BOSTON -- While the entire baseball world is focused on Wednesday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline, the Boston Red Sox are hopeful pitcher Clay Buchholz’s recent progression is a good sign of things to come for the right-hander and the club.
Buchholz, who has been on the disabled list with a neck strain since June 9, played long toss at 120 feet Monday afternoon at Fenway Park and manager John Farrell was encouraged by the session.
“Very good,” Farrell said Tuesday afternoon. “We’re hopeful he’s getting closer to incorporating the crow hop on flat ground.”
Buchholz also was able to throw all of his pitches on flat ground Monday. There have been plenty of reports the Red Sox are in search of pitching help, but whether or not general manager Ben Cherington pulls off a deal before the deadline, Farrell is convinced Buchholz will be back in the rotation at some point this season.
“I’m very optimistic he’ll pitch for us. A date? We don’t know yet but he’ll be back in our rotation at some point,” Farrell said.
In other pregame news:
* Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia has only one hit in his last 16 at-bats but Farrell isn’t worried about the numbers. Pedroia’s .294 average is his lowest since May 4 when he was hitting .293. Despite the numbers, Pedroia has been squaring up the ball the last few games and appears ready to break out.
“A guy trying to make some things happen,” Farrell said when asked what he thought of Pedroia at the plate of late. “When he squared up some balls in Baltimore, or recently, he hasn’t had a whole lot of luck. You’re seeing a guy wanting to make things happen and on occasion that might cause someone, not only Dustin, but some others to expand the strike zone at times, particularly off the plate, away. He hasn’t hit into too much luck.”
* Left-handed pitcher Franklin Morales (left pectoralis strain) began his minor-league rehab assignment Monday with the Pawtucket Red Sox and worked one perfect inning, striking out the side against Lehigh Valley (Philadelphia Phillies). Farrell was pleased with the report he received from PawSox manager Gary Disarcina.
“Good command,” Farrell said. “Velocity was in the low 90s. It was a quick inning of work.”
Before making a determination when Morales is ready to return, Farrell said the left-hander would need a few more outings -- at least three -- before making that decision. When Morales is able to return, he will work as a reliever.