FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox manager John Farrell acknowledged on Monday that lefthander Eduardo Rodriguez would need to pitch his first game at some point in the next 10 days to have enough time to be ready to start the season.
Rodriguez’s right kneecap was briefly jostled out of place Feb. 27, when his spikes got caught in the grass. He was shut down for four days because of swelling and has since played catch once a day for 8 to 10 minutes.
Rodriguez played long toss on Monday and threw some pitches from flat ground. He slipped on one pitch, Farrell said, and briefly had some cramping in his lower leg but was able to finish the session.
Given the long layoff from pitching off the mound, now 11 days, Rodriguez would probably need at least two bullpen sessions before getting into a game.
“He’s making solid progress,” Farrell said. “We’re still yet to get back on the mound.”
The Sox have ample depth in lefthander Roenis Elias, lefthander Henry Owens, and righthander Steven Wright.
Owens started on Monday against Tampa Bay and went three shutout innings. Wright has already thrown five innings in spring training, and Elias is scheduled to start against Baltimore on Tuesday.
“It’s a valuable group for instances and situations that are unforeseen, one like this,” Farrell said.
Elias, 27, was a starter the last two seasons with Seattle, going 15-20 with a 3.97 earned run average. The 23-year-old Owens was 4-4 with a 4.57 ERA as a rookie last season. Wright, 31, is 7-5 with a 3.95 ERA in 26 major league games over three seasons, 11 of them starts.
“They’re all competing,” Farrell said. “At this point I can’t say one is ahead of the other. They all have experience.”
The Sox would not need a No. 5 starter until April 10 in Toronto. If Rodriguez gets into a game by March 17, he would have time to make five starts before the season and be adequately prepared.
When he was running the Tigers in 2013, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski released Brennan Boesch .
The decision cost Boesch some money, but there were no lingering hard feelings. He signed with the Red Sox when Dombrowski offered him a minor league contract and invitation to spring training.
“[Dombrowski] knows me well and what kind of player I can be,” Boesch said. “I thought this was a good opportunity.”
Drafted in 2006 out of the University of California, Boesch made it to the majors in 2010 and played regularly for three seasons in Detroit, hitting .259 with a .729 OPS.
A outfielder with some power, Boesch was signed for $2.3 million before the 2013 season. But the Tigers released him in March, deciding he would not get a spot on the roster and had limited trade value.
By releasing Boesch when they did, the Tigers owed him only $383,333.
He has since played only 101 games in the majors for the Yankees, Angels, and Reds, hitting .191.
“There have been injuries and opportunities I didn’t get I felt I should have,” Boesch said. “The Red Sox are a good organization, and hopefully I can put myself in a good position.”
Boesch is 4 of 13 with two doubles and home run in five games.
Farrell said the Sox want to give him ample at-bats to see if his bat can get going again. Boesch has little chance of making the Opening Day roster but could give the organization experienced depth at Triple A Pawtucket.
Christian Vazquez will catch Elias for two innings against the Orioles, his first game since undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery last April . . . Outside of Vazquez, notable players making the trip to Sarasota include Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Brock Holt, David Murphy, and Travis Shaw . . . Rick Porcello is scheduled for a three-inning simulated game at Fenway South on Tuesday . . . Red Sox prospect Andrew Benintendi, who starred at Arkansas last spring, is one of 17 semifinalists for the 2015-16 AAU Sullivan Award. The award recognizes the nation’s most outstanding amateur athlete. Finalists will be announced on March 17.