HOUSTON — The Red Sox have set their rotation for after the All-Star break and it seems designed with a trade in mind.
Jake Peavy is not lined up to pitch until July 22 in Toronto. Counting Sunday, that gives the Red Sox nine days to trade the 33-year-old righthander.
Brandon Workman, who was optioned to Triple A Pawtucket July 9, would be eligible to return by then.
Peavy would seem to have sufficient trade value despite being 1-8 with a 4.59 ERA thanks to his recent outings. Peavy has allowed six earned runs over 19 innings in his last three starts while striking out 19 and walking five.
Saturday, Peavy pitched into the eighth inning of a 3-2 loss against the Astros. He allowed three runs on six hits and struck out a season-high nine.
Peavy has $6 million remaining on his contract and any trade could require the Red Sox to pick up much of that.
The Red Sox will start Clay Buchholz on Friday against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park with Rubby De La Rosa and Jon Lester to follow. John Lackey would start at Toronto on July 21 with Peavy going the next day.
Manager John Farrell said the rotation was based on matchups and getting Lester and Lackey a little extra rest. But Peavy going last is certainly related to the distinct possibility of a trade.
It seems unlikely, but there is a chance Shane Victorino could play for the Red Sox next weekend.
Victorino played for Single A Lowell at Fenway Park on Sunday in the annual “Futures at Fenway” game. He was 0 for 2 with a walk and played five innings in right field.
“We’re hopeful that some point coming out of the break on the weekend he’ll be back to us. That’s still up to review,” Farrell said.
Victorino will not play during the All-Star break. He returned to his home in Las Vegas Sunday night and could play for Triple A Pawtucket on Thursday.
“Get another game in and reevaluate from there. But the goal is to be back as quick as we can, next weekend. Who knows, though?” Victorino said.
The right fielder has been on the disabled list since May 24 with a strained right hamstring. He started a rehabilitation assignment June 14 but played in only five games over 11 days before being shut down with a lower back strain that required an injection.
Victorino has played three games since. He is 0 for 19 with two walks in the eight games.
“The thing about at-bats, that’s the part that’s been for me that I still have to get adjusted to,” Victorino said. “But it’s all part of it. We’ll figure it out. I’m a professional hitter and I should figure it out sooner or later.”
Farrell said he is “well aware” Victorino hasn’t had a hit in the minors.
“We want a healthy player and we want a productive player as well,” the manager said. “This will be all part of the discussion when it’s time to activate him.”
Farrell last week said the plan was for Victorino to play in five full games before being activated. Now the Sox seem to want to rush him back.
“I’ve said a lot of things and it’s changed,” Farrell said. “We’re going to go on how he’s responded to [Sunday] in addition to the recent games played, what the exam is by the medical staff, and what the recommendation is.”
Victorino was supposed to play for Double A Portland Saturday but got caught in traffic on his way and turned back.
“It was supposed to be a 2-hour drive. It was going to turn into a 3½-3-plus hour drive. So we decided that being in the car that long and then trying to play in a game wasn’t probably a smart decision,” Farrell said.
Farrell would not reveal his pitching plans for the All-Star Game, saying an announcement on a starter would come Monday in Minneapolis.
Indians manager Terry Francona and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire will join Farrell in the dugout. Sox coaches Arnie Beyeler, Brian Butterfield, Greg Colbrunn, Dana La Vangie, Torey Lovullo, Juan Nieves, and Victor Rodriguez also will attend. Staff assistant Brian Abraham also was invited.
Colbrunn, recovering from a brain hemorrhage, was not with the Red Sox in Houston.
Will Middlebrooks has missed two games with Pawtucket because of a jammed left wrist. The third baseman, on the DL with a fractured right index finger, is eight games into a rehab assignment . . . Sunday’s 11-0 win vs. the Astros gave the Sox victories in 11 of the last 13 games against Houston . . . Dustin Pedroia, 2 for 4 Sunday, has hit safely in all 16 games he has played against the Astros at 39 of 64 (.469) . . . The Sox had 41 hits in the three-game series.