8/2/2014 1:02 A.M. ET
Craig healthy, ready to contribute offensively
By Ian Browne and Steven Petrella / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Just nine months ago, Allen Craig was at Fenway Park, watching the Red Sox win the World Series against his Cardinals. Back at Fenway on Friday, a day after being traded by St. Louis to Boston, Craig was trying to put it all into perspective.
"I think it's still sinking in, just being in the clubhouse and seeing a lot of faces and putting the names to faces and that type of stuff," said Craig, who went 1-for-4 with a double and one strikeout. "It's cool to be on this side of the clubhouse and get to know the guys who I played against last year in the World Series."
In his debut for the Red Sox on Friday night against the Yankees, Craig batted fifth and started in left field. He lined to center in his first at-bat.
Though he doesn't have the raw power of the other key new acquisition, Yoenis Cespedes, Craig has the type of bat that can help the Red Sox if he can recapture his form of 2010-13.
"I feel like I can contribute offense," said Craig. "That's what I've done my entire career and that's what I feel like I'm going to be here to do, is contribute somewhere in the lineup, wherever that is, and just do my thing, drive guys in and that's it. Just play the game."
Craig had right foot woes late last season and into the World Series, but he doesn't use that as an excuse for his slow start at the plate in 2014.
"I never like to use anything as an excuse," said Craig. "My offseason was cut short because we played in the World Series and it was long and in that regard, my offseason was a little bit shorter. I was healthy going into this year and I'm healthy now. That's something I put in the past and I feel good and I'm ready to go."
It won't take long for Craig to renew acquaintances with his former team. The Red Sox play in St. Louis from Tuesday through Thursday.
"Yeah, the timing of it is a little funky in that regard," said Craig. "It's going to be fun to go in there and play against my former teammates and go back to St. Louis. I'm just going to go and play my game and just play."
Ross exits with recurrence of plantar fasciitis
BOSTON -- Red Sox catcher David Ross exited Friday night's 4-3 win against the Yankees with a recurrence of plantar fasciitis, something he's been dealing with for the past 10 days.
Ross hit a two-out grounder to third base in the sixth inning, but he came up lame and hobbled to the dugout under his own power. Christian Vazquez took his place behind the plate the next half inning.
Ross limped while running to first on July 22 on the turf at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, but he remained in the game. After that contest, Ross said he would try to play through what he thought was plantar fasciitis.
"We'll evaluate him tomorrow. Looks like he's got some pain in that plantar fascia tendon," manager John Farrell said. "We'll take a look at him tomorrow to make any determination at that point."
Farrell didn't speculate about Ross missing time, but Triple-A Pawtucket catcher Dan Butler exited the PawSox's game prior to the ninth inning -- not too long after Ross exited. The 27-year-old Butler, signed as an undrafted free agent in 2009, would likely be first in line to replace Ross.
Ross, 37, is batting just .192 this season, but he has been valuable as a game manager behind the plate. Boston designated A.J. Pierzynski for assignment in early July and called up Vazquez in a corresponding move.
Vazquez has played in 13 games, rotating with Ross since his call to the Majors. The 23-year-old is hitting .250 with a .645 OPS this season.
Ross said last week that he dealt with plantar fasciitis in 2007. According to the Mayo Clinic, plantar fasciitis "involves pain and inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes."
Carp designated for assignment; Victorino on DL
BOSTON -- Following a flurry of transactions prior to Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Red Sox made a slew of internal moves prior to Friday night's series opener against the Yankees.
Boston designated Mike Carp for assignment, placed right fielder Shane Victorino on the 15-day disabled list, activated third baseman Will Middlebrooks from the DL and recalled starter Anthony Ranaudo, outfielder Mookie Betts, lefty Tommy Layne and righty Alex Wilson from Triple-A Pawtucket. Allen Craig and Yoenis Cespedes, both acquired Thursday, were added to the Major League roster, as well.
