8/16/2014 6:40 P.M. ET
Late-bloomer Layne emerging as key piece of 'pen
Boston lefty delivering in pressure situations, leaving impression on Farrell
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
BOSTON -- With Andrew Miller now with the Orioles and Craig Breslow continuing to struggle, lefty Tommy Layne has gotten a chance to emerge from relative anonymity to become a key member of Red Sox manager John Farrell's bullpen.
In a big spot Friday night, Layne struck out two straight batters.
A non-roster invitee to Spring Training, Layne has a 1.23 ERA in nine outings for the Red Sox while limiting opponents to an .083 average.
"The biggest thing is he's thrown consistent strikes," said Farrell. "In a matchup like [Friday] night, even though there's a couple of men on base, he's responded, whether it's been at home, whether it's been on the road in some tight spots, so in short order, he's earned our trust and continues to execute. Our experience with him, which goes back to the start of Spring Training, has been very consistent and productive throughout."
Layne could be one of those late-bloomer types. Though he's 29, he pitched just 40 games in the Majors before this season.
"Well, it's been an opportunity that's been presented to him and he's made the most of it any time we have that matchup situation," Farrell said. "He's a guy that we personally have not been reluctant to go to and he continues to execute."
A team always needs a useful lefty reliever, and Layne might create an opportunity to be in Boston's plans for next season.
"Well with each passing outing, he puts another notch in it to say that he's answered the question or he's answered the opportunity, and he's making a strong case for himself as we look to see what's currently here and what we may come across being available in the offseason," said Farrell.
Sore right foot not enough to keep Pedroia out
BOSTON -- When Dustin Pedroia came out of Friday night's game in the ninth inning with soreness in his right foot, it certainly seemed possible he could miss a game or two.
But the second baseman has once again shown his desire to be on the field, even with the Red Sox all but out of the pennant race.
Pedroia was right back in the lineup Saturday night, batting second.
"He's still a little sore, but not to the point of keeping him out of the lineup," manager John Farrell said. "He did a lot of icing of it, even after he left the ballpark here [Friday] night. He's able to reduce and limit the swelling that was in there. The fluoriscan was negative that was taken right after the game [Friday] night ... so he's cleared to play."
Entering Saturday, Pedroia was hitting .355 since July 29.
• Allen Craig's rehab plan is set. The outfielder, who is coming off a sprained left foot, will play for Triple-A Pawtucket, starting Monday. At the most, he will probably play three days in the Minors. He could return to the Red Sox by the end of the four-game series against the Angels or the beginning of next weekend's three-game set vs. Seattle.
• Backup catcher David Ross (right plantar fasciitis) won't require a Minor League rehab assignment and will return to the Red Sox either Monday or Tuesday.
• Given where the Red Sox are in the pennant race, Farrell said he will do his best not to overuse Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara for the remainder of the season.
Farrell tried to stay away from Tazawa on Friday, but had no choice but to go to him when other relievers faltered. Koji Uehara pitched one inning in a game the Sox lost in 10 innings.
"Well, you begin to prioritize rest and health," Boston's skipper said. "That's not saying we're not looking to win every game, but I think you're prioritizing and not pushing a guy too far. Earlier in the summer, we might have pushed [Uehara] to throw two innings [Friday] night. But that wasn't the case [Friday] night. He had thrown six of the last nine days and we're not going to put him in that spot."