BALTIMORE -- The lame and the halt are making their way back to the Red Sox.
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who will miss his 24th game Wednesday night because of a fractured left index finger, is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Friday night in Pawtucket, where he will DH in his first game back, manager John Farrell said.
Joining him sometime over the weekend, Farrell said, will be outfielder Shane Victorino, who will be missing his 18th game with a right hamstring strain after missing 22 at the outset of the season with the same injury.
This will be a big weekend in Pawtucket for rehabbing Sox players. Clay Buchholz, who has been on the DL retroactive to May 27 with what the team called a hyperextended left knee, is scheduled to pitch five innings Friday night, and left-hander Felix Doubront, who made a rehab start for the PawSox Tuesday, is on track to make another on Sunday.
Middlebrooks took batting practice on Tuesday and swung the bat very well, Farrell said. He still has work to do on his throwing program, but is getting closer to experiencing full range of motion with the finger.
Victorino made significant progress in the last couple of days with his running program, Farrell said, to the point where the Sox are ready to have him playing in games again this weekend. The club will proceed cautiously in hopes of avoiding another recurrence; a key performer last season, when he won a Gold Glove in right field and posted an .802 OPS, Victorino has been missed greatly and the outfield’s production has been dismal.
Farrell said the club does not have a prescribed number of at-bats that the rehabbing players need before returning, but said the club will probably follow its normal progression of five innings first time out, then seven, nine and back-to-back games before making an evaluation.
* Farrell said that newly signed outfielder Andres Torres, the 36-year-old free agent who underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his left heel in November and has been rehabbing since, will initially report to short-season Class A Lowell, who open Friday. Torres, who last played for the San Francisco Giants, signed a minor-league deal with the Sox.
“He gives us potential for some outfield depth,’’ Farrell said. “Recognizing there’s an injury he’s coming back from, everything in his workouts right now suggest this is a worthy situation to look at, to try to create as many options as we can for this team.’’
Farrell said he could not estimate how long it will take Torres to be ready, but sources indicated that it may be a couple of weeks before he advances to Pawtucket.
* Shortstop Stephen Drew missed a third straight game with discomfort in his right oblique muscle. This is the first time Drew has had such an injury, according to Farrell, who said Drew was planning to engage in a full range of activity Wednesday. How he responds will determine whether he will be back in the lineup as soon as Thursday, when the Sox open a four-game series at home against the Cleveland Indians.
* Brandon Workman’s appeal of his six-game suspension will be heard Friday. Farrell said the club expects a ruling by Monday, and is proceeding under the assumption he will miss a start.
* Rookie center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. was back in the lineup Wednesday after a two-game benching. Bradley has just a .272 on-base percentage against left-handers, but has had success in the handful at-bats he has had against Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen, going 3-for-5.
* Rookie left fielder Brock Holt brings a 10-game hitting streak into Wednesday’s game, batting .413 (19-for-46) in that span. He has 10 multihit games in his last 21 games. Holt’s .380 average against lefties leads all big-league left-handed hitters. Holt, who turned 26 Wednesday, leads all big-league leadoff hitters with a .352 average (31-for-88) from that spot.
* The Sox have scored a total of just one run in the first two games of this series, but are still in position to take the rubber game. Rookie Xander Bogaerts is 0 for his last 12, Dustin Pedroia 0-for-11 and David Ortiz 0-for-7.