By Maureen Mullen
BOSTON - Facing White Sox right-hander Gavin Floyd in the series finale at Fenway Park this afternoon, J.D. Drew is not in the lineup. Josh Reddick will take his place in right field, batting eighth.
"Drew has just been kind of scuffling a little bit," said manager Terry Francona. "Maybe Red will give us, sometimes day game after a night game you're looking for some energy, and maybe Red will bump into one. He's been playing pretty well. Just maybe give us a little boost."
Drew is batting .228 overall this season, just .222 against right-handers. Since May 19, he is just 4 for his last 25 with no extra-base hits.
"I think we keep waiting for Drew's offense to heat up," Francona said. "J.D. has that track record of grabbing onto that one month and really kind of almost putting us on his back. And we're certainly, you always wait for that. And he hasn't gotten to that point yet. He's taken good swings for sure at times. But he hasn't strung them together like he's capable of.
"You've seen him probably a lot lately to taking that cutter, slider away and rolling over to second or first probably more than we're used to. He's trying, He's trying to stay back and drive it. He's just getting out ahead of it and the bat head's coming with it and his hands and getting that weak ground ball or that pop-up.
Since being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday, Reddick is 5-for-9 in three games with four RBI.
Right-hander John Lackey, on the disabled list since May 12 with a right elbow strain, is set to be activated and start for the Sox Sunday against the A's. He pitched six innings in a rehab start Tuesday night with Pawtucket, giving up one run (on a home run) with three hits, no walks, and four strikeouts. He threw 63 pitches.
"Everything went pretty well," Francona said. "He actually, I think, pitched more innings than we anticipated just because he was pretty economical with the
pitch count. But he got stretched out enough. He'll come back Sunday now and join our rotation and be able to, with the day off the next day that helps also,
but realistically can get deep enough in the game where he's not hurting himself and he's not taxing the bullpen."
Francona on Rich Hill, who has not allowed a run over 12 innings in 14 appearances with the Sox since his first appearance on Sept. 14, 2010, after adjusting his mechanics to more of a sidearm delivery:
"I think guys have done it. A lot of guys that, a Mike Myers-type guy that at some point they were conventional, just for whatever reason and we see it more with lefties. If I was a left-handed pitcher in the minor leagues and they were telling me my career was maybe going to be over, I'd start throwing from down under, too, because it seems like if you're left-handed and breathing, somebody's going to give you a chance. And when you can create an angle and some deception, you got a chance to pitch in the big leagues. Rich has done a good job. He's lowered his angle, then he's kind of come up a teeny bit, and now he's found the right, right in between. But he hasn't lost his velocity, which doesn't always happen. So he can face righties, too. It's been fun to watch."
Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka is expected back in Boston today after his trip to Japan and his meeting Tuesday with Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles to get
a second opinion on his right elbow strain, which has had him on the DL since May 17.
"He'll be back tonight," Francona said. "We're going to meet with him . . . We got the day off Thursday . . . I don't know what our timetable is. General manager Theo
Epstein and all those guys got all those meetings going on for the draft. We will meet with him the next couple of days. We want to sit down and kind of put
our heads together and see how he feels, let Dr. Gill have their talk with Dr. Yocum and try to plan out how we go about the next couple of weeks.
No surgery is expected for Matsuzaka at this time.
"No," Francona said. "Diagnostically everything is kind of the same. We got to figure out how to best go about this. The player or the pitcher has to have some
opinion, too. But you're always going to go by non-operatively first. That kind of makes sense to me."
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.