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Red Sox notes: Sox hope for Ellsbury, Saltalamacchia returns on Saturday

09.06.13 at 6:29 pm ET
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NEW YORK — The Red Sox lineup is a bit depleted, with Jacoby Ellsbury out of Friday’s contest due to discomfort in his right foot. Ellsbury originally incurred the injury when he smashed a foul ball off the foot in a game against the Orioles on August 28. He sat out for the final two innings of that contest and returned to the lineup, but on Thursday, the issue got worse, coming to a head when he stole second en route to scoring the winning run in the Sox’ 9-8 win in 10 innings.

“Last night in that final stolen base he aggravated that right foot,” said manager John Farrell. “Throughout the night, increased pain, some throbbing. [It] was there again today. So he’€™s off his feet. [He] will get treatment throughout the course of the game tonight, hopefully be back in the lineup here tomorrow.’€

The Sox likewise consider the return of catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia — who has sat out for the last four games due to lower back soreness — a “real possibility” for Saturday after the catcher took early batting practice and threw on the field prior to Friday’s game. The team then plans to manage his workload a bit in the days thereafter, with the plan being to wait until sometime in the middle or near the end of next week before having the 28-year-old play back-to-back days.

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

Clay Buchholz, who allowed two runs and struck out five in 3 2/3 innings in a rehab start on Thursday, will join the Red Sox in New York on Saturday and then throw a bullpen session on Sunday. The team will wait until he comes through that session before making any changes to the rotation in order to slot in Buchholz and displace another starter. While the return date for Buchholz — who is 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 12 starts this year, none since June 8 — has yet to be formalized, the right-hander was optimistic based on his performance in Thursday’s rehab outing in Rochester.

“Power was consistent to not only his previous outing but when he was active with us earlier in the year,” said Farrell, who talked to Buchholz on Thursday afternoon. “He feels good coming out of the outing physically. Felt like with each inning that he’€™s pitched, the increase in command and action to his secondary pitch is gaining that consistency. He’€™s in a pretty good place from a mental standpoint in addition to physically being sound.”

— The Red Sox continue to try to make sense of Junichi Tazawa‘s recent vulnerability to hard contact. The right-hander has shown power and, at times, life on his pitches — as he did in topping out at 97 mph with his fastball and throwing a devastating splitter to punch out Alex Rodriguez — but he’s also shown a tendency for his stuff to flatten out against left-handed hitters.

“The ongoing conversation with him the last month has been more of expressing continuing confidence and trust in him, because we need him to be a contributor late in the game. He has been,” said Farrell. “Even though he’s gone through some rocky stretches here, we need him to be that pitcher. What we’ll look to get out of him is, is there a difference when he’s throwing a split to right-handers and to left-handers because the action of the one to Rodriguez and the one to [Lyle] Overbay was night and day. Whether it was overthrown and caused the grip to be too tense, minimizing the depth of the split, that’s the mindset we’re trying to get a better read of.”

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