7/14/2013 10:10 P.M. ET
Farrell: Health key to Boston's fortunes
By Jeff Kirshman / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- Manager John Farrell's breakdown of Boston's current success and future prospects revolve primarily around his team's health.
Aside from Boston's Major League-leading 58 wins -- the most ever by the team before the All-Star break -- Farrell has been most pleased with the team's ability to respond to injury.
"The overall depth, without question," Farrell said. "I think we're at 42 players and counting, and when you consider those additional 17 above and beyond the 25 who we began the season with, there's a number of situations where guys have contributed, whether it's been more regularly or a one-time outing like in Steven Wright's case."
A win in Sunday's series finale would give the Red Sox 20 series wins before the break to match the total number of series won in all of 2012. Boston entered Sunday tops in the Majors with 496 runs scored and a .351 on-base percentage, and its pitchers had already fanned 811 batters this season, over 100 more than the previous club record before the break.
That should seemingly continue with the team's health intact, which Farrell said is his biggest concern after the midseason reprieve.
"We've got a number of guys who play the game hard and are going to suffer some situations or ailments that they're managing and dealing with," Farrell said.
And as far as being in first place in his first year as manager?
"It's the All-Star break, and there's a lot more games left to be played," he said. "We have a tough schedule ahead of us. We've got probably more than half of the games we play against teams with above-.500 records.
"Our challenge is don't become any less. We're going to get back into our division. It's deep, strong. And we're looking forward to getting off the West Coast, I can tell you that, and looking forward to getting back to Fenway Park and playing a lot of games there."
Gomes tossed after ump doesn't grant timeout
OAKLAND -- Red Sox left fielder Jonny Gomes was ejected in the ninth inning of Boston's 3-2 loss to the A's on Sunday for arguing with home-plate umpire Todd Tichenor.
The former A's player was tossed after he was denied timeout at the plate and instead struck out swinging against A's All-Star Grant Balfour with the score tied at 2.
"I think the second pitch of the at-bat I called time and he gave it to me," Gomes said. "I played with Balfour for a while. He stands on the mound and takes his time, so I wanted to get my time in, as well. He gave it to me the first time and he didn't the second.
"How I go about it is if you want time, you should get time in three times. 'Time, time, time.' I said it four times: 'Time, time, time, time.' Four times. And I took my hand off my bat and pointed at him and got another two in. And then I had time to put the hand back on my bat and take a swing. I don't know where we got hung up there."
The ejection was Gomes' third of his career and first in more than five years, when he fought with current A's center fielder Coco Crisp on June 5, 2008, as a member of the Rays.
"I was kind of baffled, because I know how hard it is to come off the bench," Gomes said. "I don't think I've ever been ejected -- maybe once a long time ago - for that simple fact. I don't like to get that guy off the bench to have to come in the game. I take a lot of pride in that and I take a lot of pride in not arguing that third strike because chances are me, personally, I messed up the first two, so I'll give him that third. I just had to ask where we got hung up and he gave me an answer and rung me."
Boston adds lefty Britton to bullpen
OAKLAND -- A tumultuous journey spanning a five-year Minor League career, Tommy John surgery and an arrest for driving under the influence has finally led to left-hander Drake Britton joining the Major League ranks for the first time.
Britton, 24, joined the Red Sox for Sunday's series finale against the A's -- the last game before the All-Star break -- with Jack Bradley Jr. headed to Triple-A Pawtucket to free the roster spot.
"We felt like we needed to add another arm to the bullpen given the number of left-handers that this lineup has," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We felt like Drake was a good fit to give us a third lefty. It's also part of what we wanted to see with our young, internal pitchers, to take a look at them in the early part of July. And he comes to us having thrown the ball well late."
Britton, Boston's No. 12 prospect, went 7-6 with a 3.51 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 97 1/3 innings as a starter with Double-A Portland and surrendered five runs in 5 1/3 innings in his debut for Pawtucket last week. With Brandon Workman making his first Major League start Sunday, Britton's promotion may just be a preemptive measure in case Workman falters early.
"I don't know yet," Britton said when asked what he foresees regarding his role with the team. "I'm just coming in here fresh and ready to do whatever they ask me."
While he's had success on the field lately, Britton is still dealing with legal matters after he was arrested in March on DUI charges after allegedly driving 111 mph in a 45-mph zone near the team's Spring Training facility in Fort Myers, Fla.
"It was very tough, very embarrassing," Britton said. "I'm extremely remorseful, first for bringing that negative attention not only to myself, but to the organization. It was a very big learning experience for me and I've learned a lot. Now, I'm just concentrating on making things right and focusing back on baseball."
Buchholz could rehab as soon as Thursday
OAKLAND -- Clay Buchholz is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday at O.co Coliseum as he continues to recover from right shoulder bursitis that's kept him sidelined since June 8.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said Buchholz will also throw at some point while in New York as a member of the American League's roster at the All-Star Game, though he will merely serve as a spectator.
A Minor League rehab start will follow soon after, which could come as soon as Thursday, when Double-A Portland returns to play at home.
Farrell said he hopes Buchholz will return to the starting rotation before the end of July, though he's yet to settle on what the rotation will look like coming out of the break, which starts with 10 games against American League East opponents.
"Getting Clay back will be a huge boost for us, and that's coming," Farrell said. "Returning to full health will be a key for us."
Shortstop Stephen Drew is also slated to return following the break, though his rehab schedule and how many games he plays in the Minors has yet to be determined.
"He has the right to say none and to just rejoin us," Farrell said. "That's a conversation that I need to sit down with Stephen and have a bit more directly with and outline what we're trying to get accomplished."
Buccholz went 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 12 starts as an early frontrunner in the AL Cy Young Award conversation prior to his injury, striking out a career-high 25 percent of the batters he faced.
Drew has batted .233 this season with 31 RBIs and 28 walks as the team's everyday shortstop. Farrell has said Jose Iglesias will switch back to third base upon Drew's return.
Jeff Kirshman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.