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Pregame notes: Weiland to start Sunday

Posted by Michael Vega, Globe Staff  July 8, 2011 04:47 PM

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Red Sox manager Terry Francona reported this afternoon that Kyle Weiland will be called up from Triple A Pawtucket to pitch in Sunday's game against the Orioles.

Weiland, 24, of Albuquerque, N.M., will draw his first career major league start for the Sox. He was selected in the third round of the 2008 draft out of Notre Dame, where he ranked as the Irish's all-time saves leader with 25.

"It's his day and he's lined up for it and he's really been doing well,'' Francona said.

Weiland was 8-6 with a 3.00 ERA in 17 starts with the Pawsox this season. He's allowed 34 runs on 69 hits and 99 strikeouts compared to 37 walks.

"He's got a live arm, throws hard and he always has,'' Francona said. "He's got command and he's competing and he's starting to mature as a pitcher. That happens sometimes at different rates, but he's always had a good arm.''

The righthanded Weiland will take Jon Lester's turn in the rotation after the lefthander was placed on the 15-day disabled list July 6 with a left latissimus strain.

''As much as has gone wrong with some health, this is the flip side where it's really exciting,'' Francona said. "I'm kinda looking forward to it."

Francona said there was some consideration given to starting Alfredo Aceves, who threw two innings of scoreless relief in Thursday night's 10-4 victory over the Orioles, but the manager indicated it would have been counterproductive to remove Aceves from the bullpen.

"The way our bullpen is situated, he gives us such a luxury of pitching short and pitching long,'' Francona said. "He may start again sometime, but this kid's lined up and he's been pretty hot and I'd like to send him out there and see how he does.''

The club did not announce any corresponding roster move, but it seemed reliever Scott Atchison, who has options remaining, would be the likely candidate to be sent down to Pawtucket.
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Francona shared Clay Buchholz's hope that the righthander, who was placed on the DL retroactive to June 17 with a lower back strain, will begin throwing Sunday.

"We'll send him home [for the All-Star break], because we don't want him throwing on his own too much, without supervision,'' Francona said. "When we get him back, hopefully, we can kind of start getting him on that throwing program and ramp him up a little bit, but it's all going to be according to how he feels.''

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Yamaico Navarro, who was called up from Pawtucket June 30 when outfielder Mike Cameron was designated for assignment (and later traded to the Florida Marlins), was penciled in at left field for tonight's game. It marked Navarro's fourth start this season and first in the outfield.

"We saw him run balls down this spring in BP, but it seemed like as an organization we said, `Maybe we ought to think about doing this,' '' Francona said. "We wanted him to get his feet on the ground in Triple A first and he started out hitting real well and then he got hurt [strained oblique].

"He's got a good clock, defensively, when the ball is hit to him at short or at third,'' Francona noted. "Again, it helps to have an arm like that, but you never see him rush, he's got a real good idea and a good awareness of where the runner is and it seems like it's translated to the outfield also."

While Francona expressed some concern about Navarro having to handle the Wall, he felt his athleticism would take over.

"It's his first time,'' Francona said. ``But you know what? He's a really good athlete, so no more than anybody else.''

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