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BOS@HOU: De La Rosa tosses scoreless ninth in debut

As injuries continued to pile up for the Red Sox this week, the team had to insert a temporary locker in the middle of its clubhouse for Friday callup Alex Hassan. On Saturday, the Red Sox will need another one for Rubby De La Rosa, who will make his first start of the season in place of Clay Buchholz. Buchholz went on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a hyperextended left knee.

De La Rosa came to Boston from the Dodgers as part of a deal that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto and Carl Crawford to Los Angeles in 2012. De La Rosa started 10 games his rookie year in '11, but he hasn't made a start since undergoing Tommy John surgery that August. He made 11 relief appearances with the Red Sox in 2013, but with three sharp pitches, De La Rosa projects more as a starter, said manager John Farrell.

In 10 starts for Triple-A Pawtucket this season, De La Rosa is 2-3 with a 3.04 ERA and opponents are hitting .218 against him.

"More definition on his breaking ball has been one thing. His changeup has become a weapon that he's been able to put away some hitters with," Farrell said. "When you grade him out, he profiles as a starter. Long term -- he'll answer that question with his performance."

On Saturday, De La Rosa will sqaure off against Rays righty Jake Odorizzi, who struggled in April but has settled in during his last four starts. The rookie has posted a 1.66 ERA and opponents hit .179 with a .547 OPS against him in those four outings. In his six starts prior to that, he posted a 6.83 ERA and opponents posted a .324 average and .895 OPS against him.

One thing to credit for that turnaround, Odorizzi said, is that he's not relying on his splitter, a pitch he worked hard to refine during Spring Training.

"I overused it early. It was a learning experience. I had to learn how to incorporate it in with my [fastball and curveball]," he said. "The past four or five starts I've been mixing a lot more consistently, then offspeed-count throwing a split to righties or lefties."

Odorizzi's last start came on Sunday against the Red Sox, when he scattered four hits, a walk and a run with five strikeouts over six innings.

That game started a scuffle between the two clubs, when Yunel Escobar took third on defensive indifference with the Rays leading 8-3. That prompted the benches to clear, and Friday night, more of the same happened.

Two Boston coaches and Farrell were ejected. Rays starter David Price hit two batters but wasn't tossed, and Red Sox starter Brandon Workman was ejected after throwing behind Evan Longoria in the sixth. The benches cleared in the fourth inning when Price plunked Mike Carp.

Red Sox: Lavarnway will need surgery on left wrist
Red Sox catcher/first baseman Ryan Lavarnway was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday and will need surgery on the left wrist he injured Thursday night against the Braves.

Farrell said there's no timetable for Lavarnway's return, although the manager said he "doesn't suspect" the procedure will be season-ending. The 26-year-old has appeared in four games this season, going 0-for-4.

"I felt a pain in my hand/wrist area. I thought I would be able to play through it," Lavarnway said after Thursday's win over the Braves, which he exited before his second at-bat in the fifth inning. "… I was having a real difficult time swinging. So I wanted to let a healthy guy have that at-bat instead of trying to force my way in and giving them an easy out."

Farrell said Lavarnway will be reevaluated after surgery, and the medical staff will proceed from there.

Rays: Catcher Solis coming along
With Ryan Hanigan on the disabled list, Ali Solis is the Rays' backup catcher. And Jose Molina, who will catch most of the coming games, is a big fan.

"First of all, he has a good ear," Molina said. "Any time I talk to him about anything, he tries to get it right away. And that's good in anybody.

"He's always close to me, so whatever I throw out there, he can get it. Yesterday we went out to lunch and share our little thing. Because he'll probably have to come into the game late. So the more he knows and the more comfortable I can make him feel, it will be useful for him. So I give him everything I know. Hopefully he picks it up really quick. You know, enjoy this. It's a really good time to be here."

Worth noting
• The Red Sox are 10-17 against American League East teams this season.

• Xander Bogaerts reached base safely three times Friday, running his total to 86 on the season. In the last 100 years, no Boston rookie has reached base safely more than that in the first two months of a season.

• The Rays' 3-2, walk-off loss on Wednesday at Toronto (resulting from Juan Carlos Oviedo's ninth-inning throwing error) was the third walk off in the Major Leagues this season decided on a pitcher's error, and all three occurred in the last week. The others were Boston's Andrew Miller's throwing error on May 24 at Tampa Bay and Texas' Joakim Soria's error on Tuesday at Minnesota.

• For the first time in 17 games, the Rays scored a run in the first inning. David DeJesus doubled to start the game Friday night against the Red Sox and scored on Ben Zobrist's groundout. Comments