BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell confirmed at his pregame press conference that outfielder Shane Victorino’s rehab assignment will pick up Thursday night in Lowell, where he will suit up for the team’s short-season Class-A affiliate.
Victorino has been on the disabled list since May 25, and the Sox shut down his rehab on June 24 after he hurt his back in a game for Triple-A Pawtucket. He was scheduled to resume live action Wednesday with Lowell, but that was pushed back after Victorino experienced “increased symptoms” across his back, Farrell said.
The hope is for Victorino to go five straight games in the minors, Farrell said, but “there is a gradual progression to that inside of one game.” Farrell confirmed that Victorino will be re-evaluated after five games.
A combination of back and hamstring issues have kept Victorino sidelined for all but 21 games this season. In 91 at-bats this season he has hit .242/.276/.352 with one homer, 10 RBIs and 17 strikeouts. That’s well below his mark for last season, when he hit .294/.351/.491 with 15 homers and 21 stolen bases as a key cog in the Sox’s run to the World Series title.
* With a number of personnel changes rumored to be on the horizon in the coming weeks, one thing that will not change is the battery of backup catcher David Ross with staff ace Jon Lester, who is putting up some of the best numbers of his career as he gets set to make his third All-Star Game appearance in five seasons.
“That will remain for the time being,” Farrell said. “I fully recognize that’s a tandem that worked well, and I’m not looking to go away from that right now.”
With the promotion of catcher Christian Vazquez from Pawtucket, Farrell said the split between the two per week will be four games for the youngster and three for Ross.
“David Ross’ ability to mentor in that role will be part of this, but we’re not leaving it solely up to him,” Farrell said. “But we feel like there is a structure in place that will allow Christian to ease into this.”
* Brock Holt gets his first start at shortstop Wednesday, the sixth position he has played this season. He’s previously made starts at third base (25 games), right field (16), left field (7), first base (7) and center field (1). The move comes at the expense of Stephen Drew, who is 3-for-24 on this homestand with two homers and three RBIs. Holt is 10-for-37 on the homestand, with two doubles, a triple and five runs.
Since he’s been moved to the leadoff spot in the Sox order, Holt ranks third among all major leaguers with 60 hits, trailing Houston’s Jose Altuve and Texas’ Adrian Beltre. He’s played all 414 innings over that span.
* With Vazquez inserted into the No. 9 spot in the order, this will mark the first time since Aug. 16, 1987 that the Red Sox have started five rookies in a non-September game, according to Elias Sports Bureau. In that game, a 12-2 win over Texas, the Sox featured an all-rookie outfield of Ellis Burks, Mike Greenwell and Todd Benzinger, along with John Marzano behind the plate and Sam Horn at designated hitter. The rookies produced in that contest, with Marzano hitting two homers and four RBIs and Burks adding a solo shot.
* Between Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts, the Red Sox have a major league-leading 90 games played by players 21 or younger. That is Boston’s largest such total since 1973, when they featured 119 games by players under 21, all by Dwight Evans.