By Maureen Mullen
BOSTON - Both Allen Craig and David Ross are eligible to be activated from the disabled list on Sunday. It’s sounding like that may happen sooner for Ross than for Craig.
Craig, who was acquired at the trading deadline from the Cardinals, played in one game for the Red Sox before landing on the DL with a sprain in his left foot – the same foot he injured last season and which has limited his production this season. Manager John Farrell said Craig could go out on a rehab assignment early next week.
“[I'm] hopeful that he goes out on a rehab assignment this coming week, possibly as early as Monday,” Farrell said.
Craig has gone through several days of complete pregame work and will continue to do so until he goes out for some rehab work.
Ross, however, may be activated without a rehab assignment, Farrell said.
“But we’ve still got to get some steps accomplished with David,” Farrell said. “He’s making adequate progress as well.”
Ross caught a bullpen session on Thursday and Friday, and has taken on-field BP for the past four days. His running will be the last thing to come around.
“The more I do, the better it’s feeling,” Ross said.
* Yoenis Cespedes left Thursday’s game for precautionary reasons following the eighth inning after fouling a ball off his shin. He is back in the lineup Friday, batting fourth, playing left field.
Since joining the Sox at the trade deadline, Cespedes is hitting .239/.255/.435 in 11 games. He went 0-for-5 in Thursday’s win over the Astros, snapping an eight-game hitting streak. He has hit in nine of 11 games since joining the Sox.
“He seems to be gaining comfort by the day,” Farrell said. “Just in conversation, he’s a quiet guy that we’ve come to know so far. But the more questions you ask him, the more I think he’s comfortable with his teammates and the surroundings. I think he’s gotten his feet on the ground in a good way here.”
* Tonight’s starter, right-hander Clay Buchholz (5-7, 5.99) is looking for his first win since July 18 against the Royals. He showed improvement in his last outing, Aug. 9 at the Angels, but took a no-decision, as the Sox lost in 19 innings. Buchholz went eight innings, giving up three runs on six this and two walks with eight strikeouts and a home run.
“At least in the last outing, I thought he pitched with much more conviction,” Farrell said. “Even in some fastball counts, he had a good curveball he could go to to slow some hitters down to get a strike and get back in the count. I though he was more aggressive with first-pitch strikes, so he was more efficient and pitched with more conviction throughout the eight innings of work.”
* Shane Victorino, who underwent surgery on his back on Aug. 4, is on the expected protocol following that type of procedure, Farrell said.
“That’s just gradual activity of walking, no real functional movements of any kind yet,” Farrell said. “The follow-up checkup did not have anything alarming.”
* Farrell talked with the Cumberland, RI, Little League team Friday afternoon before its first game in the Little League World Series Friday night. The Cumberland American team is representing New England in the series, which started Thursday.
“They were energetic, great questions, and really pumped up about playing tonight,” Farrell said.
Cumberland – one of 16 teams in the series, and one of eight from the United States -- is scheduled to play Pearland, Texas, at 8 p.m. Cumberland American played in the 2011 World Series, going 1-2 before getting knocked out.
* Since the All-Star break, Sox starting pitchers have issued a major league-high 73 walks in 150 1/3 innings, over 25 games. Of those 73 batters who walked, 30 – or 41 percent – have scored.