Red Sox outfielder Allen Craig could begin a rehab assignment as early as Monday, after taking batting practice for the second straight day, fielding ground balls at first, and shagging fly balls in the outfield prior to the team’s 5-3, 10-inning loss to the Astros on Friday night.
Craig landed on the disabled list Aug. 5 (retroactive to Aug. 2), four at-bats into his Red Sox career, after spraining his left foot running to first.
“I feel good,” Craig said. “Today was the second day I got out there in the outfield and did some running and felt good. I shagged some fly balls, kind of just ramping up my activity level, just moving around and running. Took batting practice for the second day and just feeling pretty good.”
Manager John Farrell said he wanted to have Craig test things a little more over the weekend before sending him on a rehab assignment.
Craig has missed 12 games since coming to Boston in the trade-deadline deal that sent John Lackey to St. Louis, and he is itching to get back on the field.
“I’ve been antsy for a while now,” Craig said. “I want to get out there and play. That’s what I do. But little tweaks are a part of the game and you’ve just got to deal with it and get back out there.”
Catcher David Ross, who went on the disabled list Aug. 2 with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, is progressing as well, and may not need a rehab assignment.
Ross took swings for the fourth day in a row and caught a bullpen session for the second straight day.
“I might just jump back in,” Ross said. “We’re kind of playing it by ear. We’ll see if I need at-bats, but my BPs have felt good. We’re kind of on the fence about that.
“I’d rather jump back in. Me and John have talked about it and talking day to day about how I feel. My legs feel good — as long as I can get those under me catching and get plenty of swings, hopefully all that comes around and I can jump right in.”
The only thing truly limiting Ross is running. All he has done is light jogging on the treadmill.
“Just haven’t ran normal yet, but that’s a thing that’s going to be the last thing to come,” Ross said. “The more I do on it, the better it’s feeling and the looser it’s getting.”
The foot doesn’t bother him when he squats into his crouch to catch.
“I got a little bit of a cramping in my arch, but that’s not the same feeling as when I’m hurt,” he said. “Probably just from not being used, but that went away pretty fast.”
Pedroia leaves early
Dustin Pedroia fouled a ball off his right foot in his second at-bat and played through it up until the ninth inning, when he was replaced by Kelly Johnson.
Pedroia went 0 for 4, grounding out to shortstop in his last at-bat.
“In his last at-bat, going down the line, you could tell he was favoring it,” Farrell said.
Farrell said Pedroia will be examined on Saturday.
“He came out obviously sore,” Farrell said. “We’ll check him in the morning to see if he’s available [to play], but he’s a little bit sore after tonight.”
Cespedes back in
Farrell never doubted that Yoenis Cespedes would be in the lineup Friday night after fouling a first-pitch fastball off his left shin in his next-to-last at-bat and being pulled in the ninth inning Thursday.
But getting Cespedes to come out of the game was its own challenge.
“He doesn’t want to relent to coming out of games,” Farrell said. “You have to take it out of his hands. But he came in today ready to go.”
Cespedes was riding an eight-game hitting streak before going 0 for 5 Thursday. He ripped a two-run homer into the Monster seats in the fourth inning on Friday, his only hit in four at-bats.
Farrell said he can see Cespedes settling into not only the middle of the Sox lineup but also into the clubhouse.
“He seems to be gaining comfort by the day,” Farrell said. “Just in conversation, he’s a quiet guy that we’ve come to know so far, but the more questions you ask him, the more I think he’s comfortable with his teammates and the surroundings, and I think he’s gotten his feet on the ground in a good way here.”
As it was preparing for its Little League World Series opener Friday night, the Cumberland, R.I., team got a pep talk from Farrell. The manager made a phone call to the squad in Williamsport, Pa. “They were energetic, great questions, and really pumped up about playing tonight,” Farrell said . . . Shane Victorino is in the early stages of recovery after undergoing season-ending back surgery last week. He had a follow-up exam and all signs were positive, Farrell said. “He’s following a pretty standard protocol right now,” Farrell said. “That’s just gradual activity of walking. No real functional movements of any kind yet.”