Extra Bases

Francona takes injuries in stride

Terry Francona was not about to play the `Woe is me’ card when he fished out an index card from his back pocket before this afternoon’s pregame chat with the media at Fenway Park.

“Actually brought notes here,” Francona said, anticipating questions about injured catcher Victor Martinez, second baseman Dustin Pedroia and pitcher Clay Buchholz, et al before tonight’s game against the visiting Tampa Bay Rays.

Martinez was placed on the disabled list today after suffering what Francona termed “a minimally-displaced fracture'” of his left thumb Sunday in San Francisco, prompting the Sox to call up catcher Gustavo Molina.

“Victor’s in a splint and, in the meantime, he can do everything that is tolerated, now what that is we’re not sure,” Francona said. “We got let this thing heal a little bit. He had no chance of catching in the next week or two. It was going to be impossible. Hopefully, we’ll get through the All-Star break and he’ll be very close to being ready. That would be the hope, but we’ll see. We just have to give it a little time to heal.”

If there was encouraging aspect to Martinez’s injury it was, as Francona pointed out, “There wasn’t a break to the point where you needed to put a pin in it. The bright side of it is that this thing is not going to be long term.'”

Apprised that Molina had some experience catching a knuckleball, Francona cracked, “Good enough for me.” Molina is expected to catch knuckleballer Tim Wakefield on Friday against the visiting Baltimore Orioles.

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“He actually caught one of Wake’s sides this spring,” Francona said. “His strong suit is that he’s got great hands, so that’s good.'”

Francona expressed guarded optimism about Buchholz’s left hamstring, which he injured running to second base in the second inning of Saturday’s game at San Francisco,

“It’s a hamstring strain and we’re obviously relieved about that,” Francona said. “We’ve been a little bit fortunate having a couple of days off on a Monday and a Thursday in the same week, which is a little bit rare. There’s a chance he could pitch Monday. If he’s not able to, there’s a chance he could pitch Tuesday.

“If we get to Tuesday and he’s not ready to pitch then we’ll have to make a move,” Francona said, “because that’ll be our fifth day in a row. I think there’s a decent chance that’ll work, then we’ll make an adjustment. But to get that where he’s able to pitch, he’ll have to do some things in the meantime; he’ll have to be able to throw a side, he’ll have to be able to cover his position.

“But he’s going to go out today and do his normal Day 2, which is encouraging.”

Francona said Pedroia was looking at “2-3 weeks, non-weight bearing,” before another medical examination and assessment would be made on his healing process. “Then the gradual progression toward baseball activities, based on the healing,” he said.

Francona reported infielder Jed Lowrie, who has been on the DL since the beginning of the season with mononucleosis, would be activated Saturday and sent to Lowell to begin a 20-day rehab assignment.

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Francona said Lowrie could possibly enter the rotation at second base during Pedroia’s absence, but cautioned, “He needs to play a little bit. He’s going to need probably every bit of those 20 days, so that’s not on the horizon.”

Outfielder Jeremy Hermida (ribs) continued working on his swing. “He did some flips last day in San Francisco, then he had the off day [Monday] and he’s going to do some more flips today and probably for the next 2-3-4 days,” Francona said. “He’ll have a down day and, hopefully, he’ll graduate to BP on the field, but he’s been doing pretty well.

“He’s been doing all the other things pretty aggressively — outfield drills and baserunning — but the swings are the last thing to come and I think he feels pretty good about himself.”

Asked whether he ever bemoaned having to handle all the mounting injuries, Francona said, “No. I don’t feel that way. Whatever happens, happens. That’s part of the game. We were coming off a couple of good wins.We’ve done a terrific job. Guys are banding together and the energy in our dugout has been unbelievable — and on the field.

“So I think we’re more fixated on that as opposed to the `Woe is me,’ ” Francona said. “It’s more like, `How are we going to win?’ So there’s no reason for me to fret, because our players don’t seem to be. So it’s actually been pretty good. I understand we have pretty good players and some of ’em are hurt. It makes your margin for error a little bit smaller, but hopefully we won’t make errors.”

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