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Red Sox notebook

Miller on the way up?

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / June 15, 2011

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A major league source said last night the Red Sox are working on a plan to add lefthander Andrew Miller, currently at Triple A Pawtucket, to the rotation.

Miller has a clause in his minor league contract that would allow him to declare free agency today if he is not promoted to the majors. He is scheduled to meet with general manager Theo Epstein today to discuss his future.

Miller, 26, is 3-3 with a 2.47 earned run average in 13 appearances for Pawtucket. But he has been dominant in recent weeks, allowing five earned runs over his last 25 1/3 innings with three walks and 26 strikeouts.

Miller went 5 1/3 innings against Charlotte last night, allowing one run on five hits with one walk and 10 strikeouts. He has a 2.47 ERA this season.

“I don’t know,’’ said Miller, when asked whether his next game would be for the Red Sox. “I got my agent [Mark Rodgers] in town and we’ll probably talk about it tonight. It’s a tough decision, but we’ll see. I think things are certainly going in the right direction here and it would be a shame not to keep it going.’’

According to the source, the Sox are planning to start Miller against the Padres next week and will create space in the rotation by shifting around the starts of John Lackey and Tim Wakefield. That essentially would create a six-man rotation.

The Sox have not commented on what their plans are for Miller. Speaking to reporters yesterday, manager Terry Francona praised Miller’s performance and said he personally recruited him over the winter.

There is no word on when Miller would be added to the roster. But presumably the promise of being added to the rotation would keep him from opting out of his deal today.

Several teams in need of a starter, including the Yankees, have scouted Miller in recent weeks. Were he to opt out, he would be signed quickly to a major league deal.

“We all like to have fun playing baseball, but you look at it and it all boils down eventually to a business and money and whatnot,’’ said Miller. “So there’s that side of it and you’ve got to discuss it and figure out what’s best for myself.’’

A former first-round draft pick, Miller has a career 5.84 ERA and bottomed out last season with the Marlins, going 1-5 with an 8.54 ERA.

Crawford returns Carl Crawford acknowledged last night’s 4-0 loss against the Rays was not just another game on the schedule for him.

How could it have been? He spent nine seasons with Tampa Bay before joining the Red Sox as a free agent. He was 0 for 3 with a strikeout in his return.

“I am good at putting stuff behind me really quick. I’m going to make tomorrow feel as normal as possible,’’ Crawford said.

When he came to the plate in the first inning, some fans booed Crawford before cheering drowned them out. About half the crowd stood and applauded.

“It was cool,’’ he said. “I guess there were a lot of mixed emotions out there. To the people who cheered, I appreciate it.’’

Crawford heard it worse in left field, saying he was called a traitor and reminded many times about his uncharacteristically low batting average.

Before the game, he was asked what was the biggest difference between the Rays and the Sox.

“It’s all baseball. But it’s a little different,’’ he said. “It’s more a younger team [in Tampa], so it was more like party central all the time. [In Boston] it’s a little more calmer, a little more conservative. That’s probably the biggest difference.’’

Rising Star Adrian Gonzalez has moved past Mark Teixeira of the Yankees in the latest round of voting for the All-Star Game. Gonzalez has 2,027,537 votes, giving him a healthy lead at first base over Teixeira, who has 1,774,024. David Ortiz has a 546,085-vote lead in the DH race ahead of Texas’s Michael Young. Dustin Pedroia is more than a million votes behind New York’s Robinson Cano at second base. Kevin Youkilis is third among third baseman and Jacoby Ellsbury fourth in the outfield voting.

Catching up Bobby Jenks rejoined the team and is starting to play catch again. He left the June 7 game against the Yankees because of a strained muscle in his back. Jenks threw from 90 feet yesterday. He has been cleared to throw as often and with as much intensity as he can tolerate . . . Franklin Morales will remain with Pawtucket on a rehabilitation assignment for at least one more game. The lefthanded reliever had what Francona termed a “tough time’’ against Charlotte Monday night. Morales walked two batters and hit another before getting two outs. Only 13 of his 23 pitches were strikes. The plan now is for Morales to have a more extended outing tomorrow and throw 30 pitches.

Lowrie sits again Shortstop Jed Lowrie, who is dealing with a sore left shoulder, was out of the lineup for a second straight game. With the day off Monday, that gave him three days off in a row . . . Outfielder Darnell McDonald was activated off the disabled list after playing nine rehab games at Pawtucket. He was 10 for 29 (.345) with five extra-base hits and 11 RBIs. McDonald has hit just .143 this season for the Sox in limited playing time. Francona hinted that McDonald would be in the lineup tomorrow against Rays lefthander David Price. Infielder Drew Sutton was optioned to Pawtucket to make room for McDonald . . . Ortiz told ESPNdeportes.com that he has not discussed a contract extension with the Sox and would prefer to wait until after the season to do so . . . Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the third inning.

Gedman set to sign Framingham’s Matt Gedman, the Red Sox’ 45th-round draft pick out of the University of Massachusetts and son of former Sox catcher Rich Gedman, reported to the team’s minor league complex in Fort Myers yesterday and is expecting to sign today after taking his physical. Gedman, who can play several infield positions, had a .334 career average in four seasons at UMass. He was a starting third baseman in the recent New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association All-Star Game. “It’s definitely exciting and now it’s time to hopefully take advantage of my opportunity,’’ said Gedman, who most likely will be assigned to the Sox’ Gulf Coast Rookie League team.

Michael Vega of the Globe staff contributed to this report from Pawtucket, R.I.; Globe correspondent Marvin Pave also contributed.

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