Jon Lester was scheduled to have an MRI this afternoon, but regardless of what the test shows, he’s heading to the disabled list, Sox manager Terry Francona said at his press conference moments ago.
Lester is being replaced on the roster by Scott Atchison who will be used out of the bullpen. The Globe’s Pete Abraham reported the Sox will start Alfredo Aceves on Sunday in Lester’s turn. Francona said that had yet to be determined.
Francona said that the hope is still that Lester, who left last night’s game after four innings, has a lower lat strain and nothing more significant. He indicated the team had thought about having him skip his Sunday start anyway and then come back at the back end of the rotation after the All-Star break so he can have optimal rest.
The Sox rotation has taken a beating. Clay Buchholz was examined in North Carolina and the results of that examination is being discussed with Red Sox doctors and an update on Buchholz’ back condition could come later today.
Francona said the team would be cautious with Carl Crawford‘s return, but for now the projection is that Crawford will rejoin the team in Baltimore after the All-Star break. Francona said that Crawford would likely go out and play minor league rehab games after the All-Star break and skip the Tampa Bay series.
Francona said he and the medical people concurred it didn’t make sense for Crawford to play on the Tropicana Field artificial grass even though Crawford played on it for nine seasons and never had a hamstring injury.
Kevin Youkilis is playing first base. Francona said he asked Youkilis if he would feel comfortable going back there because he hasn’t worked out there all year including in spring training. Gonzalez, who is also slumping, has a stiff neck and is being held out tonight.