By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs
KANSAS CITY Marco Scutaro was attempting to push the Sox staff to let him play on Friday night against the Royals, but instead the Sox shortstop will rejoin the Boston lineup Saturday night and hit leadoff in place of the injured Jacoby Ellsbury.
Scutaro had missed five straight games with the bad back, but the Sox have benefited from newfound depth there with both Mike Aviles and Jed Lowrie able to fill in while Bostons starting shortstop worked the kinks out of his back.
Weve thrown Aviles out there every day," Francona said. "His actions at shortstop are actually really good, and I think the at-bats have been very good for him. We didnt have to play Jed today, so Aviles versatility has been huge. His versatility at the plate and in the field really helps . . . even more than the numbers. To a manager its more important because you know you can throw him out there anywhere, and then you can do a lot of different things.
I think Scutaro wanted to play yesterday and I think waiting another day was a pretty good idea.
It appears that Scutaro is on the other side of the back issues that have hampered him, and there should be a clear stretch coming for a player thats been hot enough at the bat to put up .318.371.409 numbers since the All-Star break.
When Scutaro was presented with the scenario that the 100 plus degree heat of Texas in their upcoming series might help his back loosen up further, the dry-witted infielder took it one step further.
Yeah, and I might melt, said Scutaro.
David Ortizhas beenfreed from the boot on his right foot, and will take some swings in the batting cage Saturday afternoon in a good, progressive step coming back from bursitis in his right heel. The Sox designated hitter is probably still a few days away from returning to the lineup, but Bostons big slugger is trending in the right direction.
Hes going to hit today and he does feel good, which is good. Hell hit and start that progression, and thats good news, said Terry Francona. He might just be in the cage. I dont know you can put exact timetables on how these things happen. We hope the boot is gone for good. I know we dont want to go back and forth with it.Ortiz tweeted after the session and promised he'll be back in the lineup soon: "Hit in the cage today and I feel good ... I will be back soon Red Sox Nation!" wrote Ortiz from his @davidortiz twitter account on Saturday afternoon.
Lefty Andrew Miller responded well after tossing 5 23 innings in a spot start Friday night, and Sox manager Terry Francona indicated the tall southpaw will get another start at some point in the next few weeks. Miller is 5-1 for Boston this season while stepping in amid injuries to Sox starters, and Francona said his next starting gig will be utilized to maximize the extra rest given to Bostons five starting pitchers. Millers spot start could be used to give all the starters an additional day of rest, or it could give one of the starters a needed blow down the stretch after piling up some large innings totals.
As he recovers from his start well slide him back into the bullpen and then use him for another start at some point, said Miller. We just dont know when. I think we want to see how some of the other guys are doing, if a guy needs a break and see how the schedule works out moving forward.