ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Red Sox would have preferred to give first baseman Mike Napoli a few more days off before deciding whether to place him on the disabled list. But Saturday’s 15-inning game against the Rays changed those plans.
To supplement their bullpen, the decision was made to keep righthanded reliever Alex Wilson on the roster. Napoli was placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to Saturday) to create roster space for Brandon Workman to be added to the roster and start Sunday.
Napoli dislocated his left ring finger April 15 in Chicago. He has hit .238 since the injury with two home runs. Napoli also has a sore left hamstring and right calf.
“The fact is we needed to keep the added bullpen arm. Mike is still a few days away,” manager John Farrell said before an 8-5 loss against the Tampa Bay Rays. “Giving him some ample time with the finger. Hopefully this gives him that extended period of time to get past this in its entirety. Or at least to try to get further ahead of it.”
Rarely used backup infielder Jonathan Herrera could be optioned. But with Xander Bogaerts coming out of Saturday’s game with a hamstring cramp, the Sox did not want to cut into their infield depth.
The Sox originally planned to give Napoli one more day off then see if he could play against the Atlanta Braves Monday.
“I was hoping I could play in Atlanta. But I understand it,” Napoli said. “The time off should help. I don’t like making excuses but it definitely wasn’t comfortable. It wasn’t a comfortable at-bat for me.”
Mike Carp started at first base Sunday and was 0 for 3. Farrell envisions him getting most of the starts in Napoli’s absence. Wilson, who pitched a scoreless inning, will remain on the roster until the bullpen is ready to go back to its usual seven-man alignment.
Farrell said the Red Sox would look to add a righthanded hitter from the minors once they drop the extra pitcher.
Perils of Papi
David Ortiz was back in the lineup after being limited to a pinch-hitting appearance on Saturday. He was 0 for 4 and is 4 of his last 34 with no extra-base hits or RBIs. Ortiz has not driven in a run or had an extra-base hit since May 14, the last time the Red Sox won a game.
The Red Sox play their next two games in Atlanta without a designated hitter. Farrell said Ortiz would start one of the games at first base. Ortiz last played first base in Game 5 of the World Series Oct. 28. He did not play the position in spring training.
Farrell met with Andrew Miller before the game. The lefty reliever has allowed four earned runs on seven hits and three walks in his last six games and taken four losses.
Miller was on the field for walkoff losses in three of those games.
“Just wanted to give him my view from the dugout and seeing the physical stuff was still consistent with what it had been through a real strong stretch,” Farrell said. “And yet the confidence in him remains because he’s in those key moments late in the game.”
Miller was downcast on Saturday and Farrell said rebuilding some confidence was the goal of their meeting.
Stephen Drew was 1 for 3 with a double and scored a run for Single A Greenville. Drew played five innings in the field and was charged with an error.
Drew, who is 2 for 5 in his minor league assignment, is scheduled to DH for Greenville Monday. Farrell said the Sox have not determined where Drew will go from there. Double A Portland starts a three-game homestand Tuesday. Triple A Pawtucket also is home.
Drew could join the Red Sox June 2 after completing the 10-day stint required when he was optioned. The Sox signed the free agent shortstop last week.
Clay Buchholz drags a 6.32 ERA into Monday afternoon’s start against the Braves. He has allowed 29 hits in his last 15 innings. Buchholz has worked on some mechanical changes during bullpen sessions designed to improve his location. “It was good. There was the ability to address some of the things that we revealed through video. Some of the drifting into some habits or flaws that emerged,” Farrell said . . . Steve Lyons will work with Don Orsillo on NESN during the two games in Atlanta. Jerry Remy is off . . . Jonny Gomes’s five career pinch-hit homers as a Red Sox are tied with Joe Cronin for second most in franchise history behind Ted Williams, who had seven. Gomes has eight pinch-hit home runs in his career . . . Jackie Bradley Jr., pinch-hit for in the last three games, is 3 of his last 28 and down to .197 over 142 at-bats . . . The Sox are 1-5 against the Rays after going 12-7 against them last season . . . The Sox are 10-22 against righthanded starters . . . Shane Victorino, who went on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring Saturday, will return to Boston for treatment rather than continue with the team to Atlanta.