MINNEAPOLIS — Lefthanded reliever Craig Breslow started the season on the disabled list with a shoulder strain. He was activated April 9 but appeared in only five of the next 21 games, pitching six innings in mostly low-leverage situations.
Breslow was hit hard in those games, allowing six runs (five earned) on nine hits and four walks.
But in his last five appearances, Breslow has thrown five scoreless innings and struck out six while putting only five men on base. He also has pitched more frequently, getting in five of nine games the Sox played.
Breslow pitched a scoreless seventh inning against the Twins Tuesday night, striking out two. He is looking more like the pitcher who was so important to the Red Sox last season, especially in the postseason.
“Over the past 10 days or so, that’s happened,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “We’ve been able to get him back-to-back days. We’re seeing his arm strength get back to the normal range. Pitch execution and the ability to change speeds has always been there. He adds a tremendous amount of dependability to the group down in the pen.”
Place in history
David Ortiz’s two home runs Wednesday gave him 384 as a member of the Sox, moving out a tie with Jim Rice (382) for third in team history. Ted Williams (521) and Carl Yastrzemski (452) are first and second.
“It’s a matter of time,” Ortiz said. “They were good hitters. We tried to keep up with them. Not with them, we tried to keep up with the game.
“Whatever happens, happens. One day I’m going to go home and look back and see [my] name located right next to those guys. It’s a pretty good damn career.”
Through Wednesday, Ortiz has 442 home runs, 1,454 RBIs, 528 doubles, and 2,066 hits in his career. Only 12 other players — Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, Lou Gehrig, Chipper Jones, Eddie Murray, Stan Musial, Albert Pujols, Rafael Palmeiro, Manny Ramirez, Frank Robinson, Dave Winfield, and Yastrzemski — have reached those levels.
Backup catcher David Ross accidentally stepped on a ball during batting practice Tuesday and sprained his left ankle.
“Actually felt better [Tuesday] than I do today,” Ross said. “It swelled up on me a little bit. But I’ll be fine.”
Ross had his ankle heavily taped as he walked around the clubhouse before the game.
“He was available [Tuesday] night. He iced it a couple of times during the game and went down and caught [in the bullpen],” Farrell said.
Ross is scheduled to catch Clay Buchholz on Thursday afternoon.
Tigers in town
The Detroit Tigers beat the Orioles in a day game at Camden Yards on Wednesday and flew into Boston afterward. Several players were at TD Garden for Game 7 of the Bruins-Canadiens series. The Tigers are off Thursday and will have some time to kill before playing the Red Sox Friday night . . . Buchholz picked up an autographed baseball from Twins coach Paul Molitor to give to his father. Molitor, a Hall of Famer, is one of Skip Buchholz’s favorite players. Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves, who played with Molitor from 1986-88 in Milwaukee, obtained the autograph for Buchholz . . . Dustin Pedroia has reached base safely in 27 consecutive games against the Twins . . . The Sox are 10-4 at Target Field with wins in seven of their last eight . . . Xander Bogaerts, who came in 2 for 20, went 2 for 4 with a walk and two runs scored.