ST. PETERSBURG -- To make room on the active roster for Saturday starter Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox optioned infielder Mauro Gomez to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Gomez started Friday night at first base for the injured Adrian Gonzalez and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and a double-play groundout. With Gonzalez still sitting and Gomez gone, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine opted to start Brent Lillibridge at first base Saturday night against the Rays, his fourth start with Boston and his first in the infield.
Valentine said he feels comfortable with Lillibridge at first base against Rays left-hander David Price, but the skipper could start David Ortiz there in Sunday's series finale against Tampa Bay right-hander James Shields. The manager hadn't approached Ortiz with that idea but said he'll play there if he wants to. Valentine also mentioned Nick Punto and Jarrod Saltalamacchia as possibilities at first base in Gonzalez's absence.
Gomez, 27, had been recalled for his second stint with the Red Sox on July 3. He has played in eight games with Boston this season, batting .308 with three doubles, three RBIs, two runs and a walk. He was named the starting designated hitter for the 2012 International League All-Star team and entered Saturday batting .311 for the Pawtucket Red Sox.