7/20/2013 10:11 P.M. ET
Uehara proving he can handle workload
By Jason Mastrodonato and Michael Perriatt / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Closer A got hurt, Closer B got hurt, and Closer C has been among the best in baseball.
Koji Uehara feels no pressure in his new role. He's reassuring both with his words and performance. As Andrew Bailey considers season-ending surgery and Joel Hanrahan has already had it, the ninth-inning duties have fallen to Uehara, who the Red Sox never mentioned as a possible closer candidate in Spring Training.
Since taking over the role in late June, the 38-year-old Uehara had allowed just one earned run on five hits over 13 1/3 innings entering play Saturday. Of the 40 outs he'd recorded, 19 of them had been via strikeout.
"It's something I have experienced before," said Uehara, who closed with the Orioles briefly in 2010 and spent 2007 as the closer for Yomiuri in the Japan Central League. "I'm settled in."
The concerns, though, had been around Uehara's usage on back-to-back days. He's been somewhat delicate over his Major League career, averaging 51 innings per season. But he's collected saves on back-to-back days twice, even going back-to-back-to-back once in late June.
He needed just seven pitches to close out the Yankees on Friday in an outing he called "easy."
"He's a quality strike thrower," Farrell said. "And there's a difference between quality strikes and strikes in general. And he's so deceptive with that splitter that it's not uncommon to see eight-to-11-pitch innings. So that does give us the ability to use him, whether it's consecutive days or three days in a row, as we've done."
Victorino could return for Sunday's series finale
BOSTON -- As the saga of Shane Victorino's injuries continues, the Red Sox know they have to deal with them, and they will.
Left hamstring tightness the latest of his body's ailments, Victorino was out of the lineup against the Yankees on Saturday, but he will not go to the 15-day disabled list as the Red Sox continue to work around Victorino's health concerns while letting him continue his aggressive style of play.
Manager John Farrell said that Victorino, who has played in 65 of the team's 98 games this season, could return as soon as Sunday.
"It's a situation that he's managing, and our medical staff is confident he's not at further risk of long-term issues," Farrell said.
Victorino has been something of a crash-test dummy with right-field walls this season, though his most recent injury came during Friday's 4-2 win over the Yankees, when Victorino pulled up lame chasing a fly ball.
"But he's come in today feeling better than I think he even anticipated after coming out last night," Farrell said. "We're hopeful and expect him to be in the lineup tomorrow."
Drew returns, will be eased back into play
BOSTON -- Stephen Drew reclaimed his spot as the Red Sox's starting shortstop Saturday, but the club isn't going to rush him into playing every day.
During a 5-2 loss to the Yankees, Drew went 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout and made four putouts in the field, as part of what he said was a successful return for him, physically.
"Overall I felt good," Drew said. "I wish I had some different outcomes, but I felt good at the plate and started to feel good in my last at-bat."
It was Drew's first game since tweaking his hamstring during a June 28 game against the Blue Jays and being placed on the 15-day disabled list.
The Red Sox plan to ease Drew back into the everyday flow, and with the club slated to face three left-handed starters over the next four games, manager John Farrell said he'll likely give Drew some rest. Entering Saturday, Drew was hitting .183 against left-handers, compared to a .255 clip against right-handers.
"Something we'll go day to day with," Farrell said. "I've had that conversation with Stephen. Over the next six games, we have three left-handed starters going against us, so there might be a time in there to get him off his feet before we get him back to everyday play."
Drew's return meant the Red Sox had to choose to keep either Brock Holt or Brandon Snyder on the Major League roster. Both infielders had been playing well, but Farrell said the decision to keep Snyder ultimately came down to having another right-handed bat off the bench.
"The fact is, with Stephen coming back to us, a left-handed hitter, the right-handed guy on the bench fits a little bit better," Farrell said. "And that was expressed and explained to Brock. But he gave us everything he could've hoped for in the time he was here. And probably solidifies further why he was so sought after in the [Joel Hanrahan trade with Pittsburgh] in the winter time. He's a valuable player as we go forward."
• Clay Buchholz will try throwing at some point this weekend, though if it's unsuccessful, he could get a second opinion on Monday. Farrell said that opinion would come from noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.
• Mike Napoli received a normal day off on Saturday as the Red Sox wanted to get another left-handed bat in the lineup against Hiroki Kuroda. Mike Carp got the start at first base. Napoli has three homers since the beginning of June.
• Farrell said he's noticed a drop in velocity from right-handed reliever Junichi Tazawa, who has allowed at least one run in four of his last nine appearances. After striking out 31 batters in his first 23 1/3 innings this season, Tazawa had fanned 16 in his last 19 innings entering play Saturday.
"He's probably not as powerful as he was last year when everyone saw him," Farrell said.
• Jonny Gomes homered Friday, and he's been on a tear since scuffling in April and May. Since the beginning of June, Gomes had hit .325 with eight doubles and four homers in 24 games before Saturday's game.
Jason Mastrodonato is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jmastrodonato. Michael Periatt is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Michael Periatt. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.