Clay Buchholz will start for the Red Sox in Wednesday’s series finale against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Beyond that, Boston’s rotation remains in flux.
Buchholz will be activated from the 15-day disabled list before Wednesday’s game, but Red Sox manager John Farrell wasn’t ready to announce a corresponding roster move Tuesday, even leaving open the possibility that Boston could proceed with a six-man rotation for at least the next week or so.
Brandon Workman, who will stay in the Red Sox’s rotation, is expected to start Friday against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Felix Doubront, who started last Friday’s game against the Oakland Athletics, will be available this weekend out of the bullpen but could start a game next week against the Chicago Cubs at Fenway Park.
That seemingly leaves Rubby De La Rosa as the odd man out when Buchholz is activated, but Farrell noted Tuesday that the 25-year-old has “done everything within his ability” to affect the Red Sox’s rotation plans. According to Farrell, the Red Sox would like to keep De La Rosa stretched out as a starter, essentially ruling out a potential shift to the major league bullpen.
Workman and De La Rosa have minor league options remaining. Doubront does not. Buchholz would have to approve any demotion by virtue of his service time.
“This is still a bottom-line game and we’re conscious of that,” Farrell told reporters in Seattle before Tuesday’s game. “You can say that the easy move would be, well, a guy’s got options and you send the guy back to Triple-A. Well, it just so happens he has performed just as good as anyone on our staff, and everyone sees that. And that’s Rubby and Brandon’s case. So we’ve got to take a look at every possibility, every combination to get to where we’re at the normal allotment of pitchers and position players.”
Farrell said the Red Sox are “not opposed” to going with a six-man rotation for the time being, although he also cautioned that too many days off between starts can be problematic, particularly for veteran pitchers, like Jon Lester, John Lackey and Jake Peavy.
Buchholz is coming back — we know that. But until a corresponding roster move is announced Wednesday, the speculation regarding Boston’s rotation plans will continue.