Pregame notes: Victorino out again

BOSTON -- Shane Victorino was out of the lineup again because of spasms in his lower back, and manager John Farrell said during Friday’s pregame press briefing that he wasn’t certain when the right fielder would be able to return.

Victorino first began feeling the tightness last Saturday, which forced him to leave that day’s game against Kansas City in the eighth inning. He sat out both ends of the next day’s doubleheader.

Victorino returned to the lineup on Monday and played for two nights, but he had to leave Wednesday’s game against Oakland in the seventh inning, two innings after delivering the tie-breaking hit. He also missed the first game of the series against Houston, on Thursday.

“He’s improved over yesterday but he still has spasms in his lower back,” said Farrell. “He’s day-to-day. He’s unavailable today.”

Victorino is not yet a candidate for the disabled list, said Farrell.

“That’s all based on how he improves in respect to treatment,” said Farrell. “We’re not any closer to saying this is a DL situation. It’s still day-to-day.”

After finishing up the series with the Astros on Sunday the Red Sox have a day off before opening a series in Toronto. Victorino could be held out of action until the road-trip opener on Tuesday, but Farrell said such plans aren’t set in stone yet, that Victorino’s playing status will hinge on how he feels.

Drew sits: Slumping shortstop Stephen Drew was not in the starting lineup Friday night. Drew, a left-handed hitter, is batting a paltry .119 (5 for 42). He had started 13 of 15 games since returning from the disabled list (concussion) on April 10. The fact Houston is starting a left-hander (Erik Bedard), plus the fact Farrell wanted to give utilityman Pedro Ciriaco (2 for 14, .143) a little playing time, put Drew on the bench.

Pitching plans unchanged: Closer Joel Hanrahan (right hamstring strain) was expected to throw Friday night for Pawtucket in Buffalo, and left-hander Craig Breslow (left shoulder tendinitis) is expected to throw tomorrow for the PawSox. John Lackey (right biceps strain) still is listed to come off the DL for a Sunday start at Fenway Park against the Astros.