6/29/2013 12:40 A.M. ET
Uehara continues dominance in closer's role
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
BOSTON -- The experiment of moving Koji Uehara to the closer's role is off to a flying start for the Red Sox.
For the third straight day, Uehara was called on for a save situation. And once again, the right-hander delivered with a dominant performance in the Red Sox's 7-5 win over the Blue Jays on Friday night.
It was the first time Uehara pitched on three consecutive days all season.
"During batting practice, I had told [manager] John [Farrell] I'd be ready if that situation arises," said Uehara.
Saving three games in three days is impressive enough. But doing it in the fashion demonstrated by Uehara is rare -- even for the most accomplished closers.
Uehara has retired all nine batters he's faced in the three-day span, striking out six of them. It has taken him all of 44 pitches.
But don't get any crazy ideas about Uehara saving a fourth straight game on Saturday.
"I'm going to tell them that I'm not available tomorrow," Uehara said with a broad smile.
For the season, Uehara has a 1.91 ERA, allowing 19 hits and striking out 48 over 33 innings.
"Man, he's awesome," said Andrew Bailey, the man Uehara replaced as Boston's closer. "He's fun to watch. It's unbelievable. He's definitely been our guy down there all year that has been that rock that you can call on any time and he's ready to go. What he's done the last three nights is fantastic. It's definitely fun to watch. It's like a video game to him."
Lester's hip OK, on track to make next start
BOSTON -- Jon Lester showed no ill effects from the right hip ailment that took him out of Thursday's 7-4 victory vs. the Blue Jays after 94 pitches, and he should be on track to make his next scheduled start, on Thursday against the Padres.
Manager John Farrell described Friday as a normal day after a start for Lester.
"He feels improved," Farrell said, "so we're considering today similar to any other Day 1 following his start. He does get the advantage of an extra day rest this next time through. We fully expect him to be on the mound against San Diego next week."
Considering that Clay Buchholz hasn't pitched since June 9 because of a neck strain, the last thing the Sox need is for Lester to lose any time.
"Based on all the maintenance work he currently does, and the exams, the strength exams, that he goes through, the range of motion is good," Farrell said. "There's nothing that is glaring. There are times when, if his stride direction is a little bit across his body, he'll pinch it at times. I can't say that there's the need for some kind of intervention to correct something that's damaged. That's not the case."
Drew exits with right hamstring tightness
BOSTON -- In the midst of a strong offensive performance, shortstop Stephen Drew had to leave Friday night's 7-5 win against the Blue Jays in the bottom of the fourth inning with tightness in his right hamstring.
Considering the Sox play at 4:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, it wouldn't be surprising to see Drew on the bench.
"Hamstrings are funny, but I'm staying positive that hopefully maybe one or two games [missed] and we'll go from there," Drew said.
Drew belted a two-run triple to center in the second. Two innings later, he clocked a double to center but pulled up lame at second base.
"Coming around first it really tightened up on me," said Drew. "It hit lower than I [thought it would]," said Drew. "The wind was kind of playing tricks on us, blowing in, coming out, blowing in. I thought I'd hit it halfway up the wall and it hit lower. I came around first and kind of had to hit a second gear to get to second. That's when I felt the tightness come on."
After a brief meeting with manager John Farrell and assistant trainer Masai Takashi at second base, Drew exited.
He was replaced by Brandon Snyder. When the Red Sox went out for defense in the fifth, Snyder went to third base while Jose Iglesias moved to short to replace Drew.
• Buchholz, who last pitched June 8, will try to do some light throwing this weekend, perhaps as early as Saturday.
"Well, we'll put a ball in his hand probably Saturday or Sunday," said Farrell. "And because he's feeling improved -- this is a prescribed time period to no-throw, or to not throw -- everything is pointing towards this weekend to initiate that."
• The Red Sox hope Daniel Bard will resume Minor League action at some point in the near future. Bard hasn't pitched in a game since May 15, when he walked five batters in an inning for Double-A Portland.
"I don't know that there's a target date in which he gets back in a game," said Farrell, "but I know he's back on the mound. The abdominal issue he was dealing with healed itself to the point where he's not as restricted by that as he was."