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Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Old Sox proverb: The team that dines together...

By Gordon Edes

CLEVELAND -- Some quick hits after manager John Farrell’s media session Wednesday afternoon:

* David Ortiz is scheduled to play in Pawtucket on Wednesday and Thursday, and if "all things go accordingly," Farrell said, Ortiz will rejoin the Red Sox on Friday night at Fenway Park against the Royals. The Pawsox are in Rochester on Friday for the start of a weeklong road trip, and while Ortiz has had just 11 at-bats to date on his rehab assignment, by Friday he should be close to the low end of the 20-to-30 at-bats that Farrell expected he would need.

Ortiz has a compelling financial incentive to be back by Friday. Under the terms of the two-year deal he signed with the Sox last winter, Ortiz’s 2014 salary will be reduced from $15 million to $13 million if he is on the DL for more than 20 days this season while recovering from his Achilles condition. Friday would be Day 20.

* Farrell said players spontaneously decided to go out to dinner collectively upon their arrival in Cleveland on Monday night. How did that happen?

"Much like when you get on the road, guys say, ‘Hey, let’s meet in the lobby for dinner." Twenty-two of them showed up. I don’t want to downplay the events we just left [the Marathon bombing) in Boston, but I think what we’ve quickly come to see, this is a group that likes to be around one another. I think those are all encouraging signs."

* Left-handed pitcher Franklin Morales [lower-back strain] is projected to throw around three innings or 50 pitches in a start Wednesday night for Class A Greenville.

* Left-handed reliever Craig Breslow [shoulder] threw an inning in extended spring Tuesday, is expected to throw another Friday, will throw a bullpen for the Sox on Sunday, and if all goes well will begin a rehab assignment with Portland on Tuesday. Farrell said he expected Breslow, who missed all of spring training, will need about five to seven appearances before he is activated.

* Right-hander John Lackey [biceps strain] is progressing nicely, Farrell said. He threw at a distance of 130 feet Wednesday, is scheduled to throw lightly off the mound Thursday, then throw a bullpen for the Sox this weekend. Barring a setback, Farrell said, he would then be ready for some game activity. It has yet to be determined, the manager said, whether that would be on a rehab assignment or a simulated game.

* Joel Hanrahan (hamstring) did some light throwing both Tuesday and Wednesday but probably will need to go out on a rehab assignment before returning, according to Farrell. Asked whether Hanrahan would reclaim his closing job upon his return, Farrell was cryptic in his response.

“I don’t think we’re sitting here today ready to make that claim," Farrell said. “I think we’ve got to get through some things first, particularly how he responds with the hamstring. He’s going to need a couple of rehab appearances just to get himself going again. This is a bigger-bodied guy who is a power pitcher and we want to be sure he feels comfortable physically before we bring him back to us. We’ll work through that at that time."

* Mike Carp, who has just three plate appearances in the team’s first 13 games, was in the starting lineup at first base, batting ninth. First baseman Mike Napoli, the first Red Sox player to have 14 RBIs in his first 13 games with the Sox since Carl Everett in 2000, was serving as DH and Jackie Bradley was spending another night on the bench. It is the third time in the last five games that Bradley has been out of the starting lineup; he served as a ninth-inning replacement in Tuesday’s 7-2 win here.

Farrell, as he did Monday, reiterated that Bradley is frustrated but handling his slump well. The manager said he had a "recent sitdown -- not the first one, nor the last one" -- with Bradley, and is satisfied that the player is coping with his 0-for-20 slump.

“That’s where those sitdown conversations become important," Farrell said, “just to get a sense of where he’s at mentally, what he’s feeling at the plate, have the give and take of what you see versus what he feels. I think, most importantly, to know that we’re here with him, working with him and supporting him. That’s the overall tone of that."

Asked if he had yet alerted Bradley about a possible demotion when Ortiz is activated, Farrell said no.

“We haven’t said, 'When A happens, this is B, this is going to happen,' " Farrell said. “That’s like inviting him to a place then asking, 'When are you leaving?' "