Brian Johnson

Red Sox notebook: Brian Johnson to enter rotation; Dustin Pedroia trending toward returning Friday

Rob Bradford
July 16, 2015 - 9:36 pm

ANAHEIM -- The Red Sox were reunited Thursday, with about 23 players participating in a post All-Star break optional workout at Angels Stadium prior to their four-game set with the American League West leaders. Among those in attendance was rookie pitcher Brian Johnson. The lefty used the sun-drenched late afternoon to execute a bullpen session in preparation for his first major league start. According to Red Sox manager John Farrell, it isn't clear yet whether Johnson will pitch in the series finale, Monday, or Tuesday in Houston against the Astros. It is unclear who will make the start for the Red Sox on the day Johnson doesn't pitch, although Farrell did note that Justin Masterson isn't a candidate. The righty will remain in the bullpen. The likely candidate to fill out the rotation would seem to be Steven Wright, with Joe Kelly scheduled to start for the Pawtucket Red Sox Friday night. Wright last pitched Sunday. - Dustin Pedroia worked out once again Thursday, hoping to come through the day well enough to be activated for Friday night's game. If Pedroia is activated, he would take the place of Matt Barnes on the 25-man roster. If the second baseman isn't ready to go, a reliever will be called up to take Barnes' place. - Mike Napoli is expected to get the start at first base Friday night with lefty C.J. Wilson on the mound for the Angels. - Farrell said there is no defined number of days before Clay Buchholz (elbow) puts ball back in his hands, noting the injured pitcher is improving daily. - There remains no timetable for Daniel Nava's return from his rehab assignment (thumb), with the outfielder garnering two hits Thursday, including a home run, to raise batting average to .321 while with Triple-A Pawtucket.