Notes: Lowrie back in the starting lineup for Sox

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Notes: Lowrie back in the starting lineup for Sox

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

OAKLAND, Calif. -- For the fourth straight game, Jed Lowrie found himself in the starting lineup -- not surprising, perhaps, since the infielder carried a seven-game hitting streak and a .545 batting average into the opener of the team's nine-game road trip.

Terry Francona indicated that Marco Scutaro would still get some playing time at shortstop during the trip, with Lowrie perhaps fitting in at other positions.

One problem for Francona is, thanks to the composition of the Red Sox roster, he might have a tough time DHing Lowrie.

In some instances against a tough lefty, Francona might prefer to have Lowrie DH -- and bat righty -- but that leaves the Sox thin because they don't have another extra infielder.

If Lowrie were to DH and something happened to one of the other infielders, the Sox could move Lowrie into that infield spots but would lose the use of the DH for the night.

"That's why, I would imagine that on days that Jed plays another position (other than short),'' said Francona, "it would be a day game, like (Wednesday), where we could use it to our advantage.''

Though the Red Sox had won three in a row before Tuesday's game, they remained five games under .500 and the manager said the team would have to display some patience.

"I think we believe we're going to be good,'' said Francona. "But we had a horrendous first 10 days and it might take a while to dig out from it. That's the biggest thing we have to fight right now -- not continually looking (at the standings) because our record's not going to be what we want for a while.

"It's like a batting average and a guy hitting .150. You walk up to the plate and see that .150 and you kind of sag. We're going to have to fight that for a while. Sometimes, you lose six and win six. Sometimes you don't and you kind of have to chip away. We have to be willing to chip away and believe in what we're doing.''

Matt Albers (lat pull), who threw two innings of relief (one hit, one strikeout) for Pawtucket Tuesday night, will meet the Red Sox in Anaheim and presumably be activated for the start of the series Thursday.

It's likely that Alfredo Aceves will be returned to Pawtucket and placed in the Paw Sox starting rotation to get stretched out.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

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.