TORONTO -- Trying to keep their pitching in the best shape possible down the stretch, the Red Sox will take a conservative path with lefty Erik Bedard and skip his next start, which would have been on Friday in St. Petersburg vs. the Rays.
The Red Sox have five other starters at the moment in Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Tim Wakefield and Andrew Miller, allowing them the flexibility to skip Bedard. Acquired by Boston on July 31, Bedard has made seven starts since coming off the disabled list due to left knee woes.
He mentioned that the knee was a little stiff in his last start on Saturday, when he went six innings vs. the Rangers to earn his first win with the Red Sox.
The Red Sox will keep their options open for Friday. The nod could go to Kyle Weiland, who was added to the roster from Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday. Lackey could also make that start on regular rest.
"We're going to skip Bedard on Friday, try to give that knee a little time to regroup a little bit," said manager Terry Francona. "We really want to give [Josh] Beckett an extra day the next two times, and we already told him that. So we'll let him pitch today, then we'll kind of assess where we are with that. We would have a day Friday, Weiland could pitch that day, or we could bring the guys back on regular rest."
Bedard didn't sound all that concerned about his knee.
"Yeah, just skip a start," Bedard said. "We have enough starters, so it's not going [be a big deal]. Skip a start and see how it feels. Then go back at it. I'm not concerned. It's just sore, and I just don't want to make it too bad for later in the season and the playoffs."
Jenks to see back specialist; season likely over
TORONTO -- The ongoing quest by Bobby Jenks to salvage something from his lost first season with the Red Sox appears to have hit a permanent roadblock. Manager Terry Francona conceded before Monday's game against the Blue Jays that the right-handed reliever is unlikely to throw another pitch in 2011.
"I would say the chances of Bobby pitching -- we're probably past that point now," said Francona. "He just couldn't get it going this weekend, and that was probably the cut-off point. We're going to let him get looked at and see what they decide to do."
Instead of traveling to Toronto, Jenks stayed back for an exam with back specialist Dr. Kirk Wood at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Jenks went on the disabled list three times this season, the first because of a right biceps strain and the last two times for left back tightness.
Complicating his recovery, Jenks twice got very ill, even being forced to the hospital during the first sickness.
"He got sick, then he got sore," said Francona. "It's just been one thing after another. When he got back, he wanted to try and take one more shot at it, and it just wasn't happening."
Signed to be one of the key pieces of Boston's bullpen, Jenks pitched just 19 games, going 2-2 with a 6.32 ERA. His last appearance was July 7. Jenks is also under contract for next season.
"We're not disappointed in him -- we're disappointed," Francona said. "The role we envisioned never came into fruition for various reasons all year, and so we tried to fill that role. At times, [Matt] Albers for the longest time just saved us, and [Alfredo] Aceves, almost in a different role. Those guys have picked up so much slack.
"But having a guy who can be reliable, that's been through it, can pitch the seventh, eighth or ninth, can pitch to lefties or righties, yeah, it's a big deal. But we haven't [had] it. It's not like we had two good months of it and now we've got to replace it."
Perhaps the best-case scenario for the Sox is if starting pitcher Clay Buchholz could recover in time from the stress fracture in his back to be a seventh-inning weapon by the postseason.
Buchholz started playing catch last week.
"Tomorrow, he'll start stretching it out a little bit," Francona said. "Start out with distance, then get to quantity."
There is no timetable for when Buchholz will throw off a mound.
Lavarnway, Weiland, Spears earn promotions
TORONTO -- After promoting just one player when rosters could expand to 40 players Thursday, the Red Sox made another wave of callups Monday, promoting catcher Ryan Lavarnway, righty Kyle Weiland and infielder/outfielder Nate Spears from Triple-A Pawtucket.
Lavarnway served as a designated hitter for the Red Sox for a week in August when David Ortiz was sidelined with bursitis in his right heel. During this stint, Lavarnway will be Boston's third catcher.
Weiland also spent some time with the Sox earlier in the year, making two starts in July. The righty could get a start this weekend against the Rays. He will also spend time as a long man in the bullpen.
For Spears, this marks his first stint in the Major Leagues.
Spears, 26, spent the entire season at Pawtucket, hitting .248 with 19 doubles, two triples, eight homers, 45 RBIs, 49 runs scored and 14 stolen bases. His versatility could be of help.
This season, Spears appeared 37 times at second base, 16 at third, four at short, once at first, 23 in right field and 13 in left.
With Conor Jackson, Josh Reddick and Jed Lowrie all nursing nagging injuries, the timing was just right for Spears to join the team. Reddick, who got hit on the left hand by a pitch Saturday, was able to start in right on Monday. Lowrie, who had some stiffness in his left shoulder, could return by Tuesday. Jackson banged into the wall on Sunday.
"We had talked about bringing him up the other day. Conor's a little beat up," said manager Terry Francona. "Lowrie's OK today, but [Spears] is a guy that impressed everyone at Spring Training with his attitude, his ability to play all over the field, so it's a logical guy to get here to help us."