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Red Sox-Reds Notes: Middlebrooks in the Lineup, While Ortiz Goes for a Milestone

The Red Sox begin a two-game series against the Reds at Fenway Park Tuesday night. This is just the Reds’ second trip to Fenway since the legendary 1975 World Series. The last time they were here, the Sox swept the three-game set, outscoring the Reds, 23-4. The Reds and Sox have played just one series since then, when the Sox took two of three at Great American Ball Park in 2008.

• Right-hander Edwin Mujica felt tightness in his right oblique during the series against the A’s at Fenway Park over the weekend and was unavailable for the last two games. He got some treatment on it Monday, during the Red Sox’ off-day, and was throwing off a mound Tuesday afternoon before the start of the two-game series with the Reds.

Manager John Farrell said he would be surprised if Mujica didn’t pass the test.

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“We need to get him on a mound to test and see where he is,” Farrell said. “Two days ago he threw 90 feet, albeit controlled. Came through yesterday with some treatment and some activity with no added issues. But the mound test today will be the important one.

“At this point I think it would be more of a surprise if he wasn’t able to pass today.”

• Third baseman Will Middlebrooks jammed his left shoulder when he was thrown at third base in the 10th inning of Sunday’s loss to the A’s. He is back in the lineup today, batting eighth.
• After Monday’s off-day, the Sox have off-days coming up on Thursday and Monday. Farrell could have moved some of his starting pitchers around, getting extra rest for some, but intends to keep them in order.

“We gave quite a bit of thought to the potential to change up the rotation,” Farrell said, “because pitching on the seventh day can be an effect. But given what we’ve got coming up and the run we’ll go on with fewer available days to it, we though ti just best to keep guys in turn, give the rest, and the number of innings our starters have already thrown, this comes at a pretty good time.”

• In 10 career starts, Jake Peavy, scheduled to start Wednesday, is 6-0 with a 2.14 ERA against the Reds. It is his best ERA among teams he’s faced at least three times, and the second-best ERA against the Reds among active pitchers (minimum 50 innings pitched) behind Cole Hamels’ 1.70.

• The Sox are still getting to know outfielder Grady Sizemore and what they can expect from him on the field.

“In his case, there’s no template to follow,” Farrell said. “It’s a unique set of circumstances. So you go by what your eyes are telling you and that goes form the first games played in spring training to all the way thru where we are today, in combination with who else is available on our roster. So this was a ‘take it as it comes’ type of approach with him, centering most around how he responds physically.”

• In his new book Mariano Rivera writes that he prefers Dustin Pedroia over his former teammate Robinson Cano. In an excerpt in the New York Daily News, Rivera wrote of Pedroia:

"Nobody plays harder, gives more, wants to win more. He comes at you hard for 27 outs. It's a special thing to see.”

“Not surprising,” Farrell said. “I think an incredible compliment of your opponent across the field. And maybe allows us to take a step back and really appreciate what we – I don’t want to say take for granted but what we see day in and day out.”

• This will be David Ortiz’s 2000th career game, including 1,545th with the Sox. In baseball history, only 25 players have hit more than Ortiz’s 437 career home runs within their first 2,000 games. Of those 25, 13 are in the Hall of Fame.