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06/19/10 3:17 PM ET

Buchholz, Carroll playing key roles for clubs

What would the Dodgers do without Jamey Carroll? And what would the Red Sox do without Clay Buchholz?

As the season nears its midpoint, the resurgent play of these two postseason contenders has been the result of improvement in more than a few areas, and these two players, who will be on display in Sunday night's Interleague series finale, are factoring for their clubs in a big way.

For the Dodgers and their manager, Joe Torre, the work of Carroll as a backup to starting shortstop Rafael Furcal has been invaluable. Furcal missed a month on the disabled list and is out for this series at Fenway Park because he's on the bereavement list.

Enter Carroll, who has only three errors in 135 chances at shortstop and is hitting .278 with 10 RBIs and four stolen bases.

"He's a professional," Torre said of Carroll. "He's a professional hitter. He's really a positive influence on this ballclub. You just have to watch him. You watch him go up there and take two strikes or run hard.

"Being a bench player is a state of mind, in my opinion. There are some guys who physically can't handle it. ... But Jamey, he just seems to know his body, and knows what he can do."

And the Red Sox and Buchholz are finally seeing what the promising young right-hander can do on a consistent basis now that he's a fixture in the rotation.

In his previous outing, Buchholz proved he could tough out a win on a night when he wasn't at his best. It's the sign of a pitcher maturing and learning how to outthink hitters without relying solely on stuff, and on Sunday, it could lead to his 10th win and another piece of an All-Star bid that's gaining momentum with each start.

"[It] didn't feel easy either," Buchholz acknowledged after his previous outing. "[There were] some grinding innings -- the first inning, fourth inning, 20-some odd pitches in each of them. Runners on base, runners in scoring position. It's when you sort of have to bear down and throw a couple of pitches that you need to throw in certain situations. I was lucky enough to throw a couple of good pitches in a couple of those at-bats."

Dodgers: Loney in good company
First baseman James Loney has joined Milwaukee's Ryan Braun and Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria as the only Major Leaguers with a batting average of .300 or higher, 45 or more RBIs and nine or more stolen bases this season. Loney's 45 RBIs through 68 games have him on pace for a career-high 107 RBIs, and his nine steals are the most by a Dodgers first baseman since Eric Karros stole 15 in 1997. ... Sunday starter Hiroki Kuroda is making his first career appearance against Boston. He's 1-5 with a 4.89 ERA in six Interleague starts in his career, and is 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA and .212 opposing batting average in three June starts this season.

Red Sox: Manuel back in the bigs
The Red Sox selected right-hander Robert Manuel to the active Major League roster from Triple-A Pawtucket and optioned left-hander Felix Doubront to Pawtucket. Manuel pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings in a three-appearance stint for Cincinnati last season. ... Boston starters have gone 13-3 with a 3.31 ERA (48 earned runs in 130 2/3 innings) in 20 games since May 29, including 9-2 with a 3.12 ERA (34 earned runs in 98 1/3 innings) in 15 games beginning June 4. Boston's rotation leads the Majors overall with a .667 winning percentage (34-17).

Worth noting
The Dodgers might be away from Chavez Ravine, but on Sunday at Dodger Stadium, fans are invited for a free Father's Day catch on the field. The first 3,000 fans will get a free Dodger Dog, and water and PowerAde will also be provided. This marks the seventh consecutive year that the Dodgers have hosted dads on Father's Day. ... Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz's 15 homers through 57 games are his second-most through that many games in any season, behind 17 through 56 games in 2006. This year is the 10th straight season in which Ortiz has at least 15 homers as a DH (2001-10), the longest such streak in Major League history.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.