BOSTON — Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, Shane Victorino and Will Middlebrooks are continuing to progress through their respective rehabs.
While there’s no exact date for when any of the four players will return to the major league club, Red Sox manager John Farrell shed some light on each player’s status before Monday’s game against the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park. The overriding theme is that Boston will have some roster decisions to make before long.
– Buchholz will make his second rehab start with Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday.
Buchholz started for Pawtucket on Saturday and threw 62 pitches (42 strikes) over 4 2/3 innings. He gave up three runs on four hits, including two homers, and sat at around 92 mph with his fastball.
The goal of Buchholz’s next start is to increase his workload.
“I think Clay went out and was able to accomplish, for the most part, some of the delivery adjustments he’s been working on,” Farrell said Monday. “Overall strikes were improved. We recognize what took place in the line score inside that, but higher percentage of strikes, better power overall and some more defined shape to the individual types of pitches. We need to get him up to 90 pitches or so this next outing.”
Buchholz, who issued a career-high eight walks over three innings in his last major league start May 26, was placed on the disabled list May 28 with a hyperextended left knee. He’s been working on a flaw in his mechanics that the Red Sox think might have contributed to him posting a 7.02 ERA over 10 starts this season.
– It’s unclear at this point when and where Doubront will make his next start.
Doubront threw five stellar innings for Pawtucket on Sunday. He didn’t surrender any hits and struck out 10, although he walked four while throwing 50 of his 93 pitches for strikes.
Doubront, whose fastball reportedly sat at around 88-91 mph and touched 94 mph Sunday, now has a 2.63 ERA with 15 strikeouts and five walks in 13 2/3 innings in three rehab starts — two at Triple-A, one at Double-A. The left-hander is a candidate to start for the Red Sox later this week against the Oakland Athletics, particularly if Brandon Workman’s six-game suspension is upheld.
Doubront’s last major league start came May 20. He was placed on the DL on May 21 with a left shoulder strain.
– Victorino and Middlebrooks will play in back-to-back games with Pawtucket on Monday and Tuesday. They’ll each be off Wednesday before then playing three games in a row.
Victorino is expected to rejoin the Red Sox at some point during their West Coast trip, which begins Thursday in Oakland and ends June 25 in Seattle.
The Red Sox are being cautious with Victorino, who was placed on the DL on May 24. The 33-year-old, who is recovering from a right hamstring injury, has dealt with various ailments since the start of spring training. Farrell said the Red Sox likely will devise a planned schedule for the veteran outfielder upon his return rather than simply letting him loose.
Middlebrooks will stay at Pawtucket longer than Victorino and could spend the maximum 20 days that a position player is allowed to spend in the minors on a rehab assignment before a roster move must be made. It’s possible he could see time in the outfield during his rehab.