ARLINGTON, Texas It's a beautiful morning here in Texas. A few notes for you:
RHP Andrew Bailey (bicep) will get an MRI in Boston on Monday morning. "As much to give him some peace of mind with what he's dealing with," manager John Farrell said. "It's in that last 10 percent of intensity when he feel some of the symptoms that's going through.
"For our own information and his peace of mind, we've got to get that looked at."
Bailey will not pitch today and that will make seven consecutive days he has not been used. The Red Sox could retroactively place him on the 15-day disabled list and he would miss only eight more days.
"Tomorrow we'll probably have more information on that," Farrell said.
If Bailey were to go on the DL, activating LHP Craig Breslow would seem like the obvious move. Farrell said the Sox have not yet decided whether to activate Breslow. He has been on the disabled list all season recovering from shoulder soreness. Breslow's last few minor league outings have been solid.
"The way Craig feels coming out of [Saturday's] game, the number of appearances that he's had, we're getting closer to that for sure," Farrell said.
3B Will Middlebrooks is just getting a day off. "We planned on this road trip to try to rotate some guys through, get some guys off their feet," Farrell said. "Today is that day for Will."
Middlebrooks is hitting .159 (14 of 88) in his last 23 games with 30 strikeouts and only six RBIs. He made three errors in the last two games.
Middlebrooks has been chasing balls out of the strike zone. He also isn't getting much in return when he does make contact (a .222 batting average on balls in play). There is frustration but also a sense of determination.
"I've had these kind of periods before," Middlebrooks said Saturday night. "I'm not going to do anything crazy. I need to stick to my routine and work hard. I'll get there."
The Red Sox do not have another third baseman who is better at this point and will give Middlebrooks a long leash to get out of his slump. Third base is not a deep position in the organization, particularly at the higher levels.
RF Shane Victorino is getting a day because the Red Sox want to be cautious with his back injury. "Planned day down. He feels fine physically," Farrell said. "Coming back from what he's been dealing with, didn't want to run him out there for too many consecutive days."
RHPs Junichi Tazawa (15 games) and Koji Uehara (14 games) are among the league leaders in appearances. It's something the Red Sox need to keep an eye on, Farrell acknowledged.
Uehara, who is 38, appeared in 37 games in 2012 and only 22 in 2011 because of injuries.
"We've got to be careful of certain guys," Farrell said. "Innings by starters are key."
The Red Sox don't have a day off until May 13, so skipping LHP Felix Doubront isn't really an option unless some sort of roster move is made. He has been working on ways to improve his arm strength with pitching coach Juan Nieves.
"There's been a little bit more emphasis on the long toss in terms of the intensity. Can't say that we're going to ramp up the volume of it much more," Farrell said. "We're trying to stay consistent with the work."
Doubront had a big spike in innings last season but Farrell doesn't feel that's an issue. If anything, he said, that should have made Doubront stronger.
"A guy that's of his age, you would think that would be a stepping stone into a similar type of performance and a further increase in innings," Farrell said.
Doubront did arrive at spring training in poor shape. Whatever offseason program he had was not an effective one.
"I can't say no to that," Farrell said when asked if that might be an issue. "But the one thing that's a little puzzling is that in spring training, when he got back up to game speed, there was good power to the fastball. Whether or not this is the effects of innings starting to mount and maybe the recovery time isn't there, that's probably more speculation."
Farrell said, as he did on Friday, that Doubront does not have any sort of injury.