BOSTON -- Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz will test his sore neck with a throwing session between the first and second game of Boston’s doubleheader Tuesday against Tampa Bay, after which a decision will be made on whether Buchholz lands on the disabled list or not.
Buchholz was originally expected to throw on flat ground prior to the afternoon game, and move to a mound session if everything felt OK. That exercise was pushed back a bit after the pitchers stretched. His ability to get on a mound Tuesday is imperative if he is to avoid the DL, as he would need another bullpen Thursday in order to be ready for a start Saturday, when Boston next needs a starter.
“If that bullpen can’t be executed today, he’s probably out of that mix,” manager John Farrell said.
Farrell indicated that the two candidates to replace Buchholz, if indeed he cannot go Saturday, would be Allen Webster or Rubby De La Rosa. Alfredo Aceves is pitching the afternoon game Tuesday so he would not be ready by Saturday, and the team is not interested in continuing to shuffle Franklin Morales back and forth between the bullpen and the rotation.
After being skipped at the end of May due to the neck strain, Buchholz made two starts before the issue cropped up again. He has not appeared in a game since June 8, when he left his outing against the Los Angeles Angels with two outs in the seventh inning due to discomfort in his neck.
Depending on which pitcher the Red Sox recall, the retroactive date of Buchholz’s potential DL placement could change. For instance, if De La Rosa is the choice, the retroactive date would go back to when De La Rosa was last active, which was June 16. (De La Rosa was not used, and was optioned two days later.) If the Sox go with Webster, the retroactive date goes back to June 8, when Buchholz was hurt.
Those potential roster moves are just part of a dizzying array of transactions involving pitchers in the past week or so. If Buchholz is DL’d Tuesday, it would amount to the seventh alteration of the pitching staff in a span of eight days.
Farrell said there is a chance the team could start a call-up Friday rather than Saturday and bump everyone else back a day to steal some extra rest for other members of the rotation.
In other pregame news:
* Oufielder/first baseman Mike Carp is expected back in the lineup for the nightcap. He left Sunday’s loss in Baltimore with a sore hamstring, but has healed sufficiently and looked to be unbothered during exercises on the field Tuesday morning. Carp is batting .405 with five homers and 12 RBIs in 13 games this month.
* First baseman Mike Napoli has returned to the lineup for the first half of the twinbill. Napoli departed the series opener in Baltimore on Thursday with an illness and has not played since. He was sent back to Boston for further evaluation when the symptoms did not subside, but has recovered enough to take his customary fifth spot in the lineup behind David Ortiz.
* Right-hander Alfredo Aceves was added to the roster to make the start Tuesday afternoon. There is no corresponding move as teams are permitted to take on a 26th man for doubleheaders. Aceves limited the Rays to a run on four hits in six innings last Wednesday and owns a 2.27 ERA in his career vs. Tampa Bay.
* Tuesday will mark the major-league debut of Rays top prospect Wil Myers, who is hitting sixth and playing right field. Myers, acquired in the big trade that sent James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City in December, hit .286 with 14 homers and 57 RBIs in 64 games for Triple-A Durham.