On the advice of Dr. James Andrews, righthander Scott Atchison will try rest and rehab on his torn ulnar collateral ligament instead of Tommy John surgery.
"He felt like it was kind of a tear that's probably been there for a while," Atchison said on Tuesday. "I may have caused a little inflammation or irritated it a little bit so we just need to get it to calm down. That requires some rest. We're devising a plan to attack."
Atchison said he is "very optimistic" that he will be able to pitch again in September.
Bobby Valentine believes it's possible.
"I was glad to hear something like that," the manager said. "I had a very similar report on Nolan Ryan when I was with the Rangers a 100 years ago. They said very similar thing: 'Hey, it's torn and you either get it cut on or throw 75 pitches a game or something.'
"He [Ryan] went on to pitch a couple of more no-hitters, strike out a bunch of people ... so who knows?''
In other matters:
• With the Red Sox playing a day game Wednesday after the night game, Valentine kept third baseman Will Middlebrooks out of the lineup. Nick Punto will start at third.
Asked if he gave Middlebrooks the night off because of concerns about his hamstring, Valentine said, "It was in the back of my mind, but it's not related. He's running really well now, but he's showing us enough that we let him go on bases and things and try not to get him into a fatigue situation with the way he's playing.''
• Valentine sounded as though he planned to have LHP Franklin Morales make another start when he indicated that Aaron Cook would miss this weekend's four-game series in Cleveland to get ready for the three-game set in Baltimore next week.
Asked if Morales was available to use out of the bullpen, Valentine said, "I'm hoping we don't have to use him. If it's an emergency situation, he's flexible enough to pitch.''
• Four Bruins players — Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille, Tuukka Rask, and Mike Mottau — showed up at Fenway Park and took their hacks at the wall during batting practice. Rask, surprisingly, was the only player who rapped the wall a few times, hitting off a pitching machine.
Thornton came away with a new-found appreciation for what Red Sox hitters go through.
"They're hand speed is so ridiculously faster than ours, it's amazing,'' said the bruising Bruins forward.