Looking to add a base-running threat as they push toward the postseason, the Red Sox acquired outfielder Quintin Berry from the Royals Monday in exchange for righthanded reliever Clayton Mortensen.
Berry has spent the season with Triple A Toledo, where he’s .193 with a .309 on-base percentage, but those numbers belie his speed. A year ago with the Tigers, Berry went 21 for 21 on steal attempts.
The Sox made the move in time to ensure that Berry is eligible for the postseason roster, five days before the Sept. 1 cutoff.
“We felt like we needed to have more of a pinch runner at our disposal at some point in September and potentially beyond,” said manager John Farrell. “That’s not to say he wouldn’t get on the field in other ways, but more of a pure base stealer was the one area we felt we could upgrade.”
Mortensen was designated for assignment June 29 after going 1-2 with a 5.34 ERA in 24 games with the Sox this season. He made 14 appearances for Pawtucket, including six starts, going 3-0 with a 2.47 ERA.
The Red Sox made a very similar move in 2004, when they dealt lefthander Henri Stanley to the Dodgers at the trade deadline for Dave Roberts, a 32-year-old outfielder who at the time of the deal was hitting .256 with a .340 on-base percentage but had stolen 33 bases on 34 attempts.
His presence would prove invaluable. With the Sox trailing, 4-3, in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, Roberts pinch ran for Kevin Millar, stole second, and scored the tying run on a Bill Mueller single.
The Sox went on to win the game in 12 innings and the series in seven games before winning their first World Series since 1918.
Buchholz’s next step
Clay Buchholz will make his second rehab start Friday either with the Triple A Pawtucket or the Double A Portland.
In his first action since going on the disabled list June 18 (retroactive to June 9), Buchholz threw ⅔ of an inning Sunday for Single A Lowell.
“He came out of the outing the other day fine physically,” said Farrell. “So he’ll go through a normal five-day work cycle.”
While the hope was to have Buchholz throw between 40-50 pitches Sunday, he reached just 34. Farrell said the target on Friday will be “in that 55-pitch range.”
Leading up to his next outing, Buchholz will throw a bullpen session with hitters standing in.
“He feels like that’s the one thing, as opposed to just throwing a normal bullpen, just to see hitters stand in the box,” Farrell said. “But it wouldn’t be to the point of keeping him out or [not] being fresh enough to start on Friday. It would just be a modified bullpen with hitters standing in.”
Before landing on the DL, Buchholz was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA and 81 strikeouts.
With Pawtucket all but locked into a playoff spot and a handful of other Red Sox affiliates still battling, there’s a strong possibility that Buchholz could make a third rehab start with a team in playoff contention.
“There will be settings that we can take advantage of if needed,” Farrell said. “Still go back to it being almost three months since he’s been in a major league game and the need for a third minor league appearance, probably more realistic at this point.”
Dennis Eckersley will join Don Orsillo in the NESN broadcast booth for the Baltimore series.
The network announced that Jon Rish, formally of WEEI, would work with Orsillo starting Friday and at least through Monday.
The Sox have a three-game series against the White Sox Friday through Sunday, then start a series against the Tigers with a Monday matinee.
Regular analyst Jerry Remy has been off the air since Aug. 15 following the arrest of his son, Jared, who was charged with the death of his girlfriend, Jennifer Martel, this month.
After tearing through the minors this season, third baseman Garin Cecchini will be among the prospects the Red Sox will send to the Arizona Fall League in October. Cecchini, who will play for the Surprise Saguaros, hit .340 with five homers and 33 RBIs in 63 games with Single A Salem before being promoted in June to Portland, where he’s hit .294 with two home runs and 22 RBIs in 59 games. He will be joined in the Fall League by righthander Keith Couch, Noe Ramirez, and Pete Ruiz, plus first baseman Travis Shaw and infielder Derrik Gibson . . . As tempting as it is to have one of his top prospects, Xander Bogaerts, sitting in the dugout, Farrell said he will continue to go with shortstop Stephen Drew, even with Drew hitting .198 against lefties and the Orioles sending lefthander Wei-Yin Chen to the mound Tuesday night (Drew went 0 for 2). Drew was initially sluggish when he came off the disabled list in late July, but has five homers and 20 RBIs in his past 28 games. “I’m not going to turn away from Stephen Drew,” Farrell said. “He’s been a very good player for us and probably after he came back from the DL to now, he’s been one of our most consistent hitters. He’s been a very good shortstop for us.’’