Elias in running to be Red Sox's No. 5 starter

Farrell yet to decide who will fill role next weekend

Elias in running to be Red Sox's No. 5 starter

MINNEAPOLIS -- A unique quirk in the Red Sox's schedule is allowing manager John Farrell to stick with a four-man rotation for two turns and hold off on a decision of who will eventually fill the role when the club needs a fifth starter.

Rick Porcello started the finale of a three-game series in Minnesota on Sunday -- a 7-4 loss in 10 innings -- and will be followed by David Price, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez as Boston returns home for a three-game series against Baltimore starting Tuesday. The Red Sox will decide on a fifth starter for either Friday or Saturday against the Mariners, Farrell said.

"We're still working through some things as far as when we get to Seattle," Farrell said of the home series after Baltimore. "Whether or not we'll insert a righty or lefty is to be determined, and then we still have the ability to insert whatever day that could be. Could we give another guy a day rest, an additional day of rest, we have that as some flexibility."

Farrell didn't say which pitchers are under consideration, but did say left-hander Roenis Elias is one possibility. The Red Sox could play matchups in the short term with the fifth starter as well, and performance will be a factor in committing to one pitcher.

"One of the things that we'll factor in is we would look to match up as best as possible," Farrell said. "On one series, is it a left-hander? The other series is it a right-hander? And we've got the flexibility to do that."

Boston had an off-day before the three-game series against the Twins and has another off-day Monday. Farrell said Price would remain on his regular schedule, pitching Tuesday and Sunday.

The fifth spot has been in flux this season, the American League's best offense somewhat hiding an inefficiency in the rotation. Rodriguez returned from the disabled list and has made three inconsistent starts. Clay Buchholz was sent to the bullpen with a 6.35 ERA in 10 starts.

Joe Kelly started the season in the rotation, but is in the Minors after posting an 8.46 ERA. Henry Owens and Sean O'Sullivan have also started.

Brian Hall is a contributor to MLB.com based in Minnesota. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.