BOSTON – With Joel Hanrahan going on the 60-day disabled list, manager John Farrell was asked the state of his bullpen.
“We’ve got ample arms rested and ready to go,” Farrell said.
Right-hander Jose De La Torre was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket before Thursday’s series finale with the Twins to take Hanrahan’s spot on the 40-man roster. Allen Webster was optioned back to Pawtucket, opening a spot on the 25-man roster for De La Torre.
De La Torre, who was acquired in a July trade with the Indians for Brent Lillibridge, originally signed with the Mets in 2006. He has yet to make his major league debut.
He will be used in "low-leverage innings right now,” Farrell said. “He’s been stretched out to a couple of innings while at Pawtucket. Very good breaking ball that he showed us in spring training. He’s got the ability to get an above-average fastball at times. So we’ll pick our spots for him, but not going to say he’s a strict match-up guy. But we needed the arm, obviously, in the bullpen.”
In 10 appearances with the PawSox this season, spanning 17 1/3 innings, De La Torre is 1-0 with a 1.56 ERA. He has allowed five hits and 10 walks (one intentional) with 17 strikeouts. He pitched for Puerto Rico in the WBC this spring.
“It probably added to the information we had received through reports after the trade coming over from Cleveland,” Farrell said. “He’s a guy that everybody asks, well what about the eye test? When you watch him there are certain pitchers you watch and you see okay that’s good stuff. But inside the game the performance really stands out and that’s been the case with De La Torre throughout his whole career.”
-- Both catcher David Ross and third baseman Will Middlebrooks are back in the starting lineup Thursday night. Both left Tuesday’s game after a fifth-inning collision in foul territory, with Middlebrooks making the catch.
-- Left-hander Franklin Morales, who has been on the DL all season with back and left pectoral muscle issues, is scheduled to make his next rehab outing Monday, going three innings on a starter’s schedule. If necessary, the Sox could call him back after that if there are no issues. But the preference, Farrell said, would be to continue to get him stretched out in the even the Sox need him for rotation depth.
-- Right-hander Andrew Bailey, who has been on the DL since April 29 with a right biceps strain, is scheduled to begin throwing Thursday, from about 60-75 feet. He is eligible to come off the DL Tuesday. But Farrell said that is uncertain until Bailey throws from a mound and they can better evaluate him.
-- Left-hander Felix Doubront had a disappointing outing Wednesday – going 5 1/3 innings, giving up six runs on 12 hits, that saw his ERA swell to 6.40 – in which he continued to show decreased velocity and an inability to put batters away after getting ahead in the count. When asked what is the next step in trying to increase Doubron'ts velocity, Farrell replied:
“To try to continue to generate arm speed and that’s through energy in the delivery. But you can’t just point your finger at one thing and say this is going to create additional velocity. Because if you start to speed up a body and then you have to take into an arm action, which his is a little bit longer. But that’s what his natural arm action is, we can’t begin to adjust and arm action – it’s too dangerous from a health standpoint and that takes time – so you stay the course with the constants. And that’s with throwing programs and that’s what’s employed every five days in that work week. I think barring any increase in velocity what’s got to be adjusted is his recognition of the stuff that he has, particularly when he gets ahead in the count, because we’ve seen it. Now it’s a matter of consistent location to the edge or just off to create some to try to expand the strike zone.
“Just looking back at the [last] two appearances, that’s what really stands out to me, is that you get a number of at-bats where you’re ahead in the count and yet hits were still allowed. And that’s what shows you that action on the secondary stuff is not what it typically is. And that recognition on his part has got to be played out in game.”
Farrell still plans to return Doubront to the Sox rotation the next time around. But with Monday an off-day, a specific date for Doubront's next start is unknown.
-- In the last six games, Sox batters are 7-for-37, hitting .189 with runners in scoring position, leaving 39 runners on base.
-- In the last six games, Sox starting pitchers have posted an ERA of 7.98, with six home runs, 13 walks, 32 strikeouts, and 41 hits over 29 1/3 innings, with two quality starts.
-- In the last six games, Sox pitchers have allowed an opponents to hit .325, going 74-for-228. Prior to that opponents hit just .221 off Sox pitchers.
-- Sox batters have an overall run differential of +26 this season, seventh in the major leagues. They are +1 at home, +25 on the road. But in the last six games, their run differential is -23.