Plenty to get to today from pregame, including the latest on Tim Wakefield, Jed Lowrie, the pitching rotation for the weekend, and Daisuke Matsuzaka. First, manager Terry Francona outlined how he will likely deploy the five players who were called up today.
*Brian Anderson, who can play all three outfield positions, will be used mostly as a versatile late-innings defensive replacement.
*Junichi Tazawa, who was sent to the Gulf Coast League only so the Sox would have room for Paul Byrd on Sunday, will rejoin the starting rotation and make his next start Saturday against the Chicago White Sox. Byrd will pitch Friday in Chicago.
*Chris Woodward will serve as a backup utility infielder. The Sox chose him instead of Jed Lowrie so Lowrie can readjust to playing with his left wrist injury. (More on Lowrie below.)
*George Kottaras will be the third catcher and, if Tim Wakefield returns, he will resume his duties as Wakefield’s personal catcher.
*Joey Gathright will be this year’s version of Dave Roberts, “that guy that can come out late and maybe steal a base,” Gathright said. He has played left and center in his career, but Francona may also use him in rightfield. He also adds another lefthanded bat off the bench.
The Red Sox acquired Gathright on Saturday from the Baltimore Orioles in a minor league trade. Gathright said his favorite place to play during his career was Fenway Park, and he wanted to land in Boston.
“I knew I was going to a contender,” Gathright said. “I didn’t think it was this one. I was hopeful that it was, because I like this team a lot.”
Gathright welcomed his role as a late-innings replacement in the field or on the bases.
“I’ve done it before,” Gathright said. “It’s a role I think I can do.”
-“There’s not much” of an update on Tim Wakefield, Francona said. He had an anti-inflammatory shot yesterday, and the Sox are waiting for it to take hold before they further evaluate Wakefield.
-Daisuke Matsuzaka endured a rough rehab start Sunday. The first inning was “a fiasco,” Francona said. Matsuzaka allowed five runs on four hits and three walks in the first while throwing 49 pitches. Matsuzaka retired the side in order in the second and threw 58 pitches total.
“The second inning was actually really good, which is nice,” Francona said. “The good news is he feels real healthy. Everything was OK.
“He said he was trying some things. Try something different.”
Matsuzaka will throw a side session in Lowell today. His final minor league rehab start will be Friday with Triple A Pawtucket. His first start with the Red Sox is scheduled for Sept. 9, which is conveniently the day before a day off.
-The Red Sox remain uncertain about if or when Lowrie will return. He is rehabbing his left wrist in Pawtucket, still trying to gain comfort with his surgically repaired left wrist. Lowrie experienced a setback late last week while checking his swing. The club isn’t sure where exactly he stands.
“I guess that’s what we’re kind of trying to figure out,” Francona said. “The hard thing is, I think he’s trying to figure it out. I think he has a good day, and then a day where he sort of – I don’t know if regresses is the right word. Maybe he doubts himself a little bit.”
Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson and general manager Theo Epstein spoke with Lowrie over the weekend. Each stressed they wanted to emphasize communication while trying to give Lowrie as many as at-bats as he feels comfortable with.
-The Rays lineup is in:
1. Jason Bartlett, SS
2. Carl Crawford, LF
3. Ben Zobrist, RF
4. Evan Longoria, 3B
5. Carlos Pena, 1B
6. Pat Burrell, DH
7. Akinori Iwamura, 2B
8. Dinoer Navarro, C
9. B.J. Upton, CF