Notes: Wheeler's recent struggles continue

Notes: Wheeler's recent struggles continue
September 5, 2011, 5:45 pm
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By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
TORONTO -- Until very recently, Dan Wheeler had been one of the Red Sox' most dependable relievers.

Before Saturday, he had held opponents scoreless in 17 of 19 outings.

Then, things soured over the weekend. He gave up three runs to Texas in an inning and two-thirds Saturday, the most runs he'd allowed in an outing since May 2.

In the 11th inning Monday, Wheeler retired Edwin Encarnacion and Kelly Johnson for the first two outs, then left a pitch up to Brett Lawrie, who hammered the pitch to straightaway center for a walkoff homer.

Wheeler hadn't faced Lawrie, a rookie, before, but said that was no excuse.

"I don't think like that," he said. "I think like I just have to go out and make a pitch. That's really what it boils down to. I didn't do that and he hit it pretty good.

"It was supposed to be a fastball down and away, but it didn't quite get there."

Wheeler said it will be his responsibility to put the pitch behind him.

"You have to," he said. "It's the only thing you can do. It's part of it. No one likes to do it. No one likes to go out there and do that, but tomorrow, we've got to come in and try to win a game.

"It wasn't the first time, unfortunately. If you pitch long enough, you put yourself in situations like that. You work hard to not let it happen, but baseball's a funny game."

Even though the Pawtucket Red Sox are headed to the International League playoffs, the Red Sox called up three of their top players -- starting pitcher Kyle Wieland, catcher Ryan Lavarnway and utilityman Nate Spears -- to join the team on Monday.

Weiland and Lavarnway had both been with the Sox earlier this year. Spears has never played in the major leagues.

To make room for Spears on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox designated Drew Sutton for assignment.

Outfielder Conor Jackson, who ran into the bullpen wall Sunday and came out of the game an inning later, was out of Monday's starting lineup with what Terry Francona termed a "banged-up knee."

Josh Reddick, who was hit on the hand with a pitch Friday night and missed the next two games, returned to the lineup in right.

Clay Buchholz, who has been throwing off flat ground, has an off-day Monday and will resume long-tossing Tuesday from a longer distance.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam