Red Sox notes Friday: Shane Victorino starts to 'ramp up' while John Farrell considers Brock Holt for All-Star Game

Mike Petraglia
July 04, 2014 - 8:41 am

There was no game Friday at Fenway because of the threat of Tropical Storm Arthur but still much to consider for Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Everyone was here and there was certainly enough talk, even throughout the day [Thursday] as I reached out to a few guys that this was a possibility today," Farrell said. "But everyone was here. Guys got their throwing in that needed to. It was a quick turnaround [home]." Most immediate is what to do with the pitching staff. Farrell said Jon Lester will start Saturday, likely Game 1 of the day-night doubleheader in the afternoon, while John Lackey will get the nod in the night cap. "We're caught up," Farrell said of his entire pitching staff. "We'll stay on [schedule] for right now." With Lester starting on Saturday, he won't be able to make the start on Wednesday against the White Sox at Fenway, meaning the Red Sox will have to find a spot starter, possibly Felix Doubront, but Farrell wasn't ready to commit Friday morning. "I haven't even looked at who the candidates would be," Farrell said. "We haven't taken a look at everything. We'll need an additional pitcher even if we choose to spot start someone. We'll figure that out as we get through the weekend." The Red Sox and Orioles will each get an additional player for Game 2 Saturday night. Farrell said he hasn't decided who that would be or at what position the club would choose to fill. The Orioles will actually go from 24 eligible players to 26 because they will get infielder Manny Machado back from his five-game suspension following Game 1. Farrell also provided updates on several rehabbing players, including Will Middlebrooks (finger), Shane Victorino (hamstring, back) and Mike Carp (right foot). "Will is with Pawtucket right now," Farrell said. "With the weather [Thursday], there's been some change. Mike Carp will join Portland today. He wasn't able to get out on a flight [Thursday] night. Will is with Pawtucket in Syracuse. Farrell said Middlebrooks is being held out of playing in the field as he and the organization continue to monitor his finger. The team would like to see Middlebrooks get some reps in the outfield as well as third base but that has been put on hold. "Still DHing," Farrell said. "While the throwing is improving, as are the reps at third base pre-game, we're not at that point yet." Victorino took advantage of a wide open Fenway Park Friday morning during light rain to get in some intense rehab training, with trainer Rick Jameyson and physical therapist Dan Dyrek looking on. Victorino spent nearly 30 minutes backpedaling around the outfield warning track, jogging and then sprinting in right field. "Shane's baseball activities continue to ramp up, particularly with the running and agility work," Farrell said. Victorino has been out since May 24 and has played in just 21 games, batting .242 with one homer and 10 RBIs. He went on the DL with a hamstring injury before tweaking his back during rehab, causing a further setback. With Victorino's injury and the release of Grady Sizemore, the Red Sox have been left short of experience in center field, with Jackie Bradley Jr. and now Mookie Betts getting the majority of reps. "Our center fielders, I would like to say have that veteran presence but we're all in that learning curve right now," Farrell said. "But that's done through early work with balls off the wall. We're not going to be able to mimick or reproduce every carom. And that's where time out there and games played in center field is going to lend to that." Farrell was also asked about the recent struggles of lefty reliever Craig Breslow, who allowed four hits and four runs in 2/3 innings in Wednesday night's 16-9 loss to the Cubs. He is 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.91 WHIP in 29 appearances this season. Farrell insisted Friday that Breslow is not dealing with any medical limitations. "I wouldn't say building up arm strength because I thought [Wednesday] night he was throwing some of his better stuff of late," Farrell said. "There's been multiple conversations on more approach rather than physical side that might play into the number of walks. I thought he was more aggressive [Wednesday] night and yet a couple of base hits were when he was ahead in the count. But we're still trying to seek some consistency with the performance." "I can't say October doesn't have a carryover effect for every guy, regardless of position. You take all that into account. The one area of greatest unpredictability is the bullpen from year-to-year performance. There's no injury. He's pitched a lot over the last four to five years but again, all I can speak to is that there's no physical ailments that he's dealing with. "I think more just in terms of being aggressive overall rather than thinking there has to be a perfect pitch every time Even coming out of spring training late [in 2013] and starting the season a little bit delayed, he had one of the better years of his career last year. What has been relived here in the two years is that it's taken him a little bit longer than normal to get ready for game action in-season. He's even attempted starting throwing earlier in the offseason. It's just when he first gets to game speed, it's taken him a little while to get in game shape." Farrell is also in the midst of considering All-Star selections, as he officially gets seven selections as the manager of the American League squad. "Given all the information that we've received over the last three days, you kind of keep guys appraised of who would be in consideration, what scenarios may or may not play out like and you deal with them as straight-up as possible and know that guys in our uniform did an awful lot for us to be in this position to go to Minnesota and you keep that in mind. But I think that guys recognize it, too. They're voting members so they see the years other players are having and they're realistic in their own right." One of Boston's most deserving - and certainly unheralded - candidates would be Brock Holt. "Superman" has played five positions for the Red Sox in 2014 and most importantly has stabilized the top of the batting order as the club's most consistent leadoff hitter. He's batting .322 with a .367 OPB in 51 games this season for the Red Sox, including .324/.340/.729 as the leadoff hitter. Is he All-Star worthy? "There's been some conversation about him and yet because of those other factors, you don't have carte blanche to [build] a 34-man roster," Farrell acknowledged, before adding, "[Players are] realistic. They see the years other players have had and the All-Star Game is representative of a guy's year currently being had. "I have seven [picks] but you also have to take into account a number of factors. Every team being represented. We're mandated to have a 13-man pitching staff. So, there's a few things that narrow down your overall selections." As for his club's offensive inconsistency, Farrell was philosophical. "That's a day-to-day, and almost situation-to-situation involvement because the emotion of the game is going to cause some of that to spike at times but I think just creating an environment that is consistent, supportive and positive, I'm pleased with the environment we're able to create every day," he said.