Red Sox pregame notes: No DL yet for Edward Mujica, Mike Napoli managing his finger injury

May 04, 2014 - 7:25 am
Edward Mujica will not need a trip to the disabled-list -- for now. The right-hander felt oblique discomfort while warming up during the eighth inning of Saturday's 6-3 victory over the A's that left him unable to pitch the ninth. He is day-to-day and will use Sunday and Monday's off-day as an opportunity to rest. The Red Sox will reevaluate Mujica's injury when the team opens up a two-game series against the Reds on Tuesday. "You put him through some functional tests, more range of motion and rotational before you put a ball in his hands," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "That's the progression he's going through." Farrell, who said in spring training that Mujica would get the lion's share of closing opportunities at times when Koji Uehara wasn't available, said that the next pitcher up will be determined by the situation. "Depending on where we are in the lineup, it's going to determine who that seventh or eighth inning is going to be," Farrell said. "We've seen [Junichi] Tazawa in the seventh inning if we're against right handers, [Andrew] Miller or even [Chris] Capuano in the eighth against some lefties, so we match up more in the innings prior to Koji. We'll see. It'll be dependent upon who's available on a given day and what the scores are." OTHER RED SOX NOTES -- In Mike Napoli's spot in Sunday's lineup stands Mike Carp. With an off-day on Monday, the Red Sox viewed Sunday as an opportunity to get the first baseman an extra day of rest and heal some nagging injuries, particularly the left finger he dislocated two weeks ago. "He's still trying to get over some things he's banged up with and today being a day and then tomorrow, hopefully we can get further ahead of it," Farrell said. "If you notice after every at-bat, he's getting taped up with that finger so it's something that he still contends with." Farrell says that Napoli's high pain threshold has allowed him to continuing playing every day. "It speaks to his pain threshold, which is obviously high," Farrell said. "The one thing that is extremely noticeable is the two-strike approach, where there is a willingness to cut down the swing to stay under control a little bit more without sacrificing too much power and I think it's translated to the on-base and the overall average." -- With a day to reflect on Jon Lester's eight-inning, 15-strikeout performance, Farrell remained incredibly impressed with the southpaw's outing. "That's a rare performance," Farrell said. "The thing that still stands out is that combination of power and command. When you see the location and the quality of the location inside the strike zone, that's what's pretty remarkable. To maintain that full power through a full eight innings, nearly 120 pitches. He got into a very good rhythm early and carried it all the way through." Farrell, who was Lester's pitching coach during his first tenure with the Red Sox from 2007 through 2010, believes that Lester's ability to command his pitches to both sides of the strike zone has helped him take the next step. "He's much more consistent to the arm side of the strike zone now than he was at the time," Farrell said. "He was a guy that pitched almost on half of the plate. That he has the capability to pitch to both sides of the plate now, it spreads it wide to the eye of the hitter and seemingly they have to protect a greater area and when you combine that with mid- to low-90s stuff, you're seeing a pitcher that will probably keep a game in command and the potential to dominate and that's what took place yesterday." Of course, the fact that Lester's 15-strikeout game represented a career watershed offered Farrell a greater perspective on another Red Sox pitcher. "What puts some other things in context is that Pedro [Martinez] did this 10 times here in his career," noted Farrell. "It makes you take a step back and realize how dominant of a pitcher he was, as well."