In order to give his ace Jon Lester extra rest coming out of the all-star break, Red Sox manager John Farrell shuffled the pitching rotation, pushing Lester back two days to Tuesday, moving Ryan Dempster up to start on Sunday.
The starter for Monday’s series opener against Tampa Bay is still to be determined.
“Just coming out of the break, just general wear and tear through the first half of the season,” Farrell said. “We have an opportunity to give him a couple of extra days coming out of the break and two, he’ll benefit from it.”
Through his first 20 starts, Lester has throw a team-high 125.2 innings. He staggered into the All-Star break, going 2-6 over his past 11 starts with a 6.27 ERA.
“When we came back in for the workout Thursday and then just going through the normal throwing program we’ve done the last couple of days, just felt like two extra days will help him,” Farrell said.
A few other notes:
• After undergoing treatment for the hamstring injury that will keep him out of Saturday’s game, Shane Victorino is expected to return to the lineup Sunday.
“Shane has responded favorably to treatment today, Farrell said. “We expect him back in the lineup tomorrow. He’s been dealing with this issue for quite a while. We fully expect him to have to deal with it, but it’s not to the point to disable him.”
He tweaked the hamstring chasing down a fly ball in the third inning and aggravated it further running out a ground ball in the bottom half of the inning. He was ultimately replaced by Daniel Nava.
“He’s come in today feeling better than I think he even anticipated after coming out last night,” Farrell said. “So we’re hopeful and expecting him to be in the lineup tomorrow.”
• To make room for the return of Stephen Drew, the Red Sox optioned infielder Brock Holt to Triple A Pawtucket.
Farrell had to decided whether he wanted to keep Holt, who hit .290 in 10 games, or Brandon Snyder, who is hitting .231 in 11 games. The decision came down to keeping a right-handed bat on the bench, Farrell said.
“Both guys were playing well,” Farrell said. “The fact is with Stephen coming back to us, a left-handed hitter, the right-handed guy on the bench fits a little bit better. That was expressed and explained to Brock.
“But he gave us everything that we could have hoped for in the time that he was here and probably solidifies further why he was so sought after during the trade in the winter time. He’s a valuable player and he’s got a place here as we go forward.”