TORONTO — Xander Bogaerts will rejoin the Red Sox in Florida on Thursday after being cleared to travel and play following a concussion last Friday.
The rookie shortstop was hit in the side of the head by a pitch from Seattle’s Felix Hernandez and came out of the game two innings later. The Red Sox placed him on the seven-day concussion disabled list on Sunday and Bogaerts did not travel to Toronto.
“He passed everything and is cleared to rejoin us on Saturday,” manager John Farrell said on Wednesday.
Brock Holt has started the last five games at shortstop and played exceptionally well on defense. He had one of his best plays of the season in Wednesday’s 5-2 loss against Toronto when he barehanded a chopper in the fifth inning and threw out Munenori Kawasaki.
Bogaerts worked out at Fenway Park on Tuesday and Wednesday and will go through a full workout prior to the game on Friday at Tropicana Field before he is activated the next day.
The Red Sox are hoping Bogaerts can finish strong after what has been a disappointing season.
He is hitting .223 with a .627 OPS. Bogaerts is 7 of 66 (.106) this month with 20 strikeouts.
Rookie catcher Christian Vazquez was out of the lineup Wednesday night against the Blue Jays, with David Ross taking a turn behind the plate. But Vazquez was one of the first players to arrive at the park anyway and did his usual work.
Vazquez, who turned 24 last Thursday, spends a lot of his time talking to older players and getting their opinions about hitting, handling pitchers, and other facets of baseball.
“Love being here,” he said. “Every day is something to learn. It has been a great experience.”
Vazquez has hit only .225 in 32 games but does have 12 RBIs, 10 walks, and three sacrifices. He has thrown out nine of 20 base stealers and picked off three other runners. The three pickoffs are the most for a Red Sox catcher since Rich Gedman had five over 139 games in 1985.
“I’m trying to be aggressive with throwing but not just throwing for no reason,” Vazquez said. “That’s part of my game. But everything is a learning process.”
Vazquez’s biggest challenge has been getting to know an ever-changing pitching staff and implementing the game plan put together by pitching coaches Juan Nieves and Dana Levangie.
Farrell said Vazquez has handled that well and shown an ability to adjust during games.
“Regardless of age there’s a lot on the plate of a catcher in general,” Farrell said. “He’s done a very good job even with a pretty steep learning curve.”
Ranaudo lined up
Farrell would not say who the Red Sox will start against the Rays and Chris Archer on Friday night. But signs point to righthander Anthony Ranaudo.
Ranaudo last pitched for Triple A Pawtucket on Sunday and is not listed in their rotation for this weekend. Ranaudo also has had success in two starts for the Sox, going 2-0 with a 4.50 earned run average.
Ranaudo is 14-4 with a 2.61 ERA in 24 starts for the PawSox.
Help on the way
Roster expansion starts on Monday and the Sox, Farrell said, would initially add a few pitchers and a third catcher. With Pawtucket bound for the International League playoffs, other additions would come later.
Catcher Dan Butler, who started three games this month, is a candidate to join the team on Monday along with righthander Brandon Workman.
Farrell said some of the Pawtucket starters would get work as relievers next month. That group includes Ranaudo, Workman, and Steven Wright.
Ups and downs
The Red Sox supplemented their bullpen by recalling lefthander Edwin Escobar from Pawtucket and optioning Heath Hembree. The Sox used six relievers on Tuesday night, with Hembree going one inning and throwing 31 pitches.
Hembree has appeared in three games and allowed three runs on six hits over six innings.
Escobar, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning in Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss, and Hembree were acquired from the Giants on July 26 for Jake Peavy.
The 22-year-old Escobar was on the roster for the Aug. 10 game against the Los Angeles Angels but did not pitch. He was optioned before the next game.
Escobar is 0-2 with a 4.28 ERA in five starts for Pawtucket since the trade.
Big return for Ortiz
David Ortiz was 2 for 4 with an RBI after missing two games with a badly bruised right foot. He is 21 of his last 47 (.447) with 12 RBIs in 12 games . . . Yoenis Cespedes was out of the starting lineup to get a rest. He pinch hit in the ninth inning and struck out . . . The Sox had a five-game road win streak snapped . . . Farrell is 16-19 against Toronto, the team he left to join the Red Sox . . . Will Middlebrooks was 1 for 13 in the series with eight strikeouts . . . The Blue Jays called up righthander Chad Jenkins from Triple A Buffalo and designated righthander Sergio Santos for assignment. Santos has an 8.57 ERA in 26 appearances this season.