OAKLAND -- Even for a journeyman like Jonny Gomes, returning to a past haunt like Oakland distinguishes itself from other road trips.
"I'm not far removed," said Gomes, who was a member of the A's 2012 postseason run. "This is my fifth team, but it's a team I grew up cheering for as a kid, so it sort of separates itself."
The Bay Area native batted .262 with 18 home runs and 47s RBIs with Oakland last year before signing a two-year, $10 million deal with Boston. The outfielder said he still keeps in touch with the majority of the team and sends texts, both of congratulations and in a ragging manner.
There hasn't been too much opportunity for the latter, as the A's sit in first place in the American League West in Gomes' absence. Of course, the Red Sox aren't doing too bad themselves with the best record in the AL.
"You can take any division in baseball," Gomes said. "As long as you're in first place, it's going to be a good clubhouse."
As far as differences between the two organizations go, Gomes said the thing that varies most is the average age of his teammates.
"This clubhouse is full of veterans," Gomes said. "Not that it makes it better, but there doesn't have to be as many things taught or policed in this clubhouse. As far as staying loose and having fun, I think that just comes with being in first place."
Instead of rehab start, 'pen session for Buchholz
OAKLAND -- The Minor League rehab outing Clay Buchholz was expected to make Sunday will now be a bullpen session.
Boston's two-time All-Star was initially scheduled to make the first of two Minor League rehab starts Sunday, but instead he'll stay with the big league club for a bit longer before he makes at least one rehab start in the Minors.
"It's a little different than what we had kind of outlined initially," manager John Farrell said. "The most important thing is there's no issues shoulder-wise, any kind of discomfort. He's basically in that reconditioning phase getting back into shape."
Buchholz, who is dealing with inflammation in the bursa sac of his right shoulder, will still make the trip to New York for the Midsummer Classic, throwing long toss in the bullpen Tuesday instead of participating in the main event.
"What we've come to an agreement on is we can get the up-downs that would replace, say, a three-inning start at some point," Farrell said. "And we can simulate that. Once he goes out, he's basically accomplished that first step."
Farrell added that he anticipates Buchholz, who is 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA but hasn't pitched since June 9, to return before the end of July, though whether that's an actual possibility is up in there with the date of his Minor League outing still not determined.
Workman to make first big league start Sunday
OAKLAND -- The Red Sox nearly lost Brandon Workman to the A's during negotiations for Rich Harden in 2011. Now they're relying on the 24-year-old to make his first Major League start in Sunday's series finale in Oakland.
Workman, who is ranked Boston's No. 3 prospect by MLB.com, allowed three runs in two innings of relief on Wednesday during his Major League debut. The former second-round pick surrendered a home run to the first batter he faced and followed that with consecutive doubles to the next two batters he faced in his first inning but came back to retire the side in his second frame of work.
Manager John Farrell said the two innings came on Workman's normal fifth day and his 47 pitches thrown "puts him in line to be fresh and ready for Sunday."
The right-hander was the 2012 Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year after going 10-8 with a 3.50 ERA with stints in Class A Salem and Double-A Portland and went 5-1 with a 3.43 ERA and 74 strike outs in 65 1/3 innings for Portland this season.
Workman went 3-1 with a 2.80 ERA in six starts this season with Triple-A Pawtucket before his promotion on June 5.
Red Sox sign fourth-round Draft pick
OAKLAND -- It took until the last possible day to sign Draft picks, but the Red Sox locked up fourth-round selection Myles Smith, the lone holdout of Boston's top 10 picks, on Friday.
The Red Sox also signed shortstop Mauricio Dubon (26th round), outfielder Nick Longhi (30th round), third baseman Rafael Oliveras (35thround), and right-handers Pat Goetze (36th round) and K.J. Trader (39th round).
In total, the Sox signed 27 of 40 players, including each of their first 12 picks and 18 of their top 19 selections.
Smith was the 113th overall player selected in June's First-Year Player Draft after the Mets took him in the 16th round the previous year.
The right-hander transferred to Miami Dade College in 2012 and moved on to Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., an NAIA power, last season. With a fastball that can touch 97 mph and a solid changeup, Smith dominated at Lee, but to make it to the big leagues, he will need to improve his command.
"His arm has grown, meaning how much velocity he's gained in it so quickly that I almost think his command and his body hasn't caught up to it yet," Mark Brew, Lee's head baseball coach, said in June.
Smith is listed at 6-foot-1, 170 pounds and his slight frame and erratic breaking ball may push him back to the bullpen as a professional. Brew thinks Smith has the ability to start professionally, but he will need to adjust to the higher level of competition.
"On our level, he just overwhelmed people with his ability, and you know at that level that's not going to be the case," said Brew. "He's going to need that command and that ability to locate his fastball."
Jeff Kirshman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.