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Farrell not tipping hand on spot starter

7/6/2014

BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell said he is still no closer to determining a spot starter for Wednesday’s game against the Chicago White Sox.

“Couple of candidates certainly, but nothing yet to announce,” Farrell said before Sunday's rubber match with the Orioles. “We’ve got to get through these next couple days to determine who that’s going to be.”

He did disclose, however, that the starter will not come out of the bullpen, which should put an end to speculation that Felix Doubront -- who has made two appearances since being moved to the bullpen in late June, his most recent outing on July 2 -- could get the ball and make his first start since June 20.

Rookie Rubby De La Rosa dazzled in his last two starts for Boston before being optioned back to Pawtucket on June 28, allowing just one earned run in a combined 14 innings to bring his ERA down to 2.51. In his most recent start, on July 1 against Durham, De La Rosa ran into some trouble, allowing five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings of work. In five starts this season with the big club, he is 2-2, striking out 30 batters in 32 innings.

De La Rosa is scheduled to start for Pawtucket on Sunday against Columbus. If he makes that start, that rules him out for Wednesday.

That makes righty Allen Webster and knuckleballer Steven Wright the two most logical candidates.

The 29-year-old Wright, who opened the season on the disabled list because of hernia surgery, has gone seven innings or more in five of his last six starts and is 3-1 overall with a 2.40 ERA, team-best 0.96 WHIP, and 40 K’s in 45 innings for Pawtucket. He proved serviceable in two starts last year for the Red Sox, posting a 2-0 record with 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings despite a 5.40 ERA. On Friday, his last start, he allowed two earned runs in eight innings.

Webster has allowed three earned runs over his last two starts, and has posted a 2.75 ERA in six starts since the beginning of June, with 36 K’s and 12 walks. On the year, he is 4-4 with a 2.86 ERA, with 87 K’s in 104 innings. In his most recent start, Thursday against Rochester, he struck out six over 5 1/3 innings and allowed just one earned run.

* Farrell confirmed that Mike Carp (foot) and Will Middlebrooks (finger) will both start again Sunday for Pawtucket as they continue their rehab assignments. Until Saturday’s 2-for-4 performance with a homer and two RBIs, Carp had mostly come up empty since joining the PawSox on June 27, going 3-for-17 with six strikeouts. Middlebrooks whiffed three times while going 0-for-4 Saturday.