TORONTO — Red Sox left fielder Hanley Ramirez could return to the lineup as soon as Wednesday after tests on his bruised left hand proved negative.
Ramirez was in Boston on Monday, getting an MRI at Massachusetts General Hospital. The exam showed no structural damage. He rejoined the team later in the day and took swings at balls on a tee.
“We’ll see how the next day to three days goes. The optimistic view is he’ll be back in the lineup while we’re here,” manager John Farrell said before the Sox beat the Blue Jays, 3-1, Monday night.
Ramirez was injured last Wednesday when he was struck on the back of the hand by a line drive while running the bases. He has not played since.
Ramirez is hitting .283 and leads the Red Sox with 15 home runs and 38 RBIs. The Red Sox would want Ramirez to take batting practice on the field before clearing him to play.
Because of the initial swelling and discomfort, Ramirez was concerned he had more than a bruise.
“He didn’t feel completely confident that everything was cleared up in there. But I think the MRI has given him some peace of mind,” Farrell said. “He’s dealing with some soreness with the bone bruise and maybe a little bit of residual swelling that’s there.
“More than anything, a little peace of mind that structurally he’s good, allows him to move through the hitting progression.”
Alejandro De Aza has started in left field in place of Ramirez. He was 3 for 4 with a triple and made several nice plays Monday. De Aza is 9 of 19 with five extra-base hits and six RBIs subbing for Ramirez.
Catcher Ryan Hanigan remains on track to rejoin the team on Wednesday.
Hanigan has been on the 60-day disabled list since May 2 with a broken finger on his right hand and is eligible to be activated Wednesday. He started both games of a doubleheader for Double A Portland Monday, catching the first game and then serving as the designated hitter for the second. He was 2 for 6 with a double and a walk.
“It’s how he feels, particularly in the batter’s box and not so much behind the plate. It’s getting some timing,” Farrell said.
Outfielder Shane Victorino was off Monday and will continue his rehab assignment Tuesday with Portland. Victorino is 4 for 13 in four games.
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, on the DL with a hamstring strain, is moving around better but not yet doing baseball activities.
“I feel better than when I did it,” Pedroia said. “I’ve never pulled a muscle before, so I really have no idea.”
Farrell hopes that Pedroia could take batting practice this week.
Brass on hand
General manager Ben Cherington is with the team for this series, which is not atypical. He travels periodically throughout the season.
It was more unusual to see principal owner John Henry in the dugout before the game chatting with Cherington. Henry regularly attends games at Fenway Park but not as often on the road.
According to a Red Sox official, Henry was simply taking in the game with his family.
Bogaerts a star?
The Red Sox — no surprise — will not have a player elected to start the All-Star Game. In the latest update of online fan voting, only shortstop Xander Bogaerts is in the top five at this position. He is in fourth place, nearly 8 million votes behind Alcides Escobar of the Royals.
Voting ends on Thursday at 11:59 p.m.
Rules dictate that every team be represented and Farrell thinks Bogaerts would be a good choice to represent the Red Sox when the rosters are announced next week.
Bogaerts is hitting .294 with a .736 OPS. Offensively, he has been one of the top shortstops in the league and his defense has been above average.
“He’s having a very good year,” Farrell said. “To see how far he’s come in a year’s time. The confidence and speed in which he’s playing with is much improved over a year ago. How that translates into an All-Star appearance, that’s out of everyone’s control.
“In terms of what Xander’s doing, you would think his play speaks for itself.”
Clay Buchholz, Brock Holt, Junichi Tazawa, and Koji Uehara also could be candidates. Given the Red Sox’ poor record, they are unlikely to get a second player.
He owns ’em
Buchholz, the winning pitcher Monday night, is 13-9 with a 3.41 in 28 career appearances against Toronto, 10-3 with a 2.21 ERA in 15 starts at the Rogers Centre . . . The Sox are 13-14 in June with one game to go . . . The Sox are 25-11 when they score first . . . The Blue Jays already have sold out the game on Wednesday afternoon, which is Canada Day. There will be a salute to the Canadian Armed Forces and legendary hockey coach Don Cherry will throw out the first pitch. Cherry coached the Bruins from 1974-79 and is now a popular television commentator on hockey and whatever else strikes him. The Jays will wear a Canada Day jersey and the Red Sox will wear a Canadian flag on their sleeve . . . Justin Masterson will stay in the rotation and start Friday against Houston . . . Monday marked the one-year anniversary of Mookie Betts making his major league debut . . . Catcher Erik Kratz, who was designated for assignment on Thursday, cleared waivers and elected free agency.