8/6/2014 12:38 P.M. ET
Pitching prospect Johnson twirls a gem
By Ian Browne and Teddy Cahill / MLB.com
Though Henry Owens, Boston's top pitching prospect, was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket this week, Brian Johnson showed on Tuesday that Double-A Portland still has one of the best left-handers in the Eastern League.
Johnson, Boston's No. 12 prospect, held Bowie to three hits in eight scoreless innings. He had to settle for a no-decision after the Baysox tied the score against reliever Nick Ramirez in the ninth, though the Sea Dogs went on to win, 3-1, in 11 innings.
Bowie center fielder Mike Yastrzemski led off the game with a double, but Johnson didn't allow another baserunner until Michael Ohlman led off the sixth inning with a single. Yastrzemski added a leadoff single in the seventh, but that was all the hits Johnson surrendered.
Thanks to three double plays, Johnson faced the minimum 24 batters in a career-high eight innings. He struck out five and threw 98 pitches.
Johnson began the season at Class A Advanced Salem, though he spent just a month in the Carolina League before earning a promotion to Portland. Since joining the Sea Dogs, he has made 17 starts and is 9-2 with a 1.89 ERA. He has struck out 83 and walked 28 in 100 innings.
Between Salem and Portland, Johnson is 12-3 with a 2.29 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 125 2/3 innings. He ranks third in the Minor League in victories, trailing only Owens (15) and the Rockies' No. 20 prospect, Antonio Senzatela (13).
Victorino will return in spring after back surgery
ST. LOUIS -- Shane Victorino's thoroughly frustrating second season with the Red Sox ended on Tuesday, when he underwent surgery in Los Angeles to repair a bulging disc in his back.
The surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Watkins, a noted back specialist.
Victorino will be ready for Spring Training, according to a news release form the Red Sox.
"From what I understand, there were two discs that had a slight bulge that required the procedure, so that's the extent of the information I have," said manager John Farrell.
After being a key performer for the Red Sox en route to their World Series championship in 2013, Victorino has struggled with his health from the start of Spring Training.
The underlying back issue may have created many of the hamstring issues that limited Victorino to just 30 games.
Days after trade, Lackey reunited with Red Sox
ST. LOUIS -- How much things have changed in the span of 10 months. The last time the Red Sox and Cardinals played before Tuesday's series opener, John Lackey was the winning pitcher in clinching Game 6 of the World Series for Boston.
Now Lackey is with the Cardinals following the July 31 trade that sent him to St. Louis in exchange for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly.
Lackey, who won't pitch in this three-game series, greeted several of his former teammates before the game.
"It's great to see some friends, for sure," said Lackey. "Talked to a couple of them yesterday on the phone and stuff. Definitely some guys you'll miss, but it's kind of part of the deal."
Shortly after arriving in St. Louis, Lackey confirmed that he will pitch in 2015 at the player minimum that was negotiated into his original contract with Boston.
However, it remains unclear if Lackey would have done the same had he stayed with the Red Sox. Reports surfaced a few weeks back that he considered taking 2015 off rather than pitching at the minimum.
"I don't know about that, honestly. I didn't get that far ahead to think about it at that point," he said.
He understands that the Cardinals wouldn't have traded for him without knowing they could have him in 2015.
"They definitely wanted assurance, for sure, that I intended on playing next year," he said.
The sixth-year option at the player minimum was negotiated into Lackey's contract contingent on if he missed significant time with a pre-existing elbow injury. Lackey didn't pitch in 2012 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and that's when the '15 option vested.
Why would it be different pitching at that price for St. Louis than Boston?
"You guys are trying to stir stuff up. I didn't get that far ahead thinking about it," said Lackey.
But he will allow himself to think at least a little bit ahead to October.
"That's the only reason I'm still playing," he said. "I'm still playing to try to win a ring. That's the only reason I'm still here. To be able to be here and have that opportunity to make a playoff run or try to get into the playoffs is where I want to be."
How about the chance to pitch against former teammate and new Athletics ace Jon Lester in the World Series?
"Oh yeah, we talked every other day [since the trades], at least," said Lackey. "We've already talked a little trash. Hopefully I'll see him later on. Hopefully it works out."
Lackey certainly experienced the extremes of playing in Boston, going from being the target of boos to receiving a rousing ovation following his performance in Game 6 of the World Series.
"There were definitely some ups and downs, for sure, some fun and some not so fun, I guess," he said.
What will he remember most?
"I'll concentrate on last year and winning a championship and really enjoying that year and having fun with those guys."
Foot injury forces Craig to disabled list
ST. LOUIS -- After playing just one game for the Red Sox, Allen Craig has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left foot.
Craig sustained the injury while running to first in his debut with Boston on Friday.
The move is retroactive to Aug. 2, so Craig hopes he can play for the Red Sox again on Aug. 17.
"Honestly, it's just a little tweak. Obviously, they want to do their evaluations and make sure everything's good," said Craig. "I just got here. Obviously, I want to be out there, and they want me to be out there, but now's a good period to just evaluate things and move forward."
Craig dealt with serious foot woes late last season and into the World Series, so the Red Sox want to take every precaution.
"There's the likelihood [we'll have] a second opinion with Dr. [Robert] Anderson," said manager John Farrell. "The fact is, he reached for the bag the other night and turned his ankle, and we just want to be clear and get as much information to determine if there's no correlation between the previous injury and this one. So we're still in a fact-finding stage right now."
To replace Craig on the roster, the Red Sox purchased the contract of outfielder Corey Brown from Triple-A Pawtucket.
A non-roster invitee to Spring Training, Brown has hit .226 with 14 doubles, two triples, 16 home runs, 39 RBIs and 27 walks in 83 games for the PawSox.
In another roster swap, knuckleballer Steven Wright was sent back to Pawtucket after spending just one game on the roster. Righty Heath Hembree, acquired from the Giants in the trade for Jake Peavy, was recalled from Pawtucket.
"He's a guy that's got a sinker/slider," said Farrell. "Likes to compete. The two outings that he's made in Pawtucket for us were consistent with the reports coming over from the Giants. Just now getting to know him firsthand."
• A.J. Pierzynski renewed acquaintances with the Red Sox for the first time since the club released him last month. Pierzynski started behind the plate for the Cardinals on Tuesday.
"Things didn't work out in Boston," said Pierzynski. "To end up here was pretty cool. We have a long way to go, and hopefully, we can find a way to get to the postseason."
Was Pierzynski surprised at the reports that came out following his release in which unnamed sources criticized his work ethic?
"I'd expect nothing less," Pierzynski said. "I'm a Cardinal now, so whatever people in Boston say, they're going to say. There's nothing I can say to defend it or anything. All I can say is, nobody said anything to me while I was there, so whatever was said after I left, I saw a little bit of it, but I really didn't pay a lot of attention to it. I'm a Cardinal now. and if you guys want to talk about that, that's fine."
• With no designated hitter for the three games in St. Louis, David Ortiz got the start at first on Tuesday, with Mike Napoli getting a rest. Napoli will start on Wednesday.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.