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

First impressions: Red Sox get to Yankees bullpen

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First impressions: Red Sox get to Yankees bullpen

First Impressions from the Red Sox' 8-7 victory over the Yankees.

 

All of a sudden, David Price is having issues at Fenway.

When the Sox signed Price last December, they cited his past

success in their home ballpark (1.95 ERA) as evidence that he could thrive here. But six starts into his Red Sox career, his three worst starts have come here. He's pitched 22 2/3 innings and allowed 21 earned runs.

Even stranger is that so much damage was done by Alex Rodriguez, who previously had compiled a .237 career average against Price with just one homer in 57 at-bats.

 

It's highly unusual for John Farrell to go to the mound and not take the starting pitcher out.

But that's what happened in the top of the seventh. David Price was in the mid-90s with his pitch count and Rodriguez -- who had homered and doubled off Price in his previous two at-bats -- was due. It seemed obvious that Price was coming out of the game.

Instead, Price was left in and grounded out to second to end the inning. It says something about Farrell's trust in Price - or Price's powers of persuasion -- that the lefty stayed in the game.

 

Credit Travis Shaw with making some in-game adjustments.

In his first two at-bats against New York starter Nathan Eovaldi, Shaw struck out twice. Both times, Eovaldi started him off with a curve ball.

But when Eovaldi tried it again in the fifth, Shaw hammered the pitch deep into the right field seats for a two-run homer.

 

The Red Sox bullpen far outshone that of the Yankees in this series.

In the three games just played, Boston relievers tossed seven shutout innings in the series, while Yankees' righthander Dellin Betances twice yielded two-run homers to cost the Yanks both games.

 

Dustin Pedroia insists he's not focusing on hitting the ball the other way, but the results suggest otherwise.

Pedroia banged out three singles Sunday night and all three were hit to right. On the current homestand, Pedroia has a total of eight hits; five were hit to right field.

 

Farrell on Sox rotation: 'We've got to get Clay going'

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Farrell on Sox rotation: 'We've got to get Clay going'

BOSTON - Maybe it wasn't a warning shot, but more of an idle observation. Maybe it wasn't a challenge at all.

But what John Farrell had to say Sunday afternoon about Clay Buchholz was, if nothing else, noteworthy.

In assessing his team's play in the just-completed first month of the season, Farrell noted that the starting rotation, after a particularly rough beginning, had stabilized of late.

With one exception, that is.

"We've got to get Clay going, particularly," Farrell said. "He's an important part of our rotation, an important part of this team. We've got to get him on track." Buchholz is winless in his five starts, with an 0-3 mark and an inflated ERA of 6.51. He's given up a minimum of five earned runs in each start and has yet to pitch through the seventh inning.

Farrell noted that the issue has been less about quality of stuff and more about his aggressiveness - or lack thereof.

"There are times,'' Farrell said, "when we've seen Clay execute pitches with, I think, a greater conviction to the pitch. There are other times where maybe he's pitched away from contact a little bit too much and not attacked the strike zone. To me, there comes an attitude on the mound that's got to be prevailing."

The Sox aren't far from welcoming back to starters. Eduardo Rodriguez, who tweaked his knee in early March, is set to make his second rehab start for Pawtucket Tuesday and could conceivably return five days after that. At most, Rodriguez will be ready with one more additional outing.

Next up is Joe Kelly, who is on the DL with a shoulder impingement. Kelly has thrown some bullpen sessions and could begin a rehab assignment later in the week.

That will lead to the Sox making some tough decisions in the coming weeks. It had been widely assumed that knuckleballer Steven Wright would be he most vulnerable starter, but Wright is 2-2 with a 1.37 ERA in four outings.

Asked to assess where the Sox within the context of the division, Farrell said: "We're probably searching to shore up areas that are in need, and that first starts with making the necessary adjustments with the guys that are on our roster now. Not that we're going to make wholesale changes. Like I said, we've got to get Clay going. That's a big improvement that we could make."