07/27/10 11:00 PM ET
Specialist gives Pedroia a wake-up call
Injured Red Sox second baseman scales back expectations
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
Drew a late scratch, also out Wednesday
ANAHEIM -- The earliest that right fielder J.D. Drew will play for the Red Sox again will be Friday night at Fenway against the Tigers. Drew was scratched just minutes before Tuesday's game against the Angels with a left hamstring strain.He will be examined by a doctor in Anaheim on Wednesday. The Red Sox don't play on Thursday. "I've been dealing with it for a while now, and it just got too much before the game," Drew said. "I tried to run some sprints and I really just couldn't get loose. I had to tell Tito and them right before the game that there really wasn't any way to perform like I needed to out there so I had to make that call." Darnell McDonald was inserted in right field and batted ninth. Drew had been slated to hit second. Jed Lowrie moved up to the second spot. The moves worked out nicely, as McDonald worked a two-out walk to spark the pivotal rally, which was capped on Lowrie's double to left. The Red Sox won the game, 4-2. Drew is hitting .268 with 12 homers and 49 RBIs. "I'm probably going to get a scan if they can get me in," said Drew. "I've been dealing with this for three to four weeks. It's just been getting gradually worse. It will be a chance to see exactly what's going on." The right fielder is hopeful the injury won't keep him out beyond a couple of days. "Oh, no, I hope not," Drew said. "I hope we get to the point where we can see exactly what's going on and then make a diagnosis on how we're going to treat it a little bit better. I think that's the game-plan -- hoping we could get to that off-day to get it some rest and catch up there but we couldn't make it. It felt really bad out there running tonight."
Lowell, Ellsbury take big steps
ANAHEIM -- The two position players on Minor League rehab assignments both made solid steps toward returning to the active roster. Corner infielder Mike Lowell belted three home runs for Triple-A Pawtucket, driving in five runs. The game was played at Toledo. It was Lowell's fourth start of the assignment, but first at third base.The corner infielder should be ready to be activated by the weekend, though there's still a chance he will be dealt by Saturday's 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline. Lowell has been out since June 23 with a right hip strain. Jacoby Ellsbury, playing in his second Gulf Coast League game, went 1-for-2 with a walk and stole a base. He played five innings in center field. Ellsbury will take a day off from game action on Wednesday and then play nine innings in the Gulf Coast on Thursday. If that goes well, he will be elevated to Pawtucket for the weekend. The speedy leadoff man could be back with the Red Sox within a couple of weeks.
Workload doesn't faze Bard
ANAHEIM -- Ace setup man Daniel Bard entered Tuesday night's game with 47 appearances, ranking him fourth in the American League. He is seventh among AL relievers in innings. The righty has more then held up to the heavy workload, posting a 1.86 ERA.The Red Sox are trying not to overuse Bard. As manager Terry Francona said Monday night, "As much as we like Bard, our goal is not to have him leading the league in appearances and innings. No, some nights you've got to win without him." Truth be told, Bard loves how much the team counts on him. "It's been a lot of use, but my body feels good," Bard said. "They're giving me rest when I've needed it and I'm ready for the [stretch] run here. To be honest, I like pitching more often." Every afternoon, Boston's relief pitchers go out and play catch a few hours before the game and the coaching staff then takes inventory on who is available. "They ask how I feel every day and I probably say 'good' more than I probably should," said Bard. "I do, honestly feel good. I would tell them if there was something bothering me that I was worried about. But I told [pitching coach] John [Farrell] just to stop asking. I'll tell him when I really can't go. That's not going to happen. I've handled it pretty well but the true test will be September and October." Speculation has been rampant that the Red Sox will get another setup man before the deadline to help ease Bard's workload. But there are no guarantees that can happen, given the market. "I have no idea," said Bard. "I get paid to pitch, not make roster moves. I'm not too worried about. We have a very good team as it is. We just have to try to prove it." Does the pressurized role Bard is in ever take a toll? "There's been a handful of days, maybe three or four that I can think of," Bard said. "Nothing in particular. Your body gets tired. Sometimes your mind gets a little more tired than your body. Just keep them going. Keep both of them going at the same time and you'll be in good shape."
Lowrie adapting well
ANAHEIM -- For the fourth time in five days, Jed Lowrie was Boston's starting second baseman. Coming up through the Minor Leagues and with the Red Sox, Lowrie has played far more at short and third than second.That said, the position is one he is plenty familiar with. "I've played it all through college," said Lowrie. "I got drafted as a second baseman. You know, the nuances of the position, that just comes with reps. I feel comfortable there. I've actually enjoyed it. It's a fun position. It's a little different than short, it's more about being able to turn the double plays and you have a lot more time over there to make the play as opposed to being on the left side of the field." Lowrie noticed on Monday night he was releasing the ball too quickly. "It was like a hitch route with [first baseman] Kevin Youkilis. I was hitting him right when he got to the base. I've got to remember, I have a little more time over there." After missing more than three months of action with mononucleosis, Lowrie's body is adjusting well to the rigors of playing again. "So far, so good," Lowrie said. "I'm just going to stick to the day-by-day thing and see how my body feels when I wake up in the morning and just be as honest as I can." As for his left wrist, which hindered him greatly his first two seasons in the Majors, Lowrie is feeling no significant discomfort. "It might be a blessing in disguise," Lowrie said. "So far, no major problems. Every once in a while, like if I slide and I jam it in the ground, I feel it, but there's no lasting effects. It's not as relevant as it was the last couple of years."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.