BOSTON -- Given the way things have been going for the Red Sox, they can use all the reinforcements they can get. Catcher Ryan Hanigan and right fielder Shane Victorino are both close to being cleared to go on Minor League rehab assignments.
Hanigan hasn't played since fracturing his right hand on May 1.
"Continues to take BP. We're hopeful that when we come off this road trip, he'd be able to go out on a rehab assignment," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.
The loss of Hanigan has been tough for a team that also lost projected starter Christian Vazquez to Tommy John surgery in Spring Training.
"He's been missed a lot, and that's not to say that we've been disappointed in the work of Blake [Swihart] or Sandy [Leon]. His experience behind the plate and game-calling, you take a step back just in volume of games caught and the experience back there," said Farrell. "He was a guy in that spot in the order that was putting up competitive at-bats, and setting aside the batting average, there were a lot of good at-bats that he put up for us. His leadership of our staff in game, that's been missed. We're looking forward to getting him back when he's ready to get on the field."
Victorino has been missed just as much, if not more. His energy and ability to impact a game in multiple ways is exactly what the Red Sox need.
The right fielder was starting to get hot at the plate before suffering a left calf strain that has sidelined him since May 24.
"Continues to ramp up," Farrell said. "When we get through Atlanta, hopefully we've got the possibility of getting him out [on rehab]. I'm not able to commit to a start day for an assignment, but that's nearing."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.