ANAHEIM, Calif. — Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew was on the field at Angel Stadium early Friday afternoon, going through a series of running and agility drills under the supervision of two trainers.
It was a test to determine whether Drew’s strained right hamstring had healed enough for him to play sometime this weekend.
There was improvement, but not enough and Drew was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 29.
Drew could return July 14, the final day of the road trip and the last game before the All-Star break. Righthanded reliever Jose De La Torre was recalled from Triple A Pawtucket.
“[Drew’s] making progress. But yet where we are with the day-to-day status and going a man short in the bullpen, we felt like it was time to get back to that 12-man staff,” manager John Farrell said.
Drew missed five games before the Sox took him off the roster. It came down to how he was able to run Friday.
“It’s that last 10 percent of his explosiveness where he doesn’t have that confidence,” Farrell said. “To ask a player to play under control defensively where his instincts will naturally kick in, that’s kind of hard to do right now.
“We had hoped that he’d be ready to go and be available [Friday] in an emergency and be able to start [Saturday]. With that not being the case, felt like it’s best to give him the time and get over this 100 percent.”
It seems unlikely the Sox would activate Drew for one game in advance of the four-day All-Star break. But Farrell said that was a possibility.
“We’ll see how it goes,” the manager said. “If he gets through this next week with the same type of progress that he’s made, we’ll re-evaluate at that time.”
Jose Iglesias has been playing shortstop in Drew’s absence with Brandon Snyder starting at third base.
The Red Sox are keeping rookie Jonathan Diaz on the roster as a backup shortstop.
“We need that secondary shortstop. That’s where Diaz’s ability to play shortstop is there,” Farrell said. “We would be going a little bit naked in the event that Jose unfortunately went down. It’s more about positional fit.”
This is De La Torre’s third stint with the Red Sox this season. He has appeared in three games, allowing three runs over 5⅓ innings. The 27-year-old has been dominant with Pawtucket, allowing 20 hits over 38⅓ innings and striking out 45.
“You look at the composition of our bullpen and looking for a righthander to have a breaking ball that will run away from a righthanded [batter], to have a little bit more uneasy feeling that he can create,” Farrell said. “He adds to the mix that we have out there.”
Ortiz pitches in
David Ortiz was out of the starting lineup for the second time in five games. But he pinch hit in the eighth inning and delivered a two-run homer.
“I’m fine. They’re just giving me a break,” Ortiz said. “Long flight out here and we have a long [road] trip.”
With the Red Sox expected to face six righthanded starting pitchers beginning Saturday, Farrell wanted to give his designated hitter a day off. Mike Napoli was the DH and Daniel Nava started at first.
“It was more of a down day that we had previously discussed and planned for,” Farrell said.
A plan for Buchholz
Clay Buchholz, who has not pitched since June 8 because of a sore shoulder, could make a minor league rehab start before the All-Star break.
Buchholz is scheduled to throw from 105 feet Saturday and throw pitches from flat ground. He could throw in the bullpen in Seattle on Monday.
Barring a setback, Buchholz could make a minor league start July 14. Because he has been out so long, Buchholz would need at least two starts before being activated off the disabled list.
“There’s some reconditioning that has to go on here,” Farrell said. “You can’t shortcut that. What we don’t want to do is put he or us in a position when he comes back to us to be limited by a certain pitch count that has the potential of overtaxing the bullpen.”
Major League Baseball will announce the All-Star rosters early Saturday evening. Ortiz had a commanding lead in the fan vote for designated hitter when the last totals were announced. Dustin Pedroia is likely to make the team as a reserve.
It would be the ninth All-Star selection for Ortiz and his seventh as a starter. Ortiz entered Friday hitting .319 with a 1.008 OPS. His 17 home runs and 61 RBIs lead the team.
After missing the final 2½ months of last season with a strained Achilles’ tendon, Ortiz is again performing at a high level.
“It’s satisfying given everything that happened,” Ortiz said. “If I make it, it’ll be fun. I try to go there and enjoy myself.”
Pedroia is a three-time All-Star who last made the team in 2010. He entered Friday night hitting .325 with an .855 OPS.
Statistically, Pedroia is having a comparable season to Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, who entered the weekend hitting .295 with a .905 OPS but has 20 homers to five for Pedroia. Cano had a wide lead in the voting.
Nava and righthanded reliever Koji Uehara merit consideration for the team. Buchholz, who is 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA, was in line to potentially start the game before he was injured. He could be named to the team then replaced.
Farrell made a case for Nava and Uehara during a recent conversation with Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who will manage the American League team.
“Just a chance to state your case,” Farrell said.
Farrell dropped a hint that Nava or Uehara could be one of the five players on the “Final Vote” list.
The Red Sox promoted 24-year-old lefthander Drake Britton to Triple A Pawtucket, where he will join the rotation. Britton was 7-6 with a 3.51 ERA for Double A Portland . . . Farrell was pleased righthanded reliever Clayton Mortensen cleared waivers and was outrighted to Pawtucket. Although Mortensen was passed over by 29 other teams, the Sox feel he has value. “Any time you can keep major league experienced arms in your control, it’s a good thing,” Farrell said. “He’s a known commodity to us.” Farrell was surprised Mortensen wasn’t claimed . . . Lefthander Franklin Morales, out since June 25 with a strained pectoral muscle, is playing catch but won’t be back any time soon. Morales had the same injury in April and this time the Sox want to make sure he heals . . . The Angels will start Jerome Williams on Saturday. He started against the Cardinals on Wednesday and lasted only 1⅔ innings, allowing seven runs. Williams pitched three innings in reliefe against the Sox June 8 and allowed three runs.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.