10/13/2013 2:20 A.M. ET
Ross gets nod behind plate in Game 1 of ALCS
By Ian Browne and Jason Mastrodonato / MLB.com
BOSTON -- The Red Sox have so much respect for David Ross that it's hard for them to classify him as a backup catcher, even if that is technically what his role is.
When it came time for manager John Farrell to put together his lineup for Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, Ross was the choice behind the plate instead of Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Expect Saltalamacchia to return for Game 2 (Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on FOX), and to probably play the majority of games in this series.
But for Saturday's matchup, Farrell thought back to how brilliantly Ross worked with Game 1 starter Jon Lester on Sept. 3 in beating the Tigers, 2-1.
"That was definitely factored in," said Farrell. "There's some familiarity with [Tigers starter Anibal] Sanchez, even though Sanchez is tougher on righties. And the depth of our roster and the depth of our players has been a main contributor to our success this year, and we'll look to take advantage of that the best we can. The game in early September with Jon and David pairing up, that was one of the primary reasons."
For Ross, just being able to play at this time of year is pure joy, after the doubt he experienced when he was sidelined with a second concussion between June 18-Aug. 19. Ross spent a lot of that time at his home in Tallahassee, Fla.
"There were times I was sitting at home thinking I didn't know if I was ever going to play again," Ross said. "When you think about Mike Matheny and some of the guys that have had concussions in the past that have ended guy's careers -- David Ortiz told me about Corey Koskie because they are good buddies. That stuff -- hearing that and then coming through that and realizing there is light at the end of the tunnel -- has been nice, and this is just icing on the cake, it's a lot of fun."
Carp expected to replace Napoli for Game 2
BOSTON -- After the Red Sox were held without a hit until the ninth inning of Saturday's 1-0 loss to the Tigers in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, Boston is shaking up the lineup.
Mike Carp said he was told he'd be in the starting lineup for Game 2 on Sunday night (8 ET on FOX) against right-hander Max Scherzer. The lefty-swinging Carp will likely play first base in place of the right-handed Mike Napoli.
Napoli was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts as the Red Sox struggled to generate offense in the ALCS opener.
"It's part of baseball," said Carp, who will be making his first career postseason start. "On any given day things can happen. Who's to say we're not going to score 20 [runs] off [the Tigers] tomorrow?"
Because Scherzer has been so tough on right-handed batters, holding them to a .165 average compared to a .222 average against left-handers, Carp may give the Red Sox a better chance at first base. He's 2-for-8 against Scherzer lifetime. Napoli is 1-for-13.
Napoli, who is 2-for-17 in the postseason, has been dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
"I feel good up there," he said. "I'm not searching or anything. Just going up there trying to do what I do. I'm still confident I'll go out tomorrow and get five hits. I don't know, you just got to keep going."
Peavy available out of bullpen if needed
BOSTON -- Though Jake Peavy has pitched just once out of the bullpen in his career, he will have his spikes on for Game 1 of the American League Championship Series and be ready if needed on Saturday night.
Though the right-hander was strong in his start in Game 4 of the AL Division Series, he was taken out after just 74 pitches, due to the game situation.
Since Sept. 26, Peavy has started just one game, which is why he volunteered for bullpen duty in advance of his next start, which will be Game 4 of the ALCS on Wednesday.
"Out of fairness to Jake, and in fairness to all, we've got guys who are familiar with certain roles," said manager John Farrell. "And while there wouldn't be [any hesitation] to use a starter, it would have to be a specific situation. In other words, I'm not jumping him ahead of [Junichi] Tazawa or maybe even [Brandon] Workman in a certain situation."
Felix Doubront and Ryan Dempster, both of whom pitched in the rotation almost all season, will again be in the bullpen throughout this series.
Doubront didn't pitch in the Division Series.
"Again, it's going to be factored upon if we've already used guys in a certain point of the game, and we feel like a left-hander is best suited for a certain spot in the lineup," said Farrell. "He's on the roster, so there isn't going to be hesitancy to use him."
Napoli continues to grind through plantar fasciitis
BOSTON -- During the last couple of months, as Mike Napoli has battled plantar fasciitis in his left foot, he has often come back strong after getting some rest.
But sometimes too much down time can get him out of his rhythm at the plate.
Napoli got a lot of rest during the final week of the regular season, as the Red Sox tried to get him ready for October. Then, there were four days off between the end of the season and the American League Division Series. Manager John Farrell wonders if that had some impact on Napoli against the Rays, when he went 2-for-13.
When he [stays down] for a week, he's got maintenance in that swing, so then he gets a couple of games back, and then we shut [him] down for another four days, [and that's tough]," Farrell said. "He's a guy that needs regular at-bats to find that timing, to hone it, and to capitalize on the power that he has."
Given the fact that Max Scherzer is notoriously tough on right-handers, it's expected that Mike Carp will start at first in place of Napoli for Game 2 of the AL Championship Series against the Tigers (Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on FOX).
Napoli continues to impress the Red Sox with the way he has handled his injury.
"I wouldn't say it's getting worse," Farrell said. "He's shown that there's a pretty substantial pain threshold that he's able to deal with. Even when he had that rest through the end of the season, that last week of the season, I thought he ran the bases pretty aggressively in the final series against Baltimore and then against Tampa Bay. If there's something being felt, he's not letting on with the way he's running the bases."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Jason Mastrodonato is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.