawtucket, most likely to provide relief for Moreland against left-handed pitching. Travis' path to the majors was delayed by a knee injury that cost him a good chunk of the 2016 season -- otherwise, odds are good he'd have been here by now -- but he signaled his readiness by recovering from a 5-for-36 start with a sizzling .344 average in 90 at-bats since April 22 that includes six doubles and three home runs. His OPS in that span is .909.

Most importantly, Travis crushes left-handed pitching. He's hit .358 (93-for-260) against them in his professional career, and is .414 (12-for-29) against them this year. 

Hector Velázquez was sent back to the PawSox to make room for Travis, ensuring another roster move later this week. After Kyle Kendrick's failed attempt to take control of the fifth spot in the starting rotation, Velázquez was called up and given a shot in Oakland last Thursday night. He allowed six earned runs over five innings, failing the test. And thus the search for a fifth starter -- at least until David Price returns -- continues.

Price will make a rehab start in Pawtucket tomorrow and could return to Boston after that, but the Sox will need a pitcher for Saturday's game against Seattle. Even if Price is cleared to return to Boston, he won't be able to pitch Saturday on two days' rest.