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Red Sox lose Pablo Sandoval to pregame injury

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox were forced to make a lineup change after third baseman Pablo Sandoval appeared to have injured himself, suffering mid-back tightness during batting practice Friday as the team was preparing to host the Philadelphia Phillies at Fenway Park.

Sandoval was clearly in some discomfort when he exited the field and walked to the clubhouse with a team trainer. As a result, Travis Shaw started at third base and batted fifth for the Red Sox.

Acting Red Sox manager Torey Lovullo said after Boston’s 7-5 win that Sandoval suffered the injury during his normal pregame routine of taking ground balls during batting practice. According to Lovullo, Sandoval tweaked his back while reaching across his body for a grounder. He’s listed as day-to-day.

Sandoval has batted in the No. 2 spot in his past 12 starts. Overall, he’s hitting .247 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs in his first season with the Red Sox. He went 0-for-4 on Wednesday against the New York Yankees and is 1-for-12 on this homestand.

  • According to Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (hamstring strain) is hitting all his checkpoints “aggressively” from a health and baseball activities standpoint, which makes the original return target date as Sept. 10 as a possibility.“It’s getting close for him,” Lovullo said. “We’re all in it with him and we’re all excited by what we’re seeing and what we’re hearing.”There was some thought of possibly sending Pedroia on a rehab assignment, but with the minor league season ending this weekend, the Red Sox felt it best not to force the situation, so he’ll likely make his return in the big league lineup next week.

  • For only the second time this season, Allen Craig will play first base at the big league level. He was selected to the major league roster on Tuesday from Triple-A Pawtucket where he played 93 games for the PawSox, including 46 at first base.Lovullo said he wants to make sure everyone on the roster, specifically the players that were called up, make contributions for the remainder of the season.“We know Allen’s track record and he’s a proven guy,” Lovullo said. “It was an easy situation for me to slot him in there and go grab some at-bats.”

    He’s also been dealing with foot injuries ever since the Red Sox acquired him in 2014. The utility man was optioned to the minors in May, and by all accounts, is healthy at this point.

  • Hanley Ramirez is still dealing with soreness in his right shoulder. He was scheduled to take ground balls again at first base on Friday. “Everything is basically status quo,” Lovullo said. As far as playing first base, Lovullo believes Ramirez hasn’t lost his infielder’s mentality.“He was quick to pick that up again,” Lovullo said. “The health will be a big factor in what he can do moving forward. We don’t want to rush this process. We want to make sure he’s comfortable and confident and he’s showing us that. Once that happens we can put a timeframe on it. Right now, I think he could do it but there are some different components that will hopefully speed that up and possibly hinder it.”

  • The Red Sox’s medical staff will evaluate pitcher Steven Wright (concussion) Friday night before a decision is made concerning how to progress with the right-hander.