DETROIT -- There’s a new right fielder in town for the opener of Boston’s four-game series with the Detroit Tigers, as Josh Reddick has been recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket and Darnell McDonald has been placed on the 15-day disabled list.
As with Dan Wheeler earlier in the month, when the Red Sox bullpen was overtaxed and the Sox needed the cavalry, no one is pretending that the injury to McDonald (strained left quadriceps muscle) is serious. Manager Terry Francona in his media session Thursday morning said that McDonald had tweaked it as a pinch runner in Tuesday’s game against Cleveland and it felt a little worse Wednesday, when McDonald entered the game as a defensive replacement for Carl Crawford.
(Think about that one a moment -- what are the odds that the Sox would have used McDonald at all in a 14-0 game if they were worried about his leg?)
“It’s not real bad,’’ Francona told his inquisitors.
But with J.D. Drew still nursing a sore right hamstring, which may sideline him for another day or two, the Sox made the move for Reddick, the 24-year-old outfielder who has now been called up in each of the last three seasons.
“We’re a little thin,’’ said Francona, who inserted Reddick into Thursday’s starting lineup, batting him eighth against Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer.
Starting Reddick is a reflection of how little production the Sox are getting from veteran outfielder Mike Cameron, who had two hits in Wednesday’s 14-2 win over the Indians but is hitting just .170 overall. Cameron, signed before the 2010 season as the everyday center fielder, had a great spring for the Sox in Florida but is clearly struggling in his adjustment to becoming a part-time player for the first time in his career.
Cameron has appeared in just 16 games this season and has just 53 at-bats. Outside of a two home-run game on April 29 against the Mariners, he has just one extra-base hit among his 9 hits, a double.
McDonald, too, has produced little while playing sparingly, appearing in just 19 games and having just 21 at-bats. Carl Crawford, who had a four-hit game in his first appearance of the season in the No. 6 hole Wednesday, has started every game since he last sat out on April 29, and his start Thursday will be his 48th in the team’s first 50 games.
Crawford is batting a season-high .229, and is hitting .308 for the month (28 for 91).
Reddick has cooled off since a hot start with Pawtucket, batting just .206 (7 for 34) in his last 10 games for the PawSox, though he has 3 home runs in that stretch. Overall, he is batting .248 with 12 home runs and 29 RBIs. More importantly, from a developmental perspective, he has already walked more times (26) than he did in all of 2010 (25) for the PawSox, as he is showing greater selectivity at the plate.
“I’m getting my walk numbers up a little bit,’’ he said in a pregame session with reporters. “I hope they’re taking notice of that.’’
“I think he’s starting to understand his swing a little bit,’’ he said. “He’s had periods where he’s gotten real hot, then real cold. It sounds like he has a little better understanding.’’
* Other developments: Bobby Jenks is scheduled to throw an inning for Pawtucket Friday night as he begins a rehab assignment, then throw again on Sunday. John Lackey is scheduled to throw a bullpen Friday and if all goes well will make a rehab start in Pawtucket on Tuesday. Francona said Drew Sutton is playing short Thursday to give Jed Lowrie another day off.