Victorino ailing; Lester, Scherzer set to duel

BOSTON -- For the second time in as many days, Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino will not be in the starting lineup Friday night as he continues to recover from a sore left knee. Grady Sizemore will man right field and bat second for the Red Sox while Mike Carp gets the start in left, batting fifth.

Victorino, who sustained the injury on a slide into third base Tuesday night against Minnesota, received a MRI on his knee Friday afternoon to determine the extent of the injury. Farrell said that Victorino will likely be unavailable for Friday's game against the Detroit Tigers.

"The recommendation of the medical staff was to hold him out today at a minimum," Farrell said. "Hopefully the information that we get back is that this is a short-term situation."

After missing the team's first 22 games battling a hamstring issue suffered on the last day of spring training, Victorino has held down the No. 2 spot in the Red Sox lineup, batting .292 with eight runs scored and nine RBIs in 15 games played.

In the event that Victorino's injury requires another stint on the disabled list, outfielder Daniel Nava could make his return to Boston. Since being sent down to Triple-A Pawtucket prior to Victorino's activation, Nava has hit .274 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in 18 games. In his last 10 games, Nava has hit .235 (8-for-34) with only one extra-base hit and nine strikeouts.

• In an effort to keep his ace pitcher-catcher battery together, Farrell once again has David Ross starting behind the plate Friday night, marking the first time that Ross has played back-to-back games this season. Ross went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts in Thursday's day game against the Minnesota Twins.

"We had to look at the way David Ross and Jon Lester have paired up," Farrell said. "That has been consistent, it's been effective, and if this game goes the way you project between two very good starters, it should be a low-run game."

Lester and Tigers starter Max Scherzer squared off on Sept. 3 last year, with Lester besting Scherzer in a pitcher's duel that ended in a 2-1 win for Boston. In that game Ross was behind the plate, just as he has been for six of Lester's eight starts this season.

Farrell admitted, however, that the decision was made difficult by fellow catcher A.J. Pierzynski's strong career numbers against Scherzer (11-for-33, 1 home run, 7 RBI). Entering Friday's start, Scherzer is 5-1 and tied for the best ERA among American League starters (2.04) with Toronto's Mark Buehrle.

"This is two premium guys," Farrell said of Lester and Scherzer. "We've got our hands full this entire series."