August 2012

Mortensen is back; Padilla to the DL

Clayton Mortensen once again found his way back to the Red Sox clubhouse on Wednesday morning, as he was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket. The counter move is that Vicente Padilla has been placed on the disabled list with right arm soreness.

Padilla’s velocity was down about three or four miles per hour on Sunday, when he gave up two home runs.

Mortensen has pitched well every time the Red Sox have called him up.

In other news, David Ortiz did some baserunning drills today and took batting practice in the tunnel next to the dugout. Perhaps he will play at some point this weekend in Cleveland.

Franklin Morales is likely to start on Saturday against the Indians. Doubront and Buchholz are starting the first two games against the Tribe.

Atchison avoids surgery, eyes September return

While a visit to noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews is often a precursor to surgery, Red Sox right-hander Scott Atchison was delighted to hear the opposite during his visit to Pensacola, Fla.

Though the 36-year-old Atchison, as the Red Sox previous said, does have a ligament injury, Andrews recommended that surgery isn’t necessary at this point.

So instead, Atchison will spend the next couple of weeks rehabbing his elbow with the hope he can help the Red Sox down the stretch.

“I’m hoping at some point probably in September, maybe be in a game and pitch and hopefully help this team down the stretch,” said Atchison, who was one of Boston’s best pitchers in the first half of the season, going 2-1 with a 1.76 ERA in 37 games.

There seemed to be a near inevitability that Atchison would need surgery once Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine revealed last week that there was a tear in his UCL.

But the truth is, nearly every pitcher Atchison’s age — and with his amount of professional innings — has some degree of tear in the elbow and shoulder.

“You never want to have surgery. I didn’t want to rush into anything,” Atchison said. “Obviously you hear tear and it automatically makes people think that. This is —  unfortunately everybody probably has a little bit of something going on. You just don’t ever know. It was good to hear and I feel like, at this point in my career, I can get through this.”

If the conservative treatment of rehab doesn’t work, Atchison understands that there’s still a possibility he could need surgery.

“If I come back and I start throwing, and it all doesn’t allow me to do it or there’s too much pain, then we have to sit back down and re-assess everything,” Atchison said. “There’s always risk. Any time you pick up that ball out there, even if you’re healthy, there’s always a risk. It’s not necessarily a natural thing to throw overhand that hard. You know, it’s nothing I’m worried about. I’m just going to go forward with it and keep a positive mindset and hopefully I can get back before the end of the year.”

Was Atchison expecting the worst when he visited Andrews? “Kind of. I don’t know. We had discussed things. I had already kind of discussed a few things with our staff here and everything and they said there would be an outside chance he would say you could rest and get through this. So I tried to take those thoughts with me. I didn’t present any of that [negative thought]. I kind of listened to him first and let him present his side of it and what his case was and that was kind of where he went with it. Once he kind of went with it from there, I was ready to jump on board. I feel like there’s been multiple guys who have pitched with ligament injuries and have done very well. I’m going to go with that in my mind and go with the feeling in my body that I feel alright and it’s calmed down a ton since it happened. I don’t feel it anymore doing things so hopefully the rest will be enough.”

Henry, Cherington stand by Valentine

Red Sox owner John Henry and general manager Ben Cherington made it clear before Monday night’s game against the Rangers that Bobby Valentine isn’t going to be made a scapegoat for the team’s disappointing season to date.

“To blame Bobby Valentine for the Red Sox being .500 at this point in the season is simply wrong,” Henry wrote in an email to reporters. “A lot has been written about injuries to key players this year. The impact of that on the Sox this year should not be discounted.

“In baseball, managers often get too much credit and too much blame for what happens on the field. That seems to be a constant. There is often the thought in organizations, ‘This isn’t working so the manager needs to go.’ But an organization is much more than the field manager. We all share responsibility for the success and failure of the Boston Red Sox. We are not making a change in manager.”

The Boston Herald suggested on Monday that it was time for the Sox to make a change in the dugout. General manager Ben Cherington didn’t seem to agree.

“Bobby’s our manager, and we’re not looking at anyone else,” Cherington said in the dugout before Monday’s game. “He’s as committed to managing the team as he ever has been, and we’re committed to him and trying to do everything we can to support him and make this work.”

Valentine seemed unfazed by the situation prior to Monday’s game.

“I try not to be surprised. It comes with the territory,” Valentine said. “I just come to work and try to do the best that I can do. I can’t control [the] thought process, that’s for sure.”

Does Valentine feel he is managing to save his job?

“I have no idea, I manage for my job every day I think,” he said. “I try to give my best every day that I come out.”

Beckett appears set for Wednesday

Some good news on the Red Sox’ injury front. Josh Beckett appears over the back spasm that forced him off the mound in the third inning of his start on July 31 against the Tigers, and Bobby Valentine has penciled in the righty to pitch on Wednesday afternoon against the Tigers.

Beckett went out to right field for some flat-ground and long-toss work before Saturday’s game, and appeared to be throwing with ease, as he got out to 120 feet.

The plan is that he will test his back again with a bullpen session again on Monday, and will be slotted in for Wednesday as long as that goes well.

The side effect if Beckett can return is that it could give Felix Doubront an extra day of rest. Doubront will easily surpass a career-high in innings pitched this season, In fact, he’ll probably do it by his next start.