- Gordon Edes, Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Red Sox are mapping out plans to have Clay Buchholz start the series finale in Baltimore on Sunday, manager John Farrell said Tuesday.
Buchholz (9-0, 1.71 ERA), who left Saturday night's start with neck tightness, will have a "ball in his hand" Wednesday. He will not throw a side session, what he would do if he was making his regularly scheduled start on Friday. Instead, assuming all goes well, Buchholz will pitch a side session on Friday, which would put him on track to pitch Sunday.
All of these plans come with the same proviso that was in place last month when Buchholz went 10 days between starts because of irritation in the AC joint at the top of his right shoulder. The Sox will not run him out there, Farrell has said, until they are convinced he is 100 percent healthy.
Farrell says he believes Buchholz's neck condition is related to the discomfort Buchholz was experiencing in his AC joint, though all parties involved insist Buchholz's pitching shoulder is fine.
Also on Tuesday, the Red Sox placed right-hander Clayton Mortensen on the disabled list with a hip/groin condition that has been bothering him since early April and recalled Jose De La Torre to help an overtaxed pitching staff that is in need of fresh arms.
De La Torre is expected to be activated just Tuesday night for insurance purposes and then will be sent back to Pawtucket to make room for Alfredo Aceves, who will start on Wednesday against the Rays.
Farrell went through eight pitchers in Monday night's 5-hour, 24-minute, 14-inning exercise, which led him to answer a question with a question when asked what he intended to do for pitching in the coming days.
"Can you pitch?" he asked a reporter after Boston's 10-8 win in which the last two pitchers he used, Koji Uehara and Franklin Morales, were supposed to have the night off. Instead, Uehara, who threw 31 pitches on Sunday, gave the Sox two scoreless innings in the 11th and 12th, while Morales, who had thrown a 30-pitch side session Monday afternoon in advance of a scheduled start Wednesday, worked the final two innings and was credited with the win.
But starting Wednesday is now out of the question.
"We've got to get some arms in here," Farrell said. "We've got some decisions to make."
Enter Aceves and De La Torre.
Aceves starred in an emergency role when called upon to fill in on May 27, limiting the Phillies to a run in six innings before being returned to Pawtucket.
Aceves, 2-1 with a 3.52 ERA in five starts, hasn't pitched since June 3, when he went 7 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and four runs, so he's well-rested.
Mortensen is out of options and almost certainly would be claimed if exposed to waivers. He pitched the ninth inning Monday night, holding the Rays at bay after they'd tied the score at 6 the inning before on a wild pitch by Junichi Tazawa.
The Sox could have avoided using Uehara and Morales on Monday night, but Andrew Bailey blew up in the bottom of the 10th after Jarrod Saltalamacchia had knocked in two runs to give the Sox an 8-6 lead. Bailey gave up a home run to the first batter he faced, Jose Lobaton, and then loaded the bases on two walks and a single before walking Kelly Johnson to force in the tying run.
"I put myself in bad counts and walked three guys," Bailey said. "Getting out of it, I guess, is good, but it shouldn't have come to that."
The 38-year-old Uehara needed just 16 pitches to pitch two clean innings, retiring all six batters he faced.
"I had a battle with the strike zone with the umpire yesterday," Uehara said through a translator. "Today, there was nothing in that sense going on, and I was able to pitch well."
Was he tired?
"No problem at all," he said. "I was a starter before. I still had plenty in my tank."
Still, when he returned to the dugout after the 11th, he did so without his usual raucous gauntlet of high-fives. "I was thinking I'd better save my energy a bit," he said with a smile.
Morales said he felt fine physically despite throwing 30 pitches earlier in the day. As for losing his start on Wednesday by pitching Monday night?
"Today, that's what's most important," Morales said. "Take the win today, and next day someone else could do it."
The Red Sox are mapping out plans to have Clay Buchholz start the series finale in Baltimore on Sunday, manager John Farrell said Tuesday.