Slowly but surely the Red Sox are getting closer to full-strength as they attempt to salvage the 2014 season.
Let’s take a look at the walking wounded and see how close they are to returning to big league action.
— The Red Sox are hopeful that Shane Victorino can begin a rehab assignment this weekend in Pawtucket.
“The last couple of days have been encouraging,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said regarding Victorino. “Things have ramped up quite a bit. Like I said, hopefully some time on the weekend, he initiates a rehab assignment.”
Victorino went on the DL for a strained right hamstring for the second time this season on May 24. He suffered the injury in spring training and originally went on the DL May 30 before coming off on April 20. He’s batting .242/.276/.352 in only 21 games played this season.
The Red Sox are bringing Victorino along slowly as they vowed to be cautious with the right fielder this time around.
— Will Middlebrooks will begin a rehab assignment with the PawSox starting Friday.
“He’s going to DH on Friday initially,” Farrell said on Middlebrooks. “He’s going to DH on Friday initially. He swung the bat, at least in a BP session, very well. We’re still working to get full range of motion and I’m sure there will be some exam on that finger just to make sure that once he initiates a throwing program more in earnest, there’s not going to be any pushback from it.”
Middlebrooks was placed on the 15-day DL on May 17 with a fractured right finger. He lost his starting job at third base when Xander Bogaerts moved over to third after the Red Sox acquired Stephen Drew to play shortstop.
Middlebrooks is working on increasing flexibility in his finger as the swelling subsides.
— Embattled starter Clay Buchholz will make his first rehab start for the PawSox Friday night.
Buchholz threw in a 48 pitch simulated game in Detroit on Sunday. The lanky righty has struggled mightily all season and eventually landed on the DL on May 27 with what the team said was a hyperextended left knee.
Farrell would not say how many rehab starts were planned for Buchholz at this point but the hope is that Buchholz can go five innings on Friday.
— Felix Doubront made his second rehab start for the PawSox Tuesday afternoon against Triple-A Louisville. Doubront went 4 2/3 innings, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits along with a walk and three strikeouts. The Sox southpaw starter threw 75 pitches, 44 for strikes, while rarely topping out at 90 miles-per-hour on his fastball. He is expected to start for the PawSox Sunday against Charlotte.
During a game against the Blue Jays on May 20, Farrell pulled Doubront in the fifth inning because of an injury to the starter’s left shoulder. Doubront went on the DL the next day. The 26-year-old lefty said he bumped his throwing shoulder on a car door before the start against the Jays. Doubront put up a 5.12 ERA in nine starts before going on the DL.
— Stephen Drew missed three games in Baltimore with right oblique soreness and is day-to-day.
Drew may be activated for tonight’s a game against the Indians at Fenway.
Drew is 1-for-14 since returning to the Red Sox, and has not faced a lefthander as Jonathan Herrera has started at short in his place.
— Mike Carp, who suffered a stress fracture his right foot, is just beginning some range-of-motion work according to Farrell. No timetable is set for his return.
Carp sustained the injury via a curveball off his foot from Braves reliever David Hale last month.