Red Sox chairman Tom Werner was a baseball fan before he became an executive. And that side of him has enjoyed watching the team this season.
“Everybody is very pleased about the fact the team has really come together. It’s a fun team to watch,” Werner told the Globe before the Sox played the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.
“Last night the ballpark was sold out, today’s it’s sold out, tomorrow it’s sold out. There’s a real feeling that people are excited about the team, and that’s gratifying.
“That’s the feeling, that it’s gratifying. Last year was incredibly painful and this year is just the opposite.”
Werner and principal owner John Henry will be in California next weekend for the three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels.
“We enjoy watching this team play. It’s exciting. Everybody seems to be contributing. It’s exciting to see Jonny Gomes get that [game-winning] hit [Friday] night.
“I get a particular kick out of seeing players like Daniel Nava. I couldn’t be more pleased with David [Ortiz] and how he came back healthy. He’s running well, too. [Dustin] Pedroia is playing great. It’s all good.”
Now the Sox have to find a way to continue that level of play.
“They’ve been very competitive. I have no illusions about the second half. We’ve played beautifully the first half and we’re only 3½ games in front,” Werner said. “It’s a very tough division. We have to keep playing well.”
Shortstop Stephen Drew, who strained his right hamstring on Friday night, will not need a stint on the 15-day disabled list, according to the team medical staff.
“We don’t feel this will get to the midway point of the potential 15 days,” manager John Farrell said. “I say that today, but that’s the initial read on this hamstring situation.
“He felt slightly improved [Saturday] morning. There was less swelling. We did get him on a treadmill at least to walk. He’s responding favorably to treatment.”
Infielder Jonathan Diaz was called up from Triple A Pawtucket and started at third base. To make room for him on the 25- and 40-man rosters, righthanded reliever Clayton Mortensen was designated for assignment.
Mortensen was an effective reliever last season, but had a 5.34 earned run average in 24 appearances this year.
“It just came down to performance,” Farrell said.
Because there was no disabled list move, third baseman Will Middlebrooks was not eligible to return. The Sox also did not want to use 20-year-old infield prospect Xander Bogaerts for what may be just a few days.
The moves underscore the team’s need for a veteran backup infielder.
Brandon Snyder, a journeyman first baseman with limited experience at third base and the outfield, is on the bench along with the light-hitting Diaz, a career minor leaguer.
The Sox like the potential of versatile Triple A infielder Brock Holt. But he is on the disabled list with an oblique strain.
Diaz makes debut
Diaz had no reason to expect he’d be summoned to Fenway Park. The 28-year-old is a career .228 hitter in eight minor league seasons with little power. Diaz was hitting .242 for Pawtucket this season.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” he said. “You can imagine something you worked for your whole life and you actually get the opportunity to do it. It’s just really exciting.”
Diaz was given No. 76, last worn briefly by Jose Iglesias in 2011. But that was hardly a concern. Diaz was too busy hugging his new teammates and even embracing Farrell.
“It was such a whirlwind. I called my family and friends as soon as I could,” said Diaz, who went 0 for 3 and scored a run. “It’s so many emotions piled up in one. It’s excitement, overjoyed, a sense of accomplishment, finally, after so many years of working hard. It’s a hard feeling to describe.”
The first hitter of the game, Jose Reyes, grounded to third and Diaz threw him out. His major league career, as long as it might last, was underway.
Buchholz back at it
After two days off to rest his sore right shoulder, Clay Buchholz played catch before the game Saturday. The Sox are hopeful it’s the start of a program that will get him back on the mound within a few weeks.
Buchholz has not pitched in a game since June 8 because of a sore trapezius muscle and inflammation in the bursa sac.
Rookie Allen Webster will stay in the rotation.
Second pick signs
The Red Sox finally announced the signing of their second-round draft pick, junior college righthander Teddy Stankiewicz. Baseball America reported June 10 that Stankiewicz agreed to a $1.1 million bonus. The player reported to Rookie League Lowell four days later and started working out . . . The Red Sox had scouts in Tijuana Friday to watch righthander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, a Cuban defector who will soon be a free agent. Because Gonzalez is 26, his contract will not come under the international spending limits. There is speculation that Gonzalez will receive at least $30 million . . . Jacoby Ellsbury was 2 for 5, running his hit streak to 10 games . . . The loss was only the second in 10 games at Fenway for the Sox . . . Dustin Pedroia is 16 of his last 34 with four extra-base hits. He’s up to .325 . . . Jarrod Saltalamacchia has started 12 of the last 14 games behind the plate . . . Gomes has become a supporter of Framingham light welterweight boxer Danny O’Connor, who was scheduled to fight Hector Munoz at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut on Saturday night. Gomes was wearing an O’Connor Boxing T-shirt before the game.