OAKLAND -- A few notes from the O.co Coliseum (just can’t write that enough) where several thousand fans were lined up outside the ballpark hours before game time in order to be among the first 10,000 to receive a free replica Josh Reddick jersey. Love them some Reddick.
* Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew is eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday, but will not be activated. Manager John Farrell said the club intends to send Drew out on a “very, very brief rehab” assignment during the All-Star break, with plans to activate him next weekend against the Yankees. Pawtucket will be off until next Thursday, then resume on the road after the break, so it appears likely Drew will play in Portland, which will be home Thursday. Farrell said that decision is pending.
* Newly acquired Matt Thornton arrived here a couple of hours before game time after flying from Philadelphia (via Minneapolis). Farrell said he hoped the left-handed reliever would be available to pitch; with lefty Jon Lester starting for the Sox on Saturday night, the Athletics have four left-handed pinch hitters on the bench. They have two switch-hitters, Coco Crisp and Jed Lowrie, at the top of the lineup and the left-handed hitting Reddick batting seventh.
* Farrell said he expects to announce his rotation for next weekend’s series against the Yankees on Sunday, but revealed that both left-handers, Lester and Felix Doubront, will pitch in the series. Common sense suggests that Doubront will pitch Friday’s opener, followed by John Lackey on Saturday and Lester on Sunday.
Doubront's last start came last Wednesday in Seattle. He has a 2-0 record and 1.91 ERA over his last five starts, and is 2-1 with a 2.52 ERA in nine career starts against the Yankees. Lackey has been the team’s most consistent pitcher this season, while Lester would benefit from a couple of extra days’ rest by starting Sunday.
* To make room for Thornton on the 25-man roster, the Sox optioned knuckleballer Steven Wright to Pawtucket. By doing so now, Farrell said, it allows Wright to remain a candidate to pitch the second game of the Tampa Bay series, when the Sox will need a fifth starter. Ryan Dempster is slotted to open the Rays series.
* Left-hander Franklin Morales, whose second stint on the DL began June 25 (retroactive to June 23), still is limited to flat-ground throwing, as he continues to feel discomfort in his strained left pectoral muscle whenever he attempts to throw with more intensity. So the Sox can’t expect him to be of any help before August at the earliest, since he’ll likely need an extended rehab assignment.
* Jacoby Ellsbury’s 19-game hitting streak ended Friday night, one in which he batted .413 (33 for 80) with 7 doubles and 2 home runs, scoring 16 runs. It is the longest streak in the AL this season. Ellsbury struck out on three pitches to begin each of the first two games here. He has struck out on three pitches a dozen times this season.
“Hell of a leadoff hitter," Farrell said. “The last five, six weeks -- it goes back to the final two games in Chicago, when he got on base four times in the final two nights -- we’re seeing the dynamic player he is, getting on base. Extra-base hits aside, his stolen-base efficiency (36 of 39) is as good as we’ll probably ever see. He gives us a whole different look when he’s getting on base as much as he is.’’
* Right-fielder Shane Victorino was back in the starting lineup, a night after being hit by a pitch by Oakland left-hander Sean Doolittle in the eighth inning. It appeared on initial viewing that the ball had struck Victorino in the area of the right wrist, but Farrell said it missed bone.
“It got him in the muscle at the base of the thumb," Farrell said. “As we get through this first half, we’re getting to know more about our guys, and clearly his pain threshold is high. This guy is a little beat up physically, but this is a guy who wants to be on the field every single day."