Derek Lowe Will Always Be Appreciated in Boston, But Return to Red Sox’ Pitching Staff Seems Unlikely

Derek LoweThe Red Sox faced a huge test over the weekend in New York. And while they didn’t ace the exam because of Friday’s loss, they still earned a respectable mark because of their ability to bounce back in the final two games to take two out of three from the Yankees.

The Red Sox will return home to the friendly confines of Fenway Park on Tuesday, but things won’t get any easier. The Sox will host the Rangers for three games before welcoming the Angels to town. Boston and Texas have been two of baseball’s elite teams all season, but the Rangers mopped the floor with the Red Sox the last time the two teams met down in Arlington. The Sox will need a good showing to push those memories to the back burner.

It’s hard to complain with the Red Sox’ season thus far. And while they’ll keeping plugging along, so will the NESN.com mailbag. Let’s have a look at what you guys were all about this past week.

What will happen if Jose Iglesias plays better at third base than Will Middlebrooks was playing?
— Little Vivian

We’ll find out soon enough, because Jose Iglesias has been tremendous since being recalled on May 24. He’s hitting, he’s playing his usual stellar defense — even at a new position — and he’s bringing tons of energy to the bottom of the Red Sox’ order.

Will Middlebrooks, who is eligible to come off the disabled list on Saturday, will assume his role as the starting third baseman once he returns, despite his ongoing struggles. The pressure will certainly be higher than it’s been all season, though. Shortstop Stephen Drew is in the same boat.

I expect Iglesias will stick around in a utility role, but if neither Middlebrooks nor Drew produces, Iglesias could find himself seeing a good chunk of action, even with a healthy roster.

Click here for more on the Jose Iglesias situation >>

Would the Red Sox ever seriously consider moving Will Middlebrooks to first base, Xander Bogaerts to third base, and keeping Jose Iglesias at short in one or two seasons? That would make a great future infield with Pedey at second.
— Philip Heck

I think that’s absolutely a possibility, especially if Jose Iglesias keeps playing well. The Red Sox never gave up on Iglesias, but the buzz surrounding him certainly died down a bit after he struggled at the tail end of last season. Now that he’s playing well, it appears that the Red Sox could potentially have a shortstop logjam as early as next season if everyone stays on his current path.

An abundance of young talent is a good problem to have, but if the Red Sox plan to have all three of those players in their starting lineup in the future, it’s going to take a creative scenario like the one you outlined.

The Red Sox will continue to groom Xander Bogaerts as a shortstop, but there’s a widespread belief that he’ll grow out of the position, and he already played some third base during the World Baseball Classic. Thus, the biggest issue would be Will Middlebrooks’ willingness/ability to move across the diamond. If that aspect of the plan fell into place, I could definitely envision that infield in, say, 2015.

Who would win in a fistfight between Zdeno Chara and David Ortiz?
— Eric Bam

Chara. That’s not a knock against Ortiz, but have you seen Chara? The guy is an animal.

Is there any chance that the Red Sox bring in Derek Lowe as a reliever?
— Mike Gammell

I’m not going to say that there’s zero chance of it happening, but it seems very, very, very unlikely. The Red Sox could look to improve their bullpen at some point, but Lowe isn’t any better than the club’s internal options.

Franklin Morales just returned, and Alfredo Aceves and Alex Wilson — both better options than Lowe — are just a call away. There are also a few veterans, including Ryan Rowland-Smith and Rafael Perez, and some younger hurlers, like Rubby De La Rosa and Jose De La Torre, who could factor into Boston’s bullpen mix at some point going forward.

It pains me to say it, but I think Father Time has caught up to Lowe. The 39-year-old was decent down the stretch with the Yankees last season, but he pitched poorly in 13 innings of relief with the Rangers this season.

The baseball fan in me says, “Sign him up.” Everything else says, “Move along.” (Tears.)

Would the Miami Marlins ever consider trading their young star, Giancarlo Stanton?
— Chris Carson

First of all, I wouldn’t put anything past the Marlins’ ownership/front office. It’s a franchise that’s all over the place, and I don’t get the sense that that’s going to change any time soon.

That being said, I think it’s just a matter of time before Giancarlo Stanton gets traded. A lot of teams would love to add his power to the middle of their order, and he would net the Marlins a good return in terms of prospects.

At this point, Miami needs Stanton to get back on the field, though, as him not playing only hurts his stock.

What are the chances of my main man Rubby De La Rosa coming up to the bigs before year’s end? If so, when will he come up?
–Ben Clemens, Victor, N.Y.

I’ve been asked this question a few times, and I still can’t put my finger on what to expect out of Rubby De La Rosa this season.

De La Rosa had some shaky outings early on at Triple-A, but he’s been fantastic of late. The right-hander’s future as it pertains to this season, though, hinges on necessity and the Red Sox’ willingness to take the training wheels off.

Right now, the Red Sox don’t exactly need De La Rosa at the big league level, so they won’t rush him. There’s no sense potentially stunting his growth for a brief taste. Plus, the Red Sox view De La Rosa as a starter, and there are multiple options — Morales, Alfredo Aceves and Allen Webster — ahead of him on the organizational depth chart.

After watching De La Rosa in spring training, I figured it was inevitable that we’d see him in the majors at some point in 2013. He’s being brought along very slowly in his first full season since Tommy John surgery, though, so I now have some doubts. (De La Rosa’s longest outing this season was 4 2/3 innings.)

If De La Rosa gets called up this season, I imagine it will happen in September when the roster expands. And while I agree that he should be groomed as a starter, I think the most likely scenario for 2013 would be his power arm coming out of the Boston bullpen.

Clay Buchholz is dominant so far this year. Do you think he has a chance to start the All-Star Game?
— Mike Donahue

We still have a ways to go before the Midsummer Classic. But sure, I think Clay Buchholz has a chance. However, if I was a betting man, I’d say Yu Darvish will end up getting the nod. Not only has Darvish been awesome, but he’s also extremely marketable.

Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.

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