OAKLAND, Calif. — Here’s the situation facing the Red Sox as they try to get their roster in order for tonight’s game against the A’s:
- Will Middlebrooks is dealing with tightness in his left hamstring that isn’t likely to keep him out of the lineup for the duration of a 15-day stint on the disabled list but probably will cause him to miss his second consecutive game. If Middlebrooks is unavailable again, Bobby Valentine (AP photo, right) will be forced to manage with only two bench players. That isn’t a particularly comfortable situation. Last night, for instance, Cody Ross twisted his ankle and was replaced by utilityman Brent Lillibridge, leaving only backup catcher Kelly Shoppach on the bench. Ross expects to play tonight, but the point is, a two-man bench isn’t tenable.
- Daisuke Matsuzaka revealed after last night’s debacle that he has been bothered by stiffness in the trapezius muscle on the right side of his neck, a problem that cropped up in spring training and again in May and required a cortisone injection both times. The Sox don’t necessarily need Matsuzaka to make another start before the All-Star break (they have been employing a six-man rotation and have a day-off Thursday), but with a day-night doubleheader Saturday against the Yankees at Fenway Park, they also could use the opportunity to place Matsuzaka on the disabled list and call up a healthy pitcher. One possibility: Right-hander Justin Germano, who has pitched well at Triple-A Pawtucket and can exercise a July 1 opt-out clause in his contract. But he would need to be added to the 40-man roster, which is filled to capacity and only will get more crowded later in the month once Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford are reinstated from the 60-day disabled list.
GM Ben Cherington has been discussing the Red Sox’ options over the past few days, and it’s a safe bet the club will make at least one roster move before tonight’s game. As Valentine would say, “Call it a hunch.”
While we await the decision, here’s the coverage in today’s Herald …
–Matsuzaka added an injury to the insult of being rocked by the A’s.
–Josh Reddick is motivated to make the Red Sox regret trading him, as John Tomase writes.
–At the season’s midpoint, the Sox are in good shape, as columnist Ron Borges writes.
–Within the notebook, find out what Middlebrooks and Sgt. Frank Drebin have in common.
–The bullpen is in good shape tonight, and for that, the Sox can thank Clayton Mortensen.
–Outfielder Ryan Sweeney is back in Oakland and closing in on returning to the Red Sox.
More later from Oakland Coliseum …
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