Sox notes: Breslow up, Workman down

BOSTON -- The Red Sox officially activated left-handed reliever Craig Breslow from the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday and optioned righty Brandon Workman to Triple-A Pawtucket.

The move was already known Tuesday night, as Workman threw four innings of relief in a 10-7 loss to Texas at Fenway Park before a closed-door meeting with Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington, and handshakes from teammates.

Breslow, who had a mild shoulder strain, will not immediately see high-leverage situations, Farrell said Wednesday. However, that will be a short-term scenario.

“There’s a dependability of strike throwing,” Farrell said. “With the upcoming series and the number of left-handers in given lineups, that’s going to be a plus to us to have that third left-hander [in the bullpen].”

The Sox visit Yankee Stadium and its short right-field porch for four games starting Thursday.

Breslow was 5-2 with a 1.81 ERA in 61 games for the Red Sox last season. During his rehab stint at Triple-A Pawtucket, he yielded one hit and two walks in 2 2/3 innings spread over three games.

Workman will join the PawSox rotation by Monday, in all likelihood. Farrell said the plan is for Workman to throw about 70 pitches. He also expects to see the 25-year-old as a part of the Red Sox formula in the near future.

“We fully expect him to be back at some point and [he] will contribute big innings for us,” Farrell said of Workman, who surrendered a run in 6 1/3 innings of relief for Boston.

Workman was stretched out in spring training in order to provide rotation depth, but was sent to the bullpen in part because of Breslow’s injury. After Workman rebuilds his workload, it might be tough to make the transition back to a reliever, and then go back once more to being a starter.

“As he goes back to starting, that’s when we’ve got to be careful of changing the role again. If we could script it, he would remain as a starter and if the need would arise he would be back here pitching in that role.” Farrell said.

Workman made three starts last July for Boston, posting a 2.45 ERA and lasting at least six innings each time.

Farrell said Workman was prepared for the maneuver and took it well.

“Not an easy message to deliver, but to Brandon’s credit he’s aware,” Farrell said.

In other pregame news:

* Newly signed infielder Ryan Roberts is starting at third base for the second straight game with a left-hander on the mound for Texas on Wednesday. Will Middlebrooks, who is on the disabled list with a calf strain, worked out at the park Wednesday, at one point taking grounders while kneeling on the grass near third base. Both Middlebrooks and right fielder Shane Victorino (hamstring) will travel with the team to New York as they continue to receive treatment for their respective injuries.

Both players have been engaged in cardio work and are just beginning baseball activities. Farrell said their work will intensify through the weekend.

When Victorino comes back, the Red Sox will have some decisions to make. Jackie Bradley Jr., who was brought up from Pawtucket when Victorino went on the DL, has been hot of late. Daniel Nava, Grady Sizemore, Jonny Gomes and Mike Carp are also in the mix.

Farrell indicated that he and Cherington will emphasize the importance of defense in the outfield when making roster decisions once Victorino comes back.

* On Thursday in New York, the Red Sox will reunite with former teammate Jacoby Ellsbury, who jumped from one side of the rivalry to another this offseason. Playing against him, there won’t be any secrets for the Sox.

“Obviously the biggest thing is keep him off the base,” Farrell said of Ellsbury. “He can create a lot of havoc. It was fun to see him in your own uniform and as dynamic of a player he can be, he’ll benefit by the dimensions of that ballpark. I think we have a pretty clear understanding of where his strengths are, and how we execute, that will be the key to us trying to control him.”

Ellsbury is off to a great start with the Yankees, entering Wednesday with a .414 average and a league-leading four steals.