BOSTON -- The Red Sox placed left-handed pitcher Felix Doubront on the 15-day disabled list with a strained pitching shoulder, and attributed his injury to bumping into a car door the day before.
"He's gone through an exam today and what we learned after he came out of last night's game is that he did bump his shoulder prior to the start yesterday, actually the day before, so there is no one pinpointed area that there is a strength deficit," manager John Farrell said Wednesday. "There is overall fatigue -- we saw that in [diminished] velocity last night -- but there wasn't anything in the examination that pinpointed one spot.
"So the impact of the contusion, so to speak, didn't allow the shoulder to fire normally, and that's where we saw the diminished velocity. Any time we take a pitcher off the mound in a given game, we're going to take a cautious approach. We don't feel like in four days he's going to be back 100 percent, so we put him on the disabled list."
Doubront did not undergo an MRI, and there are no immediate plans for him to do so. If he does not respond to treatment, then an MRI might be in order, Farrell said.
The manager said that Doubront didn't mention the incident until he was examined after Tuesday's game. Doubront told reporters Tuesday he felt a type of numbness in the shoulder.
This is not the first time a Red Sox starting pitcher has offered an unconventional explanation for an injury. Last season Clay Buchholz said his shoulder discomfort was the result of holding his sleeping toddler awkwardly; he eventually wound up missing three months.
The Red Sox will need another starter to take Doubront's spot in the rotation Sunday against the Rays in Tropicana Field. Farrell ruled out Chris Capuano as a possibility, saying he is not stretched out enough to be used as a starter, and said it will be a right-hander from Triple-A Pawtucket.
"We haven't made that decision yet, but a couple of guys throwing the ball have been [Allen] Webster and [Brandon] Workman," Farrell said. "I think the most important thing is we have a group of pitchers that have made their debut, they have experience here and they are talented."
In the midst of everything else, Farrell also shook up the lineup -- installing Grady Sizemore at the top of the order, sliding Dustin Pedroia from the top spot into the No. 2 hole and dropping Shane Victorino into the sixth spot. Mike Napoli is not playing, Farrell said, because he has been dealing with flu-like symptoms, so Mike Carp is playing first base, Jonny Gomes(who had three hits Tuesday) is batting cleanup, and Sizemore was playing center field in place of Jackie Bradley Jr.
Given Victorino's problems against right-handed pitching (he has a .232/.279/.339/.618 slash line), Farrell said that in a conversation he had with the outfielder, Victorino agreed it might be a good idea to bat lower in the order.
"He's expanded some breaking balls off the plate away and he's acknowledged that,'' Farrell said. "There's been a pretty clear attack plan against him and that has emerged. That is one of the things we've talked about and the numbers bear it out."
Farrell did not rule out the possibility that Victorino, who has batted exclusively right-handed since last August, might consider a return to switch-hitting.
"I would like for him to be the most productive player he can be and if he feels comfortable from the right side exclusively ..." Farrell said.
"I can't say without him hitting left-handed since August of last year, there is not going to be some repetition required. Not only in BP, but beyond. I wouldn't rule it out at this point, but for now he will stay as he is."
The Sox came into Wednesday's game with a 10-19 record against right-handed starters and face another in Toronto's Drew Hutchison on Wednesday night, so Farrell said the lineup changes might stick for a while. It should help, he said, to have another left-handed hitter at the top of the lineup. That, of course, is predicated on Sizemore producing in the top spot, and Sizemore takes a .297 on-base percentage into Wednesday night's game, far below the optimum. Sizemore has been hitting better of late -- in his last 10 games, he has a .281/.324/.334/.667 slash line.
General manager Ben Cherington, in a conference call with reporters Wednesday about the Stephen Drew signing, was asked about Sizemore.
"I think that what we're seeing is a guy that's getting past the physical question stage," Cherington said. There's no longer any questions about whether he can play.
"He's kind of like everyone else in the clubhouse in that respect. I think what we're looking forward to seeing is how he fully attacks that question: What can he be as a player? We just need some good signs.
"We're talking about a guy who missed a lot of time and is out there seeing good major-league pitching now on a regular basis. It may be just a matter of a little further time to catch up to that. We'll see, we're optimistic about what he can do. He knows and we all know that we're trying to win games, so at some point production matters and we're all looking forward to that."