Van Every fills outfield void
With Baldelli on DL, Sox didn't have reserve center fielder
BOSTON -- Their backup outfield situation a little bit in flux at the moment, Jonathan Van Every was summoned from Triple-A Pawtucket and activated before Friday night's game with the Yankees.
Van Every was actually on the Major League roster, but he was on the disabled list with a right ankle sprain sustained in Spring Training. He had just one rehab game at Pawtucket, but made it a memorable one, belting a grand slam and a double.
With Rocco Baldelli placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain earlier this week, the Red Sox were without a backup center fielder. Enter the left-handed-hitting Van Every, who can play all three spots.
"We didn't want to play without a guy who could play center field [off the bench]," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "JV gives us that -- he can play all three outfield spots, he can run."
Van Every had three stints with the Red Sox last year, hitting .235 with five RBIs in 17 at-bats. He took the roster spot of Chris Carter, who was sent back to Triple-A Pawtucket after Wednesday's day-night doubleheader vs. the Twins.
"I found out yesterday morning," Van Every said. "It was pretty much pure shock. I had no idea. I thought the rosters were pretty set, but obviously at this level, nothing's ever set."
However, Van Every's time with the Red Sox likely won't be very long, as Mark Kotsay is expected back in early May. Kotsay underwent back surgery in late January. After spending some time at extended spring camp in Fort Myers, Fla., the left-handed-hitting first baseman/outfielder was back at Fenway on Friday. The tentative plan for Kotsay will be to see some game action for Triple-A Pawtucket when the PawSox return home next week.
"It's just a matter of getting healthy, getting some at-bats, playing in some games competitively, in that environment, as opposed to Fort Myers," Kotsay said.
As for Baldelli, he is progressing at a conservative pace right now.
"I haven't done any running as of yet," Baldelli said. "I haven't even talked to anyone about when I'm going to start doing that. Today, I went out there and played catch and hit a little bit. I was happy to get out there and get that done."
Baldelli, who played just 28 games in the Major Leagues last year because of chanelopathy -- an ailment that causes excessive muscle fatigue -- was thrilled with the way he progressed during Spring Training.
"I'm obviously disappointed," Baldelli said. "I felt pretty good in Spring Training. I won't lie -- I felt really good, even getting out there way more than I did last year. I DH'd most of the time last year. I didn't play the field as much. But playing the field hasn't been a problem for me at all. So yeah, those things make it a little bit disappointing, because I felt so good."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.