DETROIT — Red Sox manager John Farrell often says he learns something new about his team every time it plays. Come Saturday, Farrell and the Sox are going to get an education on righthander Allen Webster.
The 23-year-old will be called up from Triple A Pawtucket to start against the Tigers that day. It will be his third major league start, the other two coming earlier this season.
Webster faced the Royals April 21 and the Twins May 8 at Fenway Park. This time, he will come up against the defending American League champions and a lineup featuring Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Victor Martinez.
The Red Sox had a choice between Webster and Rubby De La Rosa. But De La Rosa’s addition would have required some creative roster management.
De La Rosa was with the Red Sox June 14-15 and was optioned back to Pawtucket June 16. A player has to spend 10 days in the minors before he can be recalled unless he is replacing somebody on the disabled list.
“The overriding thing [was] knowing that there wasn’t any additional injuries to make a spot on the roster. That brings us to Webster,” Farrell said.
Webster earned the shot with his pitching, too. He is 5-1 with a 2.98 earned run average in 10 starts for Pawtucket. After some control issues over two starts in May, Webster has walked only seven in his last four starts and 21⅓ innings.
“Much better strike-throwing ability with the fastball of late,” Farrell said. “He’s worked deeper into games; he’s been a little bit more efficient. His stuff has been very consistent, similar to what we’ve seen here in two starts and in spring training.”
Webster pitched very well against the Royals, allowing two earned runs over six innings. But he lasted only 1⅔ innings against the Twins and was charged with six runs. Webster walked three and gave up eight hits in that game.
“He just had a hard time getting ahead in the count. He got predictable against a good fastball-hitting team,” Farrell said. “I think he learned an important lesson. It was a challenging experience that I’m sure served him well.”
Clay Buchholz is eligible to come off the disabled list and start Tuesday’s game against Colorado. Or he could be pushed back once again and sent to Pawtucket for a start.
Buchholz has not pitched since June 8 and has made only one start since June 2. Because of his inactivity, the Sox would want him to pitch a long bullpen session on Saturday before he is cleared for Tuesday.
If Buchholz is unable to do that, he would be sent on a minor league rehabilitation assignment. The righthander is out with a sore trapezius muscle on his right side.
Buchholz played catch out to 100 feet on Thursday and said he felt fine.
“The ideal scenario would be for him to him to get an extended bullpen with some ups and downs in it,” Farrell said. “At this point we’re still scheduling him on Tuesday. But we’ve got to get through some specific work the next couple of days.”
The plan would be for Buchholz to simulate three innings and throw 45 pitches. That, Farrell believes, would be enough to prepare him for Tuesday.
If Buchholz cannot handle that workload, he’ll head for the minors.
“Just to make sure that he’s reconditioned, just from a physical standpoint, we’d have to go through those steps,” Farrell said.
Lester tries again
Jon Lester, who starts Friday, is 0-4 with a 7.20 ERA in his last six starts. That’s a certified slump for the big lefty, although he did have better command of his fastball against Baltimore on Sunday in a 5-2 loss.
Lester struck out eight without a walk over five innings but did allow five runs.
“It’s going to come down to relentless execution, whether it’s a two-strike count or two outs in a given inning,” Farrell said.
Lester is 0-2 with a 4.78 ERA in five career starts against the Tigers.
Ross checked out
Dr. Michael Collins, a concussion specialist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, examined backup catcher David Ross. The Sox are waiting for results. Ross is on the seven-day concussion disabled list for the second time this season . . . Mike Carp, who slightly strained his right hamstring in Baltimore on Sunday, has been fully cleared to play and could return to the outfield in this series . . . David Ortiz is three doubles shy of 500 for his career. The only active players with 500 doubles are Todd Helton, Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols, and Alex Rodriguez . . . Second baseman Dustin Pedroia and shortstop Stephen Drew each have one error on the season.