Preliminary exams didn’t make it any clearer whether the neck stiffness that forced Clay Buchholz to leave his start Saturday night against the Angels would cause him to possibly miss his next scheduled start.
With the Red Sox heading to Tampa for a three-game set, manager John Farrell categorized Buchholz as “day to day.”
“Whether his next start is in question, we’ll probably have a better read on that once we get through the Tampa series,” Farrell said.
Initially, Farrell said the neck stiffness wasn’t related to the irritation in the AC joint that forced Buchholz to miss one start at the end of May. But Buchholz said Saturday the pain was close to the trapezius that trainers had been working on.
“He’s still a little bit sore,” Farrell said. “The exam is still musculature. It’s close to that AC joint so I can’t say that they’re not interrelated at some point, but it was more the result of that awkward throw [Saturday] night that started to trigger it and the cramping that followed.”
After being activated for the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader and playing center field, Shane Victorino sat out Sunday in what Farrell said was a scheduled day off.
Victorino’s availability for the Rays series is up in the air. Farrell said the staff will have to consider how much of an impact the turf at Tropicana Field could have on Victorino, who was on the disabled list with a hamstring strain.
“We know that we need to give him time off between a stretch of games,” Farrell said. “Whether that’s every other day, every third day — that’s what we’ll work on.”
Koji Uehara had an atypical day, giving up two runs over two-thirds of an inning. Uehara started the eighth with a quick out, but then hit Howie Kendrick and walked a pair. After J.B. Shuck’s two-run single to center, Uehara was out of the game.
Farrell said the runs didn’t necessarily reflect how Uehara pitched. Several of his pitches nicked the corners, but plate umpire Marty Foster didn’t call them strikes.
“He didn’t seem much different,” Farrell said of the righthander. “He didn’t get some pitches called that maybe otherwise have been [strikes]. They did a good job laying off some borderline pitches, they ran the pitch count up, they put men on base and the base hit up the middle gives him the two runs. I wouldn’t look too far into today’s performance as anything wrong.”
Uehara had given up only one run in his previous 11 appearances, spanning 11 innings.
In the fifth game of his rehab assignment with Triple A Pawtucket, third baseman Will Middlebrooks went 1 for 5 with a walk in a 5-3 win over Syracuse. He left eight runners on base and is 5 for 17 with the PawSox.
“When we outlined this, it wasn’t a matter of his batting average to get him back here,” Farrell said. “It was a matter of getting him back in the flow of the game and getting him some momentum.”
Middlebrooks is eligible to be activated.
Mike Napoli slipped deeper into his funk by going 0 for 4 with four strikeouts, though he did score following a seventh-inning walk. Napoli is 3 for his last 21 with nine strikeouts and zero extra-base hits . . . Jacoby Ellsbury’s fourth-inning triple gave him six for the season, his most since legging out 10 in 2009. His stolen base in the third inning made it 13 straight attempts without being caught, his longest run since swiping 18 in a row in 2009 . . . With his third-inning homer, David Ortiz moved into a tie with Darrell Evans for 48th on baseball’s all-time list with 414 . . . Jose Iglesias extended his career-high hit streak to 13 games, going 2 for 4 with a double. He’s hitting .435 (20 for 46) during the run. It’s the second-longest hit streak by a rookie this season, behind the 16-game run by Miami’s Marcell Ozuna . . . Lefthander Franklin Morales, who allowed four runs in two-thirds of an inning of relief Saturday, is a candidate to start Wednesday’s game at Tampa Bay. The Sox are trying to keep their starters on regular rest following Saturday’s doubleheader.
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.