By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
BALTIMORE -- After trying for the second time in a week to obtain a pitcher from outside the organization, the Red Sox Wednesday afternoon abandoned their efforts and will go with someone from inside the organization should a play-in game be necessary Thursday at Tropicana Field.
The Sox had been in discussions with the Kansas City Royals concerning veteran lefty Bruce Chen, and at one point early Wednesday afternoon, were close to finalizing a deal. But a breakdown occurred -- believed to be on Kansas City's part -- and when the trade fizzled, the Sox made a decision to halt their search.
Obtaining a pitcher from outside the organization to pitch the most important game of the season would not have been greeted positively in the clubhouse. The new player -- Chen or someone else -- would not have had any real emotional investment in the Sox.
It's unclear who will be the choice to start Thursday, if necessary, though the Red Sox' options are limited and not all appetizing.
The most obvious choice would be John Lackey, who would be pitching on three days' rest. Lackey owns the worst ERA of any American League starter with 150 or more innings, though he had an encouraging outing Sunday night in New York, pitching the Sox into the seventh inning while allowing three runs.
The Sox have some concern that the Rays would run unchecked against Lackey, who isn't quick to the plate.
After Ryan Lavarnway's breakout game Tuesday night (two homers, four RBI), the Sox elected to stay with him in the lineup despite the fact that he had only made one start behind the plate in the big leagues and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (bruised collarbone) was cleared to play.
"Salty could go, but I don't think he's close to 100 percent," said Francona. "But we have a kid who just drove in four runs and caught a pretty good game and (starting pitcher Jon) Lester is OK with (Lavarnway) catching. I think rather than go the other way where Salty starts and we bring the kid in, I think we're better off doing it this way.
"If we have to make a move, Salty's sitting there. But this kid played a pretty good game."