The Red Sox have yet to play a game this season in which Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, and David Ortiz were all in the lineup.
That could change in a few days.
Ortiz, who received an injection in his strained right Achilles’ tendon Monday, is optimistic that he will come off the disabled list this weekend and play against the Indians. He has targeted Sunday as his return date after going through a pain-free workout Tuesday.
“Today was the first time I kind of run a little faster than what I’ve been doing,” Ortiz said. “There’s still a little sensation in there but it’s improving, it’s getting better.”
The injection, which contained a numbing agent, left Ortiz feeling good even after several rounds of batting practice and some running drills.
Ortiz, who last played July 16, said there are no plans for him to play any minor league rehab games.
He has been taking batting practice for about a week and feels comfortable at the plate.
“It’s not like I have plenty of time for [rehab],” he said. “When I feel better, I’m going to go at it and play. In my case, I know what it takes me to go back and perform.”
Given that a torn Achilles’ tendon would end his season, Ortiz is making sure he’s ready.
“It’s an injury that takes some time,” he said. “Of course I want to play. And I was expecting to be ready to go in two weeks.
“But most of the people that I’ve talked to . . . said, ‘Hey, that takes some time to heal up.’
“But the way I feel today, it’s healing fast, compared with what people normally told you about it.”
Did trade deadline rumors contribute to Josh Beckett having a sore back? He seems to think so.
The righthander came out of his start July 31 against Detroit because of a muscle spasm. On WAAF radio Tuesday morning, he explained what happened.
“We traveled in late from New York [two nights earlier], and I didn’t sleep particularly well,” said Beckett. “I had a lot of anxiety and stress things going on, exterior distractions. I don’t think a lot of it was great for my back. Then going out and pitching on that mound, it was very wet and my back just locked up on me.”
Beckett said it was “different” to hear his name in trade rumors.
“I still had to answer questions about it, so it was very confusing,” he said. “That’s where I think the anxiety comes in. It’s not so much stress, it’s more anxiety than anything because you’re not real sure how things are going.”
Beckett is scheduled to face the Rangers in the final game of the series Wednesday afternoon. He is 0-2 in two starts against Texas this season, giving up seven earned runs over 14 innings. He is 0-2 with a 6.66 ERA in four starts against Texas at Fenway Park.
A break for Cook
The Sox have not yet announced their rotation for the four-game series in Cleveland that starts Thursday. Lefthander Franklin Morales will start Saturday.
Aaron Cook will be skipped ahead to the series in Baltimore that starts next Tuesday.
That would mean he gets at least seven days off. If the Sox go forward with six starters, they likely would add a reliever to protect the bullpen from overwork.
Atchison: No surgery
Scott Atchison is proof that not every athlete who visits Dr. James Andrews lands on the operating table.
Andrews examined Atchison Monday in Pensacola, Fla., and recommended that he not have surgery on the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The hope is that additional rest and rehabilitation will allow Atchison to return to the bullpen next month.
“He felt like it was kind of a tear that’s probably been there for a while,” Atchison said. “I may have caused a little inflammation or irritated it a little bit so we just need to get it to calm down. That requires some rest. We’re devising a plan to attack.”
At 36, Atchison was not eager to have surgery and sit out at least a year. When Andrews presented him with a second option, he took it.
“He had a lot of positive things to say,” Atchison said. “I feel like I have a good shot to do this and get through the season. He said, ‘I think you can handle this.’ ”
Atchison had a 1.76 ERA in 37 appearances before he went on the disabled list.
Next step for Bailey
Andrew Bailey will join Triple A Pawtucket for Wednesday’s game against Syracuse. In the next stage in his rehabilitation assignment, Bailey is scheduled to pitch in back-to-back games. The righthander already has thrown three innings in three minor league games as part of his comeback from thumb surgery in April . . . Daisuke Matsuzaka is scheduled to pitch for Pawtucket Friday at Rochester. Valentine said the plan was for Matsuzaka to get to 90 pitches. Matsuzaka has thrown 122 pitches over 5⅓ innings for Pawtucket over two starts in his latest rehab stint. He has allowed only one earned run but given up nine hits and two walks. Matsuzaka is on the disabled list with a strained neck muscle . . . Lefthander Rich Hill, who has been on the disabled list since June 9 with an elbow strain, will report to the team complex in Fort Myers, Fla., Wednesday to throw batting practice. A few sessions of that should prepare him for a rehab assignment . . . Ryan Lavarnway turned 25 Tuesday . . . Four Bruins — Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille, Tuukka Rask, and Mike Mottau — took batting practice before the game. Rask knocked a few off the wall. Pretty impressive for a guy from Finland.