"This isn't a development setting right now," manager John Farrell said. "It is still about us going out and winning. ... We have gone through a number of changes because we have all contributed to the record up to date, but the priority is to win."
This is Victorino's third trip to the DL this year. He's missed 71 games this season because of a right hamstring strain. Victorino underwent an MRI on his sore lower back Friday.
"I think, until we get the information back, it's probably too early to tell," Farrell said of a timetable for Victorino's return. "The one thing we do have right now is we have some time on our side, so whatever is recommended for Vic to get back to full strength, if we use the remaining months in this calendar year to our advantage, we'll see if that makes sense."
Carp, meanwhile, said two weeks ago that he wanted more playing time. He missed a month with a fractured right foot and is batting just .198/.320/.279 in 86 at-bats this season. Last year in a similar role, he hit .296/.362/.523.
"In the role that he is very good at, in that platoon/bench role, he didn't seem to get on track as much as he did a year ago. That was frustrating for him," Farrell said. "He had a strong desire to get more consistent at-bats, which I can respect. With the additions we just got, those at-bats would have been even more limited. We felt like it was a chance to let him seek an opportunity better for him."
The roster changes over the past few days could mean less playing time for some, namely Daniel Nava. Farrell said Nava won't be in a strict platoon, and added that the team is "going to make sure Daniel gets on the field." The switch-hitter has an .815 career OPS against righties and a .587 mark against righties.
Brock Holt has missed just one game since he assumed the leadoff role on May 23. He's played every position this year except pitcher and catcher. Farrell said Holt will see time in center field against lefties, and against righties, the left-handed hitter will play shortstop and third base. Both Middlebrooks and shortstop Xander Bogaerts hit right-handed.
"We see his alignment being in those three positions," Farrell said.
Middlebrooks activated, seeks to turn season around
BOSTON -- This season hasn't gone how Will Middlebrooks imagined it would. Nothing seems to have gone that way for the Red Sox as a whole, either.
However, the 25-year-old said he's learned a lot from his ups and downs this year and is ready to contribute at the Major League level again after being activated from the disabled list Friday.
"Having gone through what I have, it's a little easier to slow things down," said Middlebrooks, who went 1-for-3 with a run scored. "I feel like I've seen both sides of it. I've seen the ups, I've definitely seen the downs and now we can just focus on staying somewhere in the middle and having a few more ups."
Middlebrooks is batting just .197/.305/.324 in 21 games this season because of two different DL stints. Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt have manned third base for most of the past two months with Stephen Drew rejoining the club and playing shortstop. Boston sent Drew to the Yankees for Kelly Johnson on Thursday.
General manager Ben Cherington said Thursday that he wanted to find a way to get Bogaerts back at shortstop, his natural position, and give Middlebrooks a chance to see significant playing time at third. Middlebrooks has 34 homers in 686 career at-bats, and he went deep three times in his last 11 games during his most recent rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket.
So Middlebrooks has a chance to give the Red Sox some much needed pop, but he said simply that he needs to be more consistent at the plate to thrive. He last played in the big leagues on May 16 and has been recovering from a broken right index finger.
"I think we are all looking forward to his return," manager John Farrell said. "He has been able to get regular at-bats and get his timing down. Hopefully some of the injury bug that has followed him is behind him. This is an opportunity for him to take advantage of his skills. The opportunity is in front of him right now."
The clubhouse Middlebrooks entered Friday looked a lot different than when he left in mid-May because of the flurry of moves over the last few days. It's different, but Middlebrooks said he liked the energy and got a good feeling from the new group.
Coincidentally, Middlebrooks and Allen Craig now have bordering lockers. In Game 3 of last year's World Series, umpires ruled that Middlebrooks tripped Craig while the then-Cardinal tried to score on an overthrow to third in the ninth inning, which gave St. Louis a 5-4 win.
"First thing I said to him was, 'I promise, our lockers are close, but I won't trip you,'" Middlebrooks said. "He thought it was funny. It was pretty cool to hear his side of things and what he felt and what he saw."
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.