BOSTON -- Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino is expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list Wednesday, according to manager John Farrell.
Victorino was scheduled to play his third rehab game with Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday night. He is 1-for-7 in two games so far, showing no issues with the hamstring strain that sent him to the DL just before the season began.
Meanwhile, third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who is sidelined with a calf strain, was getting work done at Fenway Park on Tuesday. He will return to the PawSox to play Wednesday and likely Thursday before possibly being activated from the DL in time for this weekend’s series in Toronto.
Middlebrooks was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in his first rehab game Monday.
“Physically those guys are doing fine,” Farrell said.
Lineup moves: The mission to get the offense going becomes difficult Tuesday against Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who enters 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA. Farrell made the somewhat unconventional move to install Jonny Gomes in left field, batting fifth against a right-hander. Nava usually faces righties but has failed to produce much, and Gomes has shown some positive signs of late.
“I don’t think there’s a whole lot of difference between lefty and righty against this guy,” Farrell said of Tanaka. “He’s a very talented pitcher. Jonny has been putting up a lot of quality at-bats of late. I know the easy target is gonna be why is Daniel Nava [not] in this game. We’re trying to get him going offensively and Jonny gives us a little bit more of that right now.”
There actually has been a difference between lefties and righties versus Tanaka. The former have just six hits in 45 at-bats (.133) against Tanaka, while right-handers are hitting a bit more respectable .250.
Cheers or jeers?: Farrell said he expects the reception for former Red Sox centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury to be “a mixture.”
“All we can go on is what we experienced with [Ellsbury],” Farrell said. “Very good player and experienced a lot of success here in Boston. He’s been a little disruptive through the first four games against us and that’s where our focus is, on how to contain him.”
Ellsbury was 5-for-14 with a pair of stolen bases in the four-game series against the Sox earlier this month.