John Lackey is unlikely to make his scheduled start Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays because of a strained right biceps, Red Sox manager John Farrell said Monday.
But Lackey remains on the active roster. As they often do, the Sox have tabled their decision on an injured player to see whether his condition improves.
Lackey left Saturday’s game against Toronto in the fifth inning with his arm hanging limply by his side. Subsequent tests, including an MRI, did not show any tear in the muscle, according to Farrell.
“He’s improved,” Farrell said. “He’s still on a 48-to-72-hour recovery period. There’s no roster move to announce of any kind right now. The most encouraging thing though is following the MRI, it showed some inflammation in the bicep. That’s been it.”
Because of the day off Tuesday, the Sox would not need a fifth starter until Sunday.
Farrell said that before Lackey gets back on the mound, he would have to go through “a good test of some sort.” That could be an extended bullpen session or a simulated game.
There is a loose deadline of sorts for the Sox to make a decision whether to place Lackey on the disabled list.
“Once we get all the information that will be available to us, that’ll be factored in,” Farrell said. “If it’s recommended that he’s got more days of [not throwing], then the amount of time needed to get back up to speed . . . we start getting into that nine, 10 days then we have to consider all things. But until we get to that point we’re kind of staying as we are.”
Lackey was examined again Monday. But he twice deferred comment, saying he would speak to reporters Wednesday.
If Lackey cannot start Sunday, Farrell indicated that Alfredo Aceves would be the choice. Aceves has appeared in two games this season, allowing five earned runs over 4⅓ innings.
Lackey’s injury underscores the team’s lack of rotation depth. Four of the starters at Triple A Pawtucket are prospects who are not ready for the majors and the fifth is Terry Doyle, who was signed to a minor league contract after spending five seasons in the White Sox organization.
The Sox are one of the teams interested in righthander Aaron Harang, who turns 35 in a month. The Rockies acquired Harang from the Dodgers Saturday and promptly designated him for assignment with the intent of trading him.
Harang was 10-10 with a 3.61 earned run average in 31 starts for Los Angeles last season.
Move in offing?
Jose Iglesias was 0 for 3 in a 3-1 victory against the Orioles, dropping his batting average to .450 after six games. The 23-year-old shortstop has given the Sox much more than expected filling in for the injured Stephen Drew.
But Drew, who has recovered from a concussion suffered in spring training, is expected to rejoin the team Wednesday. He played his fourth injury rehabilitation game for Double A Portland Monday and went 1 for 3 with a homer and a walk.
Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington have said that Drew, who was signed to a one-year, $9.5 million deal, would not lose his job. That could mean Iglesias is headed for Triple A Pawtucket.
“If it turns out that that’s the move, then much like any player who has gotten off to a good start, it would be hard to swallow it,” Farrell said.
“But there has to be an understanding of where he’s at, and personal and organizational goals aligning. And sometimes that isn’t always at the same time.”
Iglesias said he isn’t letting the situation worry him.
“It’s not something I can control,” he said. “All I can do is come here and play and if I go to the minors, I will play there. I’m glad we’re winning games.”
Papi on prowl
David Ortiz was 2 for 4 with a double in an extended spring training intrasquad game in Fort Myers, Fla. The designated hitter, who is coming back from an injured right Achilles’ tendon, is expected to play two more games in Florida before joining Pawtucket for a rehab assignment Thursday . . . Lefthander Franklin Morales (lower back) is scheduled for an inning in an extended spring training game Tuesday. He will pitch in three extended games before starting a rehab assignment . . . Lefthander Craig Breslow (shoulder) is scheduled for a one-inning stint in extended spring training this weekend.
Cheers all around
Farrell received a big cheer from the crowd when introduced, a stark contrast to his weekend visit to Toronto. Rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. also received a loud ovation. Even Lackey, once reviled and now reformed, received warm applause . . . The Sox set a team record with seven consecutive errorless games to open the season . . . Major League Baseball reversed a scoring call in the April 3 game against the Yankees. Shane Victorino was credited with a double in the ninth inning instead of an error being charged to shortstop Eduardo Nunez . . . Victorino has reached base safely in all seven games . . . The Blue Jays claimed first baseman/designated hitter Mauro Gomez off waivers from the Sox. Gomez was designated for assignment March 31 to make room for Bradley on the 40-man roster. The Blue Jays optioned Gomez to Triple A Buffalo . . . Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, was introduced to the crowd after the sixth inning. The 83-year-old stood up and proudly showed off the red shirt he was wearing . . . Farrell had a chance to talk to former Sox infielder Rico Petrocelli before the game. “A cool moment,” he said. He also made sure to soak in the ambience of the home opener at Fenway. “You look at the numbers that are retired on the board and some of those people are standing there in person,” he said. “It brings to light the magnitude of the organization. That really stood out to me.”Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.