HOUSTON — Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield is looking forward to being in Minneapolis for the All-Star Game as part of the American League coaching staff under John Farrell. But the actual game, he said, will be a little nerve-racking.
Butterfield wants the AL to win and have home-field advantage in the World Series. But he also feels a sense of responsibility to help keep the players safe.
“The first thing I’m going to do is check on the health of everybody,” Butterfield said Saturday before the Red Sox were beaten, 3-2, by the Houston Astros. “If somebody shouldn’t be trying to score from second on a single, I don’t want to put them in a bad position.”
Butterfield has done some advance scouting on the National League outfielders and will look at more reports before the game. He was last an All-Star coach in 1995 as a member of the Yankees staff under Buck Showalter.
“It’s fun,” Butterfield said. “But the last thing I want is to see anybody get injured.”
Major League Baseball will provide a charter flight from Houston to Minneapolis after the game on Sunday for Farrell and the coaches along with All-Stars Jon Lester, Koji Uehara, and Jose Altuve of the Astros. Family members and officials from both teams also will be on the trip.
Farrell has been monitoring changes to his American League roster necessitated by injury or pitchers starting on Sunday. The decisions on replacements, he said, were made ahead of time in conjunction with MLB officials.
Rookie catcher Christian Vazquez was on the bench a day after he was 3 for 4 with two doubles and three RBIs as David Ross caught Jake Peavy.
For now, Farrell will divide playing time with the two catchers based on the starting pitcher. Ross will catch Peavy and Lester with Vazquez catching John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, and Rubby De La Rosa.
Vazquez, in just two games, has impressed Farrell and the coaching staff with his approach.
“He’s a very good-looking young catcher. Just the way he receives the ball,” Farrell said. “We know firsthand the arm strength that he has. I think more importantly pitchers feel, in the two times that he caught, guys on the mound know he cares and they feel that. I think that goes a long way toward how pitchers execute pitches that he calls.”
Victorino out again
Shane Victorino was scheduled to play for Double A Portland on Saturday but was scratched. The Red Sox said it was a schedule change and not a physical issue.
Now the latest plan is for Victorino to return to Single A Lowell. He could play for the Spinners on Sunday at Fenway Park in the annual “Futures at Fenway” game.
Victorino is hitless in 17 at-bats in seven minor league games since June 14. His rehabilitation assignment was stopped once then restarted 15 days later.
Victorino has been on the disabled list since May 24 with a strained right hamstring and has played only 21 games for the Red Sox.
Xander Bogaerts was back in the lineup a day after he was 0 for 4 and grounded into two double plays. He was 2 for 4 Saturday with the caveat that he singled in the second inning and was easily thrown out trying for second. Bogaerts is 5 of 35 in July and 11 of his last 104. He has not had a double since June 6.
The Sox have been extraordinarily patient with the 21-year-old rookie third baseman.
“There’s a lot of early work that is going on,” Farrell said. “Where it seemingly hasn’t gained traction yet is taking it into games. Not uncommon for guys to revert back to some of the old habits even though they’re working on some things currently. That’s what we see Xander going through right now.”
Farrell said Bogaerts has to trust what he’s doing with the coaches before the game.
“Part of that is slowing the game down mentally. There’s a competitive spirit inside of everyone that says you want to get it done right now. Sometimes that’s when the reverting back to the old habits take over and we’re working through that right now.”
Farrell said Bogaerts has maintained a good attitude even with his long slump.
“He’s a conscientious kid who really cares and wants to do well. With that, some of the ebb and flow of confidence based on the end result is going to be present, too,” the manager said. “We try to monitor that closely and be supportive and encouraging.”
Bogaerts has not been much of a contributor to the offense for weeks now. But the Red Sox believe he belongs in the majors.
“What’s right for our team long term is to get a productive Xander Bogaerts,” said Farrell, noting the Red Sox pinch hit for Bogaerts on Wednesday.
“We don’t lose sight that we still have confidence and know that he’s going to be an impact player and we’re working through some things to get there.”
Hitting coach Greg Colbrunn returned to the team during the last homestand after recovering from a brain hemorrhage. But he did not make the trip to Houston. Doctors want him to return to his duties gradually . . . The Astros named Brad Peacock to start the series finale. He is 3-5 with a 4.30 ERA over 17 games, 13 of them starts. Peacock has faced the Sox once in his career, allowing five runs on six hits over 3⅓ innings on April 27, 2013 at Fenway Park . . . David Ortiz’s home run in the fourth inning was the 451st of his career, one shy of matching Carl Yastrzemski for 36th place all time. Ortiz has 20 home runs for the 13th consecutive season, the longest active streak in the game . . . Jackie Bradley Jr. was 2 for 4 and is 15 of his last 45 (.333) . . . . The Sox lost for only the second time in their last 12 meetings with the Astros . . . Righthander Michael Kopech, the 33d overall pick of the draft, made his professional debut for the Sox in the Gulf Coast League on Saturday. He started and pitched one inning, giving up one hit and striking out two. Kopech was signed to a $1.5 million bonus.