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Red Sox Notes: David Ortiz Sitting Out Game 1 to Attend Daughter's Graduation

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BOSTON – David Ortiz is not in the lineup for the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles at Fenway Park. Manager John Farrell said Ortiz would have missed Friday’s game against the Orioles, which was rained out. Ortiz is expected to be in the lineup for the second game on Saturday.

“He’s returning from a family commitment that’s been scheduled for quite some time in the Dominican [Republic],” Farrell said. “He was going to miss yesterday’s game. It just happens that it turns in the first game of today. But fully expect him to be in the lineup here tonight.”

On Saturday morning, Ortiz tweeted a picture of himself with his daughter Jessica:

• Jon Lester (9-7, 2.92) will start the first game of today’s doubleheader. In six June starters, spanning 41 innings, Lester posted a record of 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA, a 1.098 WHIP, and a 4.00 strikeouts-to-walks ratio, allowing opponents to hit .240/.291/.331. For Farrell -- who has seen much of Lester’s career, first as his pitching coach from 2007-2010 and now as manager the last two seasons – this could be the best season of the left-hander’s career.

“Over the course of the whole year, I would say yes,” Farrell said. “I think back to the first couple of years in his career and there were always those three or four starts coming out of spring training where it took him a little bit to get on a roll and then he kind of got out of his way and he was off and going. Last year, there was that late-May to mid- to late-June stretch where it was a little bit rocky.

“But from start to finish this has been as consistent and as, the performance that he’s giving, this is as good a year as he’s had in his career.”

• Farrell said Shane Victorino could begin a rehab assignment “sometime in the middle of the White Sox series,” which runs from Monday through Thursday at Fenway.
Victorino, who has been on the disabled list since May 24 with a right hamstring strain, recently had a setback with soreness in his lower back for which he received an injection. His last rehab assignment was shut down on June 24.

“He’s improving,” Farrell said. “The running, the agility work, the number of swings in BP, that all continues to increase. And if we’re looking at getting out to get some live action, would be hopefully sometime in the middle of the White Sox series.”

Victorino was working out on the field Friday, after that day’s game against the Orioles had been called because of rain, doing some sprint work and running laps with Sox sports medicine director Dan Dyrek watching.

• Will Middlebrooks and Mike Carp will continue their rehab assignments with Triple-A Pawtucket today.

Carp, who has been on the DL since June 1 with a fractured foot after being hit by a pitch, was scheduled to play for Double-A Portland on Friday night, when he couldn’t get a flight out on Thursday because of weather to join the PawSox in Syracuse. But, the SeaDogs game last night was rained out. He will join Pawtucket today and is scheduled to play left field.

Middlebrooks, who has been on the 15-day DL since May 17 with a fractured right index finger, played third base and went 1-for-2 with a walk on Friday. He is expected to serve as the designated hitter today.

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