Worth noting

• Morales, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained lower back, initially had his rehab assignment with Double-A Portland halted because of pectoral soreness, and general manager Ben Cherington said the Red Sox are handling Morales on a day to day basis.

• David Ortiz was in the lineup batting fourth as the designated hitter Thursday, but Farrell said the team will continue to take a cautious approach, sprinkling in frequent off-days. On Tuesday, the Red Sox will begin a series in Toronto on the turf field of Rogers Centre, and Farrell said that could be a situation where Ortiz gets two straight days off.

"Part of that will be on how David comes out of each and every game," Farrell said. "He's been tested on the basepaths right from the get-go, and he's responded very well."

• Will Middlebrooks has 26 strikeouts in 20 games, but Farrell said the issues with Middlebrooks' swing are not mechanical.

"We've got to get him back to swinging at strikes, first and foremost," Farrell said. "That will allow that swing to play. He's expanded the zone up. He's expanded the zone off the plate. When he swings at strikes, he puts a very consistent swing on the pitch."

• The Astros spent much of Thursday afternoon touring the confines of Fenway Park. They haven't been to Fenway since 2003, when the two teams met for the first time.

• The Red Sox have won all seven of their series-opening contests heading into Thursday night's game with the Astros. With 14 victories this month, the Sox have surpassed their April win total for the last three years (11 wins each).

Jason Mastrodonato is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jmastrodonato. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.