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Red Sox Notebook

Red Sox’ Pablo Sandoval to sit out a few days

Pablo Sandoval is batting .265 in spring games.Getty Images

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval is expected to miss at least a few days with lower-back pain, the result of diving for a ball during Tuesday’s game against the Miami Marlins.

“He’s going to be down for a couple of days,” manager John Farrell said. “Just trying to get back. He’s going to be unavailable on a day-to-day status right now.”

Farrell does not believe the injury will land Sandoval on the disabled list.

Travis Shaw is starting at third base Thursday against the New York Mets.

With Sandoval out, the odds of Shaw being the starting third baseman once the season starts are growing. Shaw has hit .450 with a 1.188 OPS in spring training.

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Pitching plans take shape

The makeup of the pitching staff is becoming a bit clearer, and Steven Wright is the leading candidate to become the No. 5 starter.

Roenis Elias will work in relief on Thursday. Farrell said the Sox are interested to see him in that role.

The Sox want a long reliever in the bullpen to start the season and Elias could fill that job in addition to being useful against lefthanded hitters in one-batter matchups. As either a starter or a long reliever, Elias and Wright appear to have spots on the roster.

“The one thing you look at is who can give you multiple innings and potentially up to four innings, particularly early in the year,” Farrell said. “That’s where [Wright] was so valuable to us at the beginning of last year. So we feel there are two very good options to provide that.”

Matt Barnes is a leading candidate to fill a set-up role in the bullpen. He is competing directly with Noe Ramirez for that spot.

Uehara ailing

Righthanded reliever Koji Uehara has what Farrell termed as “general soreness.” Uehara will play catch on Thursday with a bullpen session scheduled for Friday. He could get into a game on Sunday. Farrell said there are no concerns about his readiness for the season.

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Uehara has appeared in only two Grapefruit League games.

Cuts made

Lefthanders Henry Owens and Brian Johnson were optioned to Triple A Pawtucket along with righthander Heath Hembree. Outfielder Ryan LaMarre, righthanded reliever Roman Mendez, and first baseman Sam Travis were reassigned to the minor league camp.

The Sox have 39 players in camp, including three pitchers headed for the disabled list: righthanders Carson Smith and Brandon Workman and lefthander Eduardo Rodriguez.

Veteran righthanded reliever Carlos Marmol remains in camp but is not in the mix for Opening Day.

“He still has to continue to come along,” Farrell said. “We still like what he can provide. There still needs to see some additional arm strength built up and some additional command.”

Tiant returns from Cuba

Luis Tiant and fellow Cuban Rusney Castillo talked Thursday about Tiant’s trip to Cuba for the game there Tuesday between the Rays and the Cuban national team.Peter Abraham/Globe Staff

Luis Tiant returned to camp after his two-day trip to Cuba with Major League Baseball. It was the second time Tiant has been back in Cuba since he left in 1960 to pursue his baseball career.

He was able to have breakfast with seven members of his family.

“They came into the hotel and we had a meal. The last time I was there [in 2007], they weren’t allowed in the hotel. I saw some good changes,” Tiant said. “The people there, they were so happy to see that game. Everybody was talking about it.”

Tiant met President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle after throwing out the first pitch before Tuesday’s game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban National Team.

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“The president, He said, ‘What’s happening?’ to me,” Tiant said. “His wife said, “Mr. Tiant, it’s a pleasure to meet you.’ They were very nice to me.”

Tiant also shook hands with Cuban leader Raul Castro, He admitted to being conflicted as to what to do, but thought he should show respect as a representative of Major League Baseball.

“I know how people feel about him,” Tiant said. “But I was not going to put my hand behind my back. I hope the trip we made and what was said will help the people in Cuba.”


Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.