NEW YORK — The Red Sox dropped Felix Doubront out of their rotation, at least temporarily, and are pondering their options with Jake Peavy. Brandon Workman, watching from the side while he served a six-game suspension, didn’t ask where he stood.
“I figured somebody would tell me eventually,” the 25-year-old said. “I just waited.”
Not only is Workman still in the rotation, he will make his first career start against the Yankees Friday night.
“I’ve pitched against them in relief before, so it’s not that much of a big deal,” Workman said. “I’ll just be glad to be pitching again.”
Workman was ejected from the May 30 game against Tampa Bay after throwing a fastball behind the head of Evan Longoria in retaliation for Rays starter David Price hitting David Ortiz.
Major League Baseball suspended Workman for six games June 3, but he appealed. After a hearing in Boston June 13, it was decided that Workman would accept his suspension June 18.
Workman made three starts during that time and allowed five earned runs over 17⅔ innings. Manager John Farrell was impressed with how the righthander handled the situation.
“He did a great job of staying focused on the task at hand,” Farrell said. “Even in his last start, where there was some thought that a decision was coming down [from MLB], so that start was hanging in the balance somewhat, he remained focused and pitched a darn good ballgame.”
Workman was a starter in the minors and with the Red Sox last season before being shifted to the bullpen after the acquisition of Peavy at the trade deadline. He emerged as one of the team’s best late-inning options and appeared in seven postseason games.
Workman was a starter in spring training this season before pitching in relief three times in the first eight games. The Sox then sent him back to Triple A Pawtucket to get stretched back out as a starter before calling him up May 25.
“Very good composure all the way around,” Farrell said.
Workman has learned to deal with each assignment as it comes.
“Pitching is pitching — you have to do the same thing whatever role you’re in,” he said. “Ideally, I would like to start. But whatever they need me to do, I’ll do it.”
Bradley to switch hit?
Jackie Bradley Jr. hit lefthanded at Prince George (Va.) High in South Carolina and with the Red Sox. But he has a little secret.
“I’ve been hitting lefty since I was about 8,” he said. “But I’m a natural righty. I probably have more power righthanded. But when you’re younger, you don’t see a lot of lefthanded pitching. So I hit lefthanded.”
In recent weeks, Bradley has been experimenting with a righthanded swing behind the scenes in the batting cage before games. It’s nothing he’s ready to try in a game, but that day could come.
“I’m willing to show it,” Bradley said. “It can’t hurt me.”
Bradley has hit a little better against righthanders (.210 with a .607 OPS) than he has against lefthanders (.195 with a .585 OPS) in his brief career, so perhaps the idea could bear some fruit.
Holt a producer
Brock Holt has played every inning of all 38 games after being called up from Pawtucket May 17. Since being installed as the leadoff hitter May 23, Holt leads the majors with 47 hits and has played first base, third base, left field, center field, and right field.
He has reached base via hit, walk, or hit by pitch in 30 of the 34 games he has led off while hitting .325. Holt is hitting .323 on the season with a .363 on-base percentage.
Farrell said some teams have tried to pitch Holt inside, but he has been able to use the opposite field.
“He stays on pitches away, he handles lefties,” said Farrell. “The one thing he’s doing is forcing the opposition to not stay in one area. It’s a low-maintenance, compact swing.”
Using the whole field, Holt said, is something he has tried to do his entire career.
“That’s something I’ve always been able to do, go to left field,” he said. “It helps you to stay on pitches. Being able to turn on some pitches inside is big.”
Holt also doesn’t let the frequent changes in his position on the field affect him.
“Everyone tries to separate the two. You have to,” he said. “When you’re on defense, you think about the defense. When you’re on offense, you think about offense. It’s something I definitely try to do.”
They meet again
The Sox will face the Yankees for the first time since April 24 when they open a three-game series in Yankee Stadium Friday. The Sox are 2-4 against their rivals this season.
The third-place Yankees are five games ahead of the Red Sox in the American League East despite having a poorer run differential. The Yankees have been outscored by 34 runs in their 77 games and the Red Sox have been outscored by 31 runs over 79 games.
Yankees captain Derek Jeter, who turned 40 on Thursday, starts the series with 3,388 career hits. He is eighth all-time and creeping up on Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski, who had 3,419.
Jeter is hitting what for him is a modest .268 on the season, but is 18 of his last 56 (.321) with four extra-base hits and five RBIs over 14 games.
Former Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting .286 for the Yankees with a .752 OPS. He has four home runs in 287 at-bats.
Since hitting 32 home runs and driving in 105 runs in 2011, Ellsbury has 17 homers and 111 RBIs in the 283 games he has played since.
Wednesday’s game in Seattle was the 36th the Red Sox played in a span of 37 days. They went 16-20 in that stretch. The Sox took a red-eye charter flight from Seattle to New York, arriving at the team hotel early Thursday morning. The Sox have had nine days off this season, but only three at home, the last coming on May 19 . . . Shortstop Stephen Drew is hitless in his last 27 at-bats. He is 6 of 49 (.122) since being added to the roster June 2, with two extra-base hits, one RBI, and one run in 14 games . . . The left side of the infield is 3 for 56 on the road trip. Drew is 0 for 22, Xander Bogaerts 2 for 25, and Jonathan Herrera 1 for 9 . . . Ortiz arrives at Yankee Stadium with 997 extra-base hits. He would be the 36th player in history to reach 1,000 . . . First baseman/outfielder Mike Carp traveled with the team to New York, then went on to Boston for an exam of the broken bone in his right foot. If cleared, which he expects, Carp would start a rehabilitation assignment with Triple A Pawtucket Saturday.