CLEVELAND — The Red Sox have four of the first 103 picks in the amateur draft, a three-day affair that gets started on Thursday night with the first two rounds.
In addition to their first-round selection, No. 26, the Red Sox picked up the 33d overall pick as compensation for the loss of free agent Jacoby Ellsbury.
“It’s the place we like to be,” director of amateur scouting Amiel Sawdaye said earlier this week on a conference call. “We like to make sure our pick begins with a two or three because that means our major league team is winning.”
The Sox hoped to pick up an additional supplemental first-round pick as compensation for shortstop Stephen Drew. But Drew, in large part because he was tied to the loss of a draft pick, went unsigned until the Sox brought him back last month.
Still, the four early picks represent an opportunity for the Red Sox to not only add talent but to perhaps use the added selection to take a chance on a player with a high ceiling whose draft stock has dropped because of injury or other issues.
Sawdaye downplayed that idea, saying the Red Sox would stick to their draft board.
“Obviously we look for the best player,” Sawdaye said. “There is sometimes a need to diversify a little bit depending what your system looks like.”
Large market teams such as the Red Sox once manipulated the draft by overpaying for players in later rounds who fell because of bonus demands. But spending limits now place a premium on making the correct choices in the early rounds.
The Red Sox bonus pool, which is based on where their selections fall, is $6.3 million. Sixteen teams have more.
“This draft is pretty deep,” Sawdaye said. “There’s not necessarily one area that sticks out. It’s one of the more balanced. It’s hard to say there’s one clear strength of the draft.”
Sawdaye is in his fifth year directing the draft. In 2010, his first season, the Red Sox selected Ball State infielder Kolbrin Vitek with the 20th overall pick. Vitek hit .258 over four minor league seasons before retiring.
But the Red Sox took righthander Brandon Workman later in that draft along with promising infielder Garin Cecchini and righthander Anthony Ranaudo.
Subsequent drafts produced starting center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., lefthander Henry Owens, fast-rising Mookie Betts, catcher Blake Swihart, righthander Matt Barnes and lefthander Brian Johnson.
The Sox had the sixth overall pick last season and took Indiana high school lefthander Trey Ball. He has a 7.03 earned run average in 12 professional starts.
Two righthanders with Massachusetts ties are candidates for the Sox in the early rounds. Vanderbilt junior Tyler Beede, an Auburn, Mass., native who played at Lawrence Academy, was the 21st overall pick of the 2011 draft by the Blue Jays and did not sign. He has had an uneven career with the Commodores and could fall to the Sox.
Former Xaverian High standout Austin DeCarr has seen his stock rise after a strong season at the Salisbury School in Connecticut. He has committed to Clemson.
Arlington, Mass., native Pat Connaughton, a junior righthander at Notre Dame, is a possibility for later in the draft. He also played basketball for the Fighting Irish.
“We have a history dating back to usually sophomore year of high school with these type of kids. We see their growth and development,” Sawdaye said.
General manager Ben Cherington said the Red Sox do not place any added emphasis on players from New England.
The second day of the draft starts at 1 p.m. Friday with selections through the 10th round. Saturday will be rounds 11-40.
Doubront to Portland
Lefthander Felix Doubront will start for Double A Portland on Thursday against Erie at Hadlock Field. He has been on the disabled list since May 21 with a shoulder strain.
Manager John Farrell said Doubront is scheduled for four innings. The Red Sox plan to have Doubront make a series of starts in the minors before they consider activating him.
Doubront is 2-4 with a 5.12 earned run average.
Clay Buchholz threw 35 pitches in the bullpen at Progressive Field on Wednesday.
“Continuing to repeat the delivery adjustments that we’ve outlined,” Farrell said. “He came away encouraged with the way he threw the baseball.”
Buchholz is scheduled for a simulated game in Detroit on Saturday. The Red Sox placed Buchholz on the disabled list last week with what was said to be a hyperextended left knee.
Buchholz has a 7.02 ERA.
Victorino at service
Shane Victorino, who is on the disabled list, was in Philadelphia to attend a memorial service for philanthropist Lewis Katz, one of seven people killed in the crash of a private plane at Hanscom Field on Saturday night.
Victorino grew close to the Katz family during his time with the Phillies. Katz supported many of the charities Victorino was involved with and the outfielder has described Katz as a second father.
“It was no-brainer for me to be here,” Victorino told reporters at Temple University.
Victorino is expected to rejoin the team in Detroit.
Farrell revealed that Victorino also is dealing with an injured left knee in addition to the strained right hamstring that landed him on the disabled list on May 24. The Red Sox are moving slowly with their right fielder, who started the season on the DL with the right hamstring strain.
New Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel was at Progressive Field before the game, which was delayed by rain, and waved to the crowd. Manziel has a marketing agreement with Fenway Sports Management . . . David Ortiz said he had not been contacted by MLB about Friday night’s fracas with the Rays . . . Tuesday snapped a string of five consecutive days with a roster move for the Sox.