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Red Sox pregame notes: Clay Buchholz in position to lead Red Sox rotation; Allen Craig day to day with ankle injury; no platoon set at third base with Brock Holt and Will Middlebrooks

08.03.14 at 9:38 pm ET
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In the aftermath of a whirlwind of roster moves that saw the Red Sox gut their pitching staff and ship off Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront over a span of five days, Clay Buchholz holds the uneasy title of “Last Man Standing.”

The 29-year-old starter is now the defacto leader of an otherwise young rotation – a challenge that Red Sox manager John Farrell said that Buchholz is ready to accept.

“€œHe has the experience and the success in a role and in this division and certainly here in Boston to be in that position, to share the experiences that he’€™s gone through,”€ Farrell said. “I think he’€™s seen all sides of it – the injured side, the successful side, the World Series - that he can impart a lot of those experiences on guys and I think he’€™ll relish the opportunity to do just that.”

Farrell said that Buchholz, who has underwhelmed this season with a 5-7 record and a 5.87 ERA, has the chance to improve himself mentally by taking on the role as leader of the rotation.

” I think anytime that you offer or help teach others, it kind of help you learn as well,”€ Farrell said. “€œHe now, being in that role, hopefully he’€™s open-minded and open enough to share those experience that we talk about and I think he now looks around and sees the many guys that he looked up to or took that information from are gone, and it’€™s now his opportunity to pass that baton onto others.”

Red Sox outfielder Allen Craig is absent from the Red Sox lineup for the second-straight game after turning his ankle in the ninth inning of Friday’€™s match against New York. Despite the setback, Farrell said that the team expects Craig back in the lineup to face his former team – the Cardinals -€“ starting on Aug. 5.

“Still day to day,”€ Farrell said. “He still feels the soreness of when he crossed the bag the other night, so we’€™re hopeful he’€™s back in the lineup here when we get to St. Louis.”

Farrell acknowledged that Craig’€™s injury is in the same foot that suffered a Lisfranc fracture at the end of last season, but added that he wasn’€™t sure if it both his current and past injures are somehow connected.

“€œIt’€™s the same foot,” Farrell said. “I can’€™t say it’€™s the same exact injury and that’€™s what we’€™re working through right now.’€

Will Middlebrooks is also not in the starting lineup for the second day in a row, as Brock Holt will once again man the hot corner Sunday. While Farrell said that there is no set platoon organized at third between Holt and Middlebrooks, he added that Holt – hitting .305 in 75 games this season – will try to get everyday playing time for the remainder of the season.

“€œI wouldn’€™t pin a platoon on it, but finding at-bats for Brock is going to come from the left side of the infield and as well as center field,” Farrell said. “He’€™s earned those at-bats, so I guess the better way to describe it, I think, would be from those three positions, he’€™s going to get nearly everyday at-bats.”

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

– Yet another pitcher is making the road up from Triple-A Pawtucket to Boston, as knuckleballer Steven Wright was recalled to the Red Sox and will be active for Sunday’€™s game against New York. To make room for the 29-year-old righty, Boston optioned pitcher Alex Wilson back down to Pawtucket.

“We needed it,”€ Farrell said. “€œWe need the length, we needed another fresh arm, he’€™s been throwing a lot of strikes. He’€™s pitched out of the bullpen here for us in the past and in the even that something were to happen unforeseen to Clay early on, we needed to protect ourselves with length.”

While he may not garner as much attention as some of his fellow Pawtucket starters such as Henry Owens, Anthony Ranaudo and Matt Barnes, Wright has excellent this season, posting a 6-2 record with a 2.85 ERA in 12 starts between Double-A Portland (one start) and Pawtucket (11 starts).

“I think the biggest thing is his strike-throwing ability has been consistent, and the action to the pitch has also been as consistent as the strike throwing, so there’€™s a uniqueness to his style, we know, a contrast, and this isn’€™t the first time he’€™s been here, so he’€™s needed here right now,”€ Farrell said.

Allen Webster posted one of the worst outings of his brief major-league career Saturday against the Yankees, allowing four earned runs and walking six batters in just 2 2/3 innings en route to a 6-4 Red Sox loss.

While Webster has struggled for most of his time up in the big leagues, compiling a 8.22 career ERA in 10 games (nine starts) with the Red Sox, Farrell stated that Webster has the ability to quickly rebound from his last appearances and reaffirmed his stance that Webster will continue to pitch out of the rotation this season.

“The one thing that we have to be clear with Allen is that he’€™s not as far away as he might seem coming out of that outing,” Farrell said. “Sure, the line score doesn’€™t lie, but he’€™s a small adjustment away from being in the strike zone more consistently.”

– With catcher David Ross landing on the disabled list Saturday with a tear in his plantar fascia, the Red Sox have called up Dan Butler from Pawtucket to help share duties behind the plate with rookie backstop Christian Vazquez.  Farrell said that Butler will likely see some playing time when the team plays the Angels from Aug. 8 – 10.

“Christian is going to get a majority of the time behind the plate,”€ Farrell said. “€œGame times, matchups, I can see Daniel getting a start, likely when we get to Anaheim with some left-handed starters in their rotation, but it’€™s not like we’€™re working on a quick turnaround schedule-wise that we would use to split things up behind the plate.”

Read More: Allen Craig, Clay Buchholz, John Farrell, Red Sox
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