Buchholz's stiff back becoming an issue
Red Sox getting concerned, have Wakefield available
BOSTON -- The Red Sox are starting to get concerned with the back stiffness Clay Buchholz has experienced over his past two starts.
"I think we want to sit down with him and figure out what might be the best way to go forward," said manager Terry Francona. "Whether it's in five days or giving him a couple extra days, we can do that with a day off on Monday, so we'll talk to him."
Buchholz allowed a season-high six runs in 4 2/3 innings to the A's on Friday night, and while his back didn't tighten up on him as it did in his previous start, it was on his mind.
"I felt it a little bit," said Buchholz, who saw his ERA rise to 3.82. "It might have been something that was in the back of my head, trying not to do too much where I'd tweak it and hurt it again. But I felt the same as it has all season so far."
Tim Wakefield threw a bullpen session Saturday afternoon and would be available to start in place of Buchholz in New York on Wednesday. Alfredo Aceves, who has made three straight starts, is available out of the bullpen.
Teammates pick up Pedroia after key error
BOSTON -- Before the Red Sox and A's went 14 innings in an eventual 9-8 Boston win Saturday at Fenway Park, Dustin Pedroia had a chance to end the game.
Boston led, 7-3, a runner was on and there was one out in the top of the ninth inning. Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon got a ground ball out of Coco Crisp, and it was hit at Pedroia, one of the best-fielding second baseman in the game. Instead of an inning-ending double play, though, the ball went through Pedroia's legs and Oakland plated four runs in the frame to force extra innings.
"Oh man, I missed it," Pedroia said. "Coco, I think he got jammed or hit it off the end of the bat. I thought it was going to bounce up, and it stayed down and I just missed it, man. It's one of those times, it [stinks]. You make errors. You wish when you make them, it's not in that situation. Guys picked me up. That's what we do. we're a team."
It was the third error of the season for Pedroia, who went 1-for-5 with a pair of walks and a strikeout at the plate.
"I don't think we have to pick him up," said Red Sox starter Josh Beckett. "He makes that play 98 percent of the time. We were sitting in here talking about that in the 11th or 12th inning, he makes that play every time. People might think about that play, but what about the double play he turned earlier in the game? That saves a run right there. We're in the 14th inning, I think runs were pretty premium then."
Neither Pedroia nor manager Terry Francona could remember Pedroia botching a ball in that fashion, or in that type of late situation.
"Probably not," Francona said, "because he's that good. I hope they hit it to him again. That play he made earlier in the game was as good as you're ever going to see. He just didn't make the play. Maybe I should go buy a lottery ticket."
Aceves proves to be rock in Red Sox's 'pen
BOSTON -- Lost somewhere in the shuffle of a 5-hour, 17-minute game filled with two ejections, 32 hits, 28 strikeouts and a walk-off single by a guy who struck out in his previous four at-bats, Alfredo Aceves gave the Red Sox bullpen just what it needed.
Aceves entered a tie game in the 11th inning against the A's on Saturday and allowed the go-ahead run, but he bounced right back to throw four innings and pick up the win in his first relief outing since May 16.
While the A's shuffled between four relievers in that time, the Boston bullpen could relax with an important advantage.
"Without a doubt," catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said after the Red Sox 9-8 win in the 14th inning. "We know what kind of pitcher he is. He's a great pitcher. So we had the edge there. And he's able to go six, seven innings if we need him to."
Aceves was signed this offseason to a one-year deal worth $650,000 if he made the Major League club, and he's been the "jack-of-all-trades," according to starter Josh Beckett, making three starts and 12 relief appearances.
"It's nice to have guys stretched out," Beckett said. "And he was making pitches when he needed to, and I think that was kind of the gist of this whole game."
Aceves' fingers began to bleed after the first curveball he threw, but he wiped it off on his way his to 71 pitches, holding the A's to three hits.
