BOSTON — The wait is almost over. But not quite.
The Red Sox held another day of workouts Wednesday as they prepare for the start of their ALDS matchup. The action culminated with the Red Sox playing a six-inning intrasquad scrimmage in front of some eager fans at Fenway Park, and John Farrell officially announced after the contest that Jon Lester will get the start in Friday’s series opener.
The Red Sox haven’t finalized their ALDS roster yet, and they have until Friday at 10 a.m. to do so. There were some interesting notes to come from Wednesday’s day at the park, though, so read on for a snapshot of what transpired two days before playoff baseball officially returns to Boston.
“He’s been outstanding in the second half, and the last eight starts that he’s put together for us, he’s been very strong and he’ll lead the way for us from a starting standpoint,” Farrell said.
“This is going back and forth with [general manager Ben Cherington] and others on what is the 25th player, who is it, how do I envision, how do we envision that person being used,” Farrell said Wednesday. “You start to get multiple moves down the line and then you begin to weigh what’s more important. To me, protecting the downside of something unforeseen happening on the mound, pitching-wise, I wanted to shore up that.”
“I wouldn’t say exclusively as a pinch-runner, but that’s why he was brought here, and that’s still the first and foremost attribute that we’ll look to use,” Farrell said of Berry. “If we get in a situation where the defensive side of it is needed, well, then we’ve got that to take advantage of. But if we’re looking at pinch-hit situations, we’ve got guys that we’re probably going to go to before him. [But] we haven’t been reluctant to [use Berry in other roles].”
Farrell said that the Red Sox are most comfortable with Berry in center field, although the speedy outfielder made a terrific diving catch in right field during the third inning of Wednesday’s sim game to rob Dustin Pedroia.
It’s going to come down to either Matt Thornton or Felix Doubront. Thornton appeared to have the inside track on the spot after Doubront got shelled in Baltimore on Sunday, but Doubront pitched in Wednesday’s intrasquad game while Thornton worked on the side. (Doubront struck out two in a perfect inning.)
Doubront’s appearance in Wednesday’s sim game doesn’t mean that he’s guaranteed the final roster spot, and this could actually be an instance of reading too much into nothing. But at the very least, Doubront’s name is still in the conversation.
Buchholz and Peavy went three innings each. Peavy struck out the first four batters he faced — Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Mike Napoli.
See, told you this game was interesting.
Saltalamacchia drove in the only run with an RBI double to right field. Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Carp each had a double to center field, while Bradley picked up two hits.