7/30/2014 12:00 A.M. ET
Lester scratched from tonight's start as rumors swirl
Farrell announces decision after Tuesday's loss; Workman to step in
By Ian Browne and Steven Petrella / MLB.com
BOSTON -- If Jon Lester does get dealt by the Red Sox before Thursday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline, he won't get to make a dramatic final start at Fenway Park.
Following Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Blue Jays, Boston manager John Farrell announced that Lester was scratched from tonight's start in the finale, and Brandon Workman will be recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to pitch.
The Red Sox had no trade to announce, but there's a very real possibility Lester could be in his final hours with the only professional organization for which he's ever pitched.
"Yeah, Brandon Workman will start [tonight]," said Farrell. "In light of all the uncertainty surrounding Jon Lester, it's probably in everyone's best interests that he does not make that start, so Brandon will be recalled. There will be a corresponding move roster-wise at some point [today]."
Prior to Tuesday's game, Farrell had said Lester was still on track to pitch, though Workman was already lined up as a contingency.
By scratching Lester from his start, the Red Sox could increase the urgency of their suitors to sweeten their offer in advance of Thursday's Deadline.
Also, Lester becomes more attractive to a potential suitor if he can pitch immediately after a trade, rather than having to wait until Monday.
Numerous teams have talked to the Red Sox about Lester, and there was a lot of buzz about the Pirates on Tuesday. The Dodgers are another possible destination, though they've thus far been unwilling to part with the type of top prospects (Corey Seager, Joc Pederson) the Red Sox seek. The Marlins have also expressed interest, according to Jim Bowden of MLB Network radio.
Even American League East foes such as the Orioles and Blue Jays surfaced at one point, but both teams appeared to be out of the running as of Tuesday evening.
While Red Sox veterans were still hoping the lefty would stay, they were bracing for the possibility of his exit.
"Yeah, it's tough," said Dustin Pedroia, who came up with Lester through the farm system and has won a pair of World Series titles with him. "We're not teammates -- we're family. It's something you don't like going through. It makes you feel worse. We don't want to be in this position. I know a lot of guys feel that if you play up to your capability ... we should be adding instead of subtracting. Hopefully he's here."
"Lester is like a brother to me, you know what I'm saying?" David Ortiz said. "Pedey was right. We've been together for a long period of time, and it comes to the fact that all these trades and rumors are going around, it can get a little complicated. We'll see."
Even though Lester is in the final year of his contract, it would have seemed inconceivable even a month or two ago that he could be traded. But the 48-59 Red Sox have faded fast and are 12 games back in the AL East.
At the very least, the club figures it is best off trying to trade Lester now for a top prospect, and perhaps rekindling talks with him as a free agent in the offseason.
Lester said multiple times in recent days that he would still try to re-sign with Boston if the club traded him.
"It's surprising, but with this game, you never know. You never know what's next. We'll see," said Ortiz.
It was just last October that Lester's dominance played a large role in the Red Sox winning their third World Series in the span of a decade.
"Yeah, if we have a big game to play, we want him pitching it," Pedroia said. "I've seen him every start. It would be tough to see him in another uniform. I hope in a couple of days he's here, because it means a lot to me and everyone else and what he's done here. I'm hoping we open the door and he's in there."
Farrell meets with Doubront, stresses team focus
BOSTON -- Felix Doubront wants to be a starter, but he didn't do much to help his cause Monday.
Doubront looked lost on the mound during a short-yet-long relief appearance in Boston's 14-1 loss to Toronto, and while manager John Farrell dismissed the idea of Doubront being disinterested or unfocused, Boston's skipper said he's met with the lefty to discuss his appearance.
"Yes, and that's all I'll say about it," Farrell said.
Farrell said he doesn't believe his team as a whole has lost focus in any way, though.
"To say that with a broad brush, no, not at all," Farrell said. "Are there some things that we address internally? Yes, there have been."
Doubront came on in relief of Clay Buchholz and allowed the two runners he inherited to score. He allowed six hits, two walks and six runs of his own over two-thirds of an inning. The Blue Jays squared up balls at-bat after at-bat.
Doubront has made 66 starts for Boston over the last three seasons, including 10 in 2014. He hasn't started since June 20 and has made seven relief appearances since.
The 26-year-old said he'd like to be a starter and feels he's proven himself in that role. He declined to speak with the media after Monday's game.
Prior to Tuesday's game, Farrell spoke more broadly about distractions at this time of year, especially with his team 10 games under .500. and likely moving players before Thursday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline.
"It is important that we all continue to focus as a team. The things that we established a year ago and the things we continue to build -- that can't be jeopardized," Farrell said. "That can't be sacrificed with a so-called distraction taking away from the way we play. That's unacceptable in my mind."
"That's why we take the added steps to keep them abreast of their situation and the situation of us as a team," Farrell continued. "Is it human nature to think about what else may be out there? It is, but we're all professional. And at some point, that focus has got to maintain between the lines."
• Mike Napoli sat Tuesday because of swelling in his finger, Farrell said. Napoli hit the disabled list for about two weeks in late May and early June because of the finger injury on his left hand.
"We felt a day down and added treatment would give him a chance to try to get ahead of [it] a little more," Farrell said.
Mike Carp played first base and batted fifth in Napoli's absence.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.