After allowing eight earned runs to the White Sox on Tuesday, and with the expected return of John Lackey from the 15-day disabled list on Sunday, Aceves was told he'd be used out of the bullpen. But that didn't change much for the 29-year-old right-hander.
"When he was in the starting rotation, on his days off, he had his cleats on and he was out there like he was going to get in the game sometime," Saltalamacchia said. "It's like, 'Hey, you just pitched yesterday, you're alright. You threw 90 pitches. You're not getting in there.' But he has his cleats on ready to go."
Aceves said he'll rest on Sunday and use Monday's off-day as a recovery period, but he expects to be available for a three-game series with the Yankees beginning on Tuesday.
"The last time I pitched, [the White Sox] got to me," Aceves said. "I tried to do too much. Today, I was like, that's in the past. Stay positive."
"He did a really good job," said manager Terry Francona. "We're fortunate he was stretched out. He's on one day short, but he was stretched out where he could do something like that and it ended up saving us the game."
Scutaro to play second, DH in rehab stint
BOSTON -- Marco Scutaro will see time at second base and as the designated hitter during a three-game rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket that's set to begin Saturday night in Durham, N.C. He's been on the disabled list with a strained left oblique since May 8.
Regularly a shortstop, Scutaro can meet up with the Red Sox on Monday night in New York, if all goes well. Monday's game in Durham is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. ET, allowing Scutaro the chance to fly out the same day.
With Jed Lowrie hitting well as Boston's regular shortstop, Scutaro is facing a part-time role upon his return. He's slated to play one game at shortstop, one game at second and one at DH for the PawSox, who are taking on the Rays' Triple-A club.
"I called [Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler] last night and just said, 'Hey, figure it out, this is what [Scutaro] needs to do, talk to Scut,'" said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "And just whatever works for Arnie, for Scut. ... Then hopefully he'll feel good and he can join us in New York Monday night."
Scutaro, 35, came into the season as the Red Sox's starting shortstop. In 23 games and 68 at-bats, he's hit .235 with a .316 on-base percentage and three extra-base hits (one home run).
Lowrie's splits point to right-handed success
BOSTON -- Jed Lowrie is hitting better than .350 against left-handed pitchers throughout his Major League career, and he's done much of the same this season, batting .431 with all three of his home runs and 17 RBIs.
But the switch-hitter has struggled against righties, hitting .236 in 110 at-bats this year.
"I think he's always been more dangerous right-handed," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "He started the season out so hot from both sides. Most players, if they're switch-hitters, have to work harder at one side of the plate.
"He's taken some real good aggressive swings and come up empty. That happens sometimes. And then once you miss your pitch, you don't get it again, you make an out. But I think offensively, he's not a worry. I just don't know that he's going to hit .400."
Keeping Lowrie on the field has been an issue the past three seasons, when he's averaged just 270 at-bats per year.
"I think it's something we've tried to keep our eye on because he hasn't played every day. Because if I felt that way, he'd have had more days off," Francona said. "I think he's dying to show that he can do this. He's going to work hard because he's wanted this chance and he wants to prove that he can do it."
Red Sox right-hander John Lackey is likely to max out at about 90 pitches in Sunday's start, his first since coming off the disabled list with a strained throwing elbow. "We don't want to overdo because he's coming back from an elbow problem, that I think you can make a mistake and come back quick and do too much," said manager Terry Francona. ... Left-hander Franklin Morales is "feeling pretty good" as he works back from a left forearm strain, but he is not ready to start a rehab assignment. "We want to make sure [he's OK], especially with the way he throws -- he's not a real finesse guy, he's out there letting it fly," Francona said. "We'll have some more updates on him hopefully soon. I don't think he's ready for that yet." ... The Red Sox entered Saturday 12-6 in day games, fourth-best in the Majors. David Ortiz's .382 daytime average is second-best in the American League among qualifiers. ... Jonathan Papelbon is one save shy of 200 for his career.
Evan Drellich is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. Jason Mastrodonato is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.