Red Sox remain optimistic about John Lackey

TORONTO — Righthander John Lackey, who left Saturday’s game against Toronto in the fifth inning with an arm injury, flew back to Boston Sunday morning and was given a series of tests.

As of Sunday night, the Red Sox were waiting to get the results of his MRI further interpreted. General manager Ben Cherington said the exam showed Lackey having a strained right biceps.

“We’ll sit down with John [on Monday] and map out what our plan is and what is in his best interests,’’ manager John Farrell said.

Lackey was scheduled to start Friday. But it seems likely that he is headed to the disabled list for at least two weeks.


“First and foremost is John’s well-being,’’ Farrell said. “Given all that he’s come through, or in this case just the fact that a pitcher walked off the mound in the midst of an at-bat, we’ve got to be cautious with this.’’

The Sox haven’t said who would start in Lackey’s place if needed. Alfredo Aceves followed him to the mound on Saturday and threw 3⅔ innings.

“I feel good and if I need to start, I can start,’’ Aceves said Sunday. “It’s like a wave, the way you build up. I’m on a good wave.’’

With the day off Tuesday, the Sox simply could skip that spot in the rotation for one turn.

Ortiz feeling good

The Sox have scored 36 runs in their first six games without the presence of designated hitter David Ortiz. Now Big Papi is set to play in his first game of the spring Monday.

Ortiz spent the weekend at the team complex in Fort Myers, Fla., doing base-running drills and taking batting practice. Now he will play in extended spring training games.

The tentative plan is for Ortiz to start a rehabilitation assignment with Triple A Pawtucket Thursday.

Pawtucket starts an eight-game homestand Thursday. Ortiz has said he would like 25-30 at-bats at Pawtucket before returning to the Sox.


Barring any setbacks, Ortiz could return to the Red Sox for the homestand that starts April 19.

The process will hinge on how Ortiz feels on a given day.

Delay for Drew

Shortstop Stephen Drew will remain with Double A Portland Monday and is set to join the Red Sox Wednesday.

Drew, who is on a rehabilitation assignment after recovering from a concussion, was 0 for 4 with a walk for Portland in Sunday’s 9-7 loss against Trenton and played eight innings in the field. He is 1 for 10 in three games.

Drew was expected back Monday. But Portland’s game Saturday was postponed by the cold.

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“Just talking with him late [Saturday], he felt an additional 8-10 at-bats would be helpful,’’ Farrell said. “He’s starting to feel much more comfortable.’’

Drew is scheduled to play the entire game for Portland Monday.

As Drew recovers, Jose Iglesias is 9 for 17 filling in for him. He was 2 for 5 with a double Sunday.

Bradley battles

Rookie left fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is hitting .143 (3 of 21) after six games, albeit with a .333 on-base percentage thanks to five walks. He was 1 for 11 against the Jays.

“They attacked him on the inside part of the plate a little bit,’’ Farrell said. “They did a good job. They mixed up some breaking balls for strikes. They spread the zone away from him.

“I don’t think he expanded [his strike zone] that much. He saw some fastballs at the belt and above I don’t think he’s seen all that much of. He’s learning.’’


Bradley has played every inning of the season in left field and had a direct role in contributing to three of the four victories.

“Any level you go to, you need to adjust,’’ he said. “I’m seeing what they’re doing with me. I’ll be OK.’’

Opening salvo?

The Orioles are 3-3 after losing to the Twins on Sunday and have dropped two straight one-run games. That had center fielder Adam Jones fired up about playing the Sox Monday.

“It’s important,’’ Jones told reporters in Baltimore about the team’s need to play well at Fenway Park. “You’ve seen the last couple days, you look on the scoreboard today. They had 13 runs and they put them up quick, too. I think they are swinging the bats. We’ve got to go out there . . . and spoil their Opening Day.’’

That Fenway will be sold out matters not to Jones.

“The more people, the more you want to shut them up. That’s how I look at it. I don’t care, they can stand up the whole game. They do anyway. But when you can silence 40,000 people, it’s pretty cool,’’ he said.

Happy birthday

Hall of Famer and Red Sox legend Bobby Doerr turned 95 Sunday . . . The Red Sox have yet to commit an error. Pedro Ciriaco was unjustly charged with a throwing error in the ninth inning before the scorer reversed his call . . . Will Middlebrooks, at 24, is the youngest Red Sox player to hit three home runs in a game since 24-year-old Jim Rice in 1977 . . . Daniel Nava started at first base for the first time and played seven seamless innings. He also was 1 for 3 with a home run, a sacrifice fly, and a walk. “The game moves fast on the infield,’’ said Nava, who as a professional had played only the outfield. “It was fun, actually.’’ . . . Mike Carp became the last Red Sox player to get in a game when he pinch hit in the eighth inning and lined to shortstop . . . The Sox were outhomered, 8-2, by the opposition before Sunday. Now it’s 8-8 . . . Sox pitchers have 58 strikeouts and only 15 walks . . . Jose Bautista missed the entire series for the Blue Jays because of a sore right ankle.

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