HOUSTON — All of the televisions in the visitor’s clubhouse at Minute Maid Park Monday were tuned to coverage of Major League Baseball suspending 13 players for the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
As the Red Sox players went through their pregame routines, they gathered in small groups to watch.
“I think in our uniform, in our organization, we’re proud that none of the players have been linked to this,” manager John Farrell said.
But the Red Sox are certainly affected. Detroit’s Jhonny Peralta, who was hit with a 50-game ban, hit a walkoff home run to beat the Sox June 20.
Nelson Cruz of Texas, another admitted cheater, hit two home runs and drove in four runs in six games against the Sox.
The Sox also may have to contend with Alex Rodriguez, who is playing while he appeals a 211-game suspension. The Yankees start a three-game series at Fenway Park Aug. 16. In all, the Sox and Yankees have 10 more games this season.
“That stuff will play itself out. There’s not much we can do about it. It’s unfortunate,” Dustin Pedroia said. “I’m sure it upsets everybody. We’re working our tails off to play at this level and compete and have fun doing it. Some guys won’t do it that way.
“There are hundreds and hundreds of guys who do it the right way. Guys who do it right should be proud of themselves and the work they put in. They do it right.”
Said Jonny Gomes: “I couldn’t imagine being the pitcher knowing this guy is on or has been on steroids. That’s not an equal battle right there. I don’t know how that would really work out.”
One of the pitchers, Ryan Dempster, said it was not a concern.
“I’ll just try to get him out. It doesn’t bother me. That’s interesting to think about, though,” he said. “I just try and get out whoever is up there. There won’t be any extra incentive.”
Several of the players decried the idea of the MLB Players Association using its funds to defend Rodriguez via the appeals process.
“I understand the concept,” Shane Victorino said. “The union is there for all of us. But at the same time, you don’t like that they’re defending somebody like that.”
Most of the players welcomed the news of the suspensions, saying it’s a sign that baseball is serious about cleaning up the game.
“I don’t think it’s a sad day in baseball. I think you’re talking about less than one percent of Major League Baseball players,” Gomes said.
“It’s a real selfish act by those guys. With the suspensions coming down, it’s a good day for baseball.”
Said Dempster: “Guys want to clean this up, that’s why the rules are in place. But the reality is somebody is always going to break the rules. They have to live with those choices. Baseball reflects society in that way.
“People are saying it’s a sad day for baseball. It was a sad day when they walked in that clinic.”
For the first time since July 14, Clay Buchholz is expected to pitch off the mound Tuesday. He has been on the disabled list since June 9 with a shoulder injury.
Farrell said the extent of the session would be determined based on how Buchholz feels.
“He’s confident that coming through the aggressiveness in which he’s thrown the ball the last couple of days, that incorporating the mound is the next step,” Farrell said.
The Red Sox have said Buchholz would need multiple bullpen sessions before he advances to a simulated game. Then a minor league rehabilitation assignment would follow.
At best, Buchholz is three weeks away from returning to the major league rotation.
Workman on hand
Rookie righthander Brandon Workman is back on the roster and was available out of the bullpen. He was recalled from Triple A Pawtucket when outfielder Daniel Nava was placed on three-day paternity leave.
Nava was in California with his wife Rachel Monday morning for the birth of their first child, a daughter named Faith.
Nava is expected to rejoin the team in Kansas City on Thursday.
Workman was 1-1 with a 2.45 earned run average in three starts before he was optioned to the minors. With Jake Peavy now in the rotation, the Sox will use Workman in relief.
“He’s been impressive in the time that he’s been on the mound,” Farrell said. “Given where we are, we need those contributions coming out of the bullpen.”
Farrell said he would not shy away from using Workman in late-inning situations.
The Red Sox did not have lefthanded reliever Matt Thornton available. He came out of Sunday’s game with a strained oblique muscle on his left side.
“It’s a little better but still tender when I touch it. Been getting treatment all day,” Thornton said. “I’m hoping it’ll be a day or two.”
If Thornton does not show further improvement Tuesday, the Sox could activate lefthander Franklin Morales from the disabled list. Morales has appeared in three games for Pawtucket while on a rehabilitation assignment and is tentatively scheduled for a two-inning stint Tuesday.
“This is going to be a day-to-day thing [with Thornton] for the first couple of days then we’re going to have to assess where he’s at and what the projected time would be to return,” Farrell said.
Victorino was named the American League player of the week. He was 12 for 30 with 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 6 RBIs, and 7 runs over seven games . . . David Ross will be in Pittsburgh Thursday to get checked out by Dr. Michael Collins, the concussion specialist who had been treating him. If cleared, he will start a rehab assignment Friday or Saturday . . . Rookie lefthander Drake Britton estimated he had 40-50 friends and family at the game. He is from Tomball, Texas, about 45 minutes away from Minute Maid Park. Britton hit his first home run in high school at the park.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.