6/11/2013 7:51 P.M. ET
Red Sox hope Buchholz will start on Sunday
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- Clay Buchholz feels improvement in his ailing neck and could start Sunday's road trip finale, against the Orioles.
If he can pitch then, he won't miss a turn in the rotation, and instead would start just two days earlier than originally scheduled.
"He continues to improve," said manager John Farrell. "We'll likely put a ball in his hand tomorrow to get his arm moving, to see how he feels, with the intent -- and the hopeful intent -- that he would throw [a bullpen session] on Friday. That's best-case scenario at this point. If he does get off the mound with no issues, he would definitely be a candidate for Sunday."
It isn't a be-all-end-all scenario for Buchholz to return by Sunday. Jon Lester could actually make that start on regular rest, which means the Sox could hold Buchholz back until Tuesday's day-night doubleheader against the Rays if need be.
Aceves to start Wednesday; Mortensen on DL
ST. PETERSBURG -- After a 14-inning win on Monday that taxed their bullpen, the Red Sox brought in a fresh arm for Tuesday's game, summoning right-hander Jose De La Torre from Triple-A Pawtucket.
De La Torre probably doesn't need to unpack his bags, though, since Alfredo Aceves will be recalled from Pawtucket to start Wednesday night's game against the Rays.
De La Torre would seem the likeliest candidate to be moved to make room for the latest return of Aceves.
Franklin Morales was originally supposed to make Wednesday's spot start but was needed out of the bullpen on Monday, pitching the final two innings for the win.
To make room for De La Torre, the Sox placed Clayton Mortensen on the disabled list with a groin/hip ailment.
Mortensen pitched a scoreless ninth on Monday.
"Clayton has been dealing with a groin and hip issue since we left Spring Training," said manager John Farrell. "As much as we wanted to get him for multiple innings last night, he couldn't go after the one inning of work. That's the move to get De La Torre here.
"It's likely we'll make another move after tonight to get a starter here, and that will be Aceves, who will start tomorrow for us. We're in about a three-day stretch here where we've got some shuffling going on with the pitching staff. Depending on how things come out of these next two nights, we could be seeing another move before we get into Baltimore on Thursday."
Mortensen hopes that a couple of weeks off will allow the injury to subside.
"It's been nagging me for quite some time," Mortensen said. "First time I felt it was the Baltimore series at home. I've been grinding with it for a little while. It just comes to a point where ... if it's affecting the way I'm throwing and I'm not able to execute pitches I want to execute, then I've got to make a move and get it right and give me some time to get it back to feeling normal again."
Iglesias gets nod at third; Middlebrooks rests
ST. PETERSBURG -- On Tuesday, a day after manager John Farrell vowed to find ways to get Jose Iglesias into the lineup, he was true to his word. Iglesias started at third base while Will Middlebrooks, one day after being activated, was not in the lineup.
Coming off a back injury, Middlebrooks had played six of the last seven days, if you include his Minor League rehab.
"With today, that's definitely part of it," said Farrell. "In talking with Will, in talking with Jose, it's likely we look to get Jose a couple of days a week at third. And then there's going to be other opportunities at shortstop. and as much as [Dustin Pedroia] is going to fight it, there's going to be a day coming up here at second base [for Iglesias] as well."
Middlebrooks went 1-for-7 in Monday's 14-inning marathon. He is hitting .199 on the season, with eight homers and 22 RBIs.
Lackey wants to move on from Rays incident
ST. PETERSBURG -- Although the Rays continue to be adamant that John Lackey hit Matt Joyce intentionally on Monday, Lackey has no interest in getting into a war of words.
"I just stand by what I said yesterday," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "I really don't want to get any further than that. ... I totally believe it was intentional. I saw the replay, and it was absolutely validated, my thoughts. But on their side of things, to admit they did it on purpose would result in some sort of punitive situation, so I understand why they said what they said."
The interesting thing is that Lackey and Maddon have history together, with the Angels. Lackey was an ace on that staff, and Maddon was the bench coach before departing to manage the Rays in 2006.
"I don't have [an opinion]," said Lackey when asked about Maddon's comments. "He's got to stick up for his guys. I've got nothing for you, man. I'm not going to drag it on."
Maddon sort of paid Lackey a back-handed compliment following Monday's game.
"The sad part is, I've always considered Lackey a good teammate, but right there he could get one of his own players hurt," Maddon said. "I really did sense among the group of Red Sox that they were totally not into that moment, because they knew it was inappropriate to hit Matt on purpose, and furthermore, because one of them could get hurt. So that's being a bad teammate, as far as I'm concerned. In the past he was always a good teammate. That was really a bad moment for him."
"He knows being a good teammate is an important thing to me," said Lackey.
Maddon still respects Lackey. he just didn't have respect for his actions at that moment.
"Of course, I'm always willing to talk to John," said Maddon. "I still consider him a friend. You don't just toss a friendship away over a moment like that. I would be very happy to talk to John at any point. But I had to say what I said last night because I believe it to be true."
"I don't think I need to seek him out, no," said Lackey.
Red Sox manager John Farrell doesn't expect the incident to linger for the rest of the series.
"I think it was just two teams that went at it in a very hard-played game last night," said Farrell. "There's going to be emotions inside of any game. I wouldn't suspect there would be any carryover."