Red Sox scratch Wright; Buchholz to start Saturday
By Deesha Thosar
BOSTON -- Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright will miss his start against the Yankees on Thursday night with right shoulder inflammation, which he sustained while pinch-running for David Ortiz at Dodger Stadium on Sunday. The righty's MRI exam came back negative and showed no structural damage, and because both Wright and the Red Sox expect a speedy recovery, the 31-year-old Wright was not placed on the disabled list.
Red Sox manager John Farrell will start left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez in place of Wright on Thursday and tab ace David Price against the D-backs on Friday. Right-hander Clay Buchholz will get the nod on Saturday -- his first start since July 2.
Wright said he sees improvement in his shoulder, but it's still a little sore. The costly play came in the sixth inning on Sunday with Wright on second base. A lengthy lead forced Wright to dive back toward the bag, where he jammed his shoulder.
"I felt the pain right after I landed on second base," Wright said. "It felt weird. As the day went on and we flew back, it just kept getting worse. Finally, when we got back that morning, I said to put a reflector patch on it. [When] I came in the next day to get evaluated, it just felt different. It felt worse than inflammation, so that's why I said something. It just felt weird."
The last time Wright ran the bases was 2004, as a freshman at the University of Hawaii. Sunday was his first time pinch-running in his professional career.
Farrell said he is always uneasy about placing a starter in that situation. But given the context of a game at a National League park, he felt the move was necessary. Farrell also wanted to give Ortiz a chance to get off his feet, avoiding a potential injury for the slugger. Wright's absence from the rotation is harmful, as he has gone 13-5 with a 3.01 ERA, serving as one of Boston's most consistent starters this season.
"He's been a very good pitcher, there's no question," Farrell said. "So when you don't have him available to you, the numbers speak for themselves. He's been very good and coming off one of his better outings of his Major League career, [a shutout]."
Buchholz began the season as a starter before being demoted to the bullpen. He re-emerged and made three consecutive starts beginning in late June but was again knocked out of the rotation. He has since made seven relief appearances.
As a starter this season, Buchholz has a 6.31 ERA and has allowed 17 home runs. But he's performed relatively well out of the 'pen, recording a 3.32 ERA and limiting opponents to a .188 batting average while surrendering zero home runs.
"His [performance] is going to be dependent on the stress inside a given game, or inside the outing," Farrell said of Buchholz's upcoming start. "We feel comfortable that he's in that 65- to 75-pitch range. We said all along Clay's depth would be tested, and we're at that point right now."
• Outfielder Blake Swihart will undergo season-ending surgery in North Carolina on Monday after spraining his left ankle. Dr. Robert Anderson will perform the operation on Swihart, who is expected to be fully healthy by Spring Training.
• Outfielder Chris Young will begin his rehab assignment on Thursday as a designated hitter for Triple-A Pawtucket. He will play the outfield in Saturday's game at Buffalo.
"We're probably looking at a minimum of 20-25 at-bats for C.Y., and that's just as a marker," Farrell said. "That doesn't mean he'll be back that day, but hopefully that'll be enough at-bats where he starts to get more consistent."
Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.