BOSTON -- No lefty specialists, no problem. The Red Sox could make T-shirts of that theme this season.
While the bullpen has had its struggles at times, facing left-handed batters has not been an issue. Entering Monday's game against the Twins, the Red Sox lead the Majors with a 2.56 ERA against lefties, and are tied atop the big leagues with a .212 batting average against.
And that was all without Craig Breslow.
The left-handed Breslow, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list Monday, should be a welcome addition to a bullpen that's operated all season with just one lefty, Andrew Miller. Miller has actually had reverse splits, holding right-handed batters to a .077 average while left-handed hitters have batted .353 off him.
After missing all of Spring Training with a shoulder injury, Breslow is excited to be back.
"I think the rehab program was a little big accelerated," he said of his five Minor League appearances before making a return to Boston. "But I didn't need a ton, I just needed to throw pain-free and I could piece together the rest. Each time out, I've felt better, gotten crisper, results have gotten better."
After coming over from the D-backs at the Trade Deadline last year in exchange for Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik, Breslow fired 20 innings for the Red Sox, striking out 19 while posting a 2.70 ERA.
Even though he's left-handed, the 32-year-old has been equally effective against right-handed batters, which will allow manager John Farrell more flexibility in late innings, especially with closer Andrew Bailey going on the 15-day disabled list on Monday.
"He's had some success against left-handers," Farrell said. "But he's also been a guy that takes almost a starter's approach to shorter outings, and that's what's allowed him to be successful against right-handers as well.
"One thing is that we've got a fresh arm in our bullpen, which, given a lot of the usage of Junichi [Tazawa] and Koji [Uehara], hopefully it'll take some of the workload and the pressure off those two guys. It won't be just a straight-up matchup situation."
In Boston's 6-5 win Monday, Breslow pitched a scoreless inning, striking out one of the three batters he faced.
Hanrahan strains right forearm, to undergo MRI
BOSTON -- Already short-handed in the bullpen, the Red Sox are now facing the possibility that Joel Hanrahan will have to be shut down.
Hanrahan, who was filling in as the closer on the same night Andrew Bailey was officially placed on the disabled list, had to leave Monday's game with a right forearm strain.
Red Sox manager John Farrell revealed that Hanrahan will undergo a full workup of tests on Tuesday, including an MRI.
The right-hander admitted after the game that he felt something in his forearm three pitches before giving up a game-tying home run to Brian Dozier.
Hanrahan faced two more batters after the game-tying homer, but couldn't go any longer after that.
Clayton Mortensen replaced him and wound up being a catalyst in Boston's 6-5, 11-inning win.
"I can kind of pinpoint it to the pitch that was after the one that went to the backstop," said Hanrahan. "I felt like I threw the pitch and felt a little pull, like my forearm went a little bit with the ball. I felt like I could still throw the ball all right. I was like, 'All right, maybe that stretched it out a little bit, see what happens,' but eventually I got to the point where I tried to make a pickoff [throw] to first, and the ball barely got there. I threw one more, and I just couldn't take it anymore."
It has already been a frustrating first season in Boston for Hanrahan, who started the year as the closer and struggled while dealing with a right hamstring injury that placed him on the disabled list.
By the time Hanrahan returned from the DL on April 30, Bailey had replaced him as the closer.
This was Hanrahan's third appearance since returning from the disabled list. He has a 9.82 ERA in nine outings this season.
"This isn't how I planned my time with the Red Sox going -- dealing with the hamstring thing right out of the gate, and been back for two games, three games, and now this happens," Hanrahan said. "Hopefully everything will check out all right [Tuesday], it won't be too serious, and I'll get some time back later on."
Bailey is sidelined with a right biceps injury and will miss at least another week. Junichi Tazawa or Koji Uehara would seem to be Boston's top closing options while Bailey and Hanrahan are both out.
"Well that's what we're going to go down and figure out right now," said Farrell. "We've got a couple of guys out there that we feel confident they'll be able to close out games."
Double extends Papi's hitting streak to 26
BOSTON -- Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 26 games with a double in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Twins on Monday night. He was 0-for-3 before the hit.
Ortiz has gone 40-for-93 (.430) with 11 doubles, six homers and 23 RBIs since the streak began on July 2, 2012.
He extended his streak in the first inning of Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Rangers when he launched a home run off Yu Darvish.
"I just reacted to a pitch that I saw," Ortiz said.
Boston's veteran left-handed-hitting slugger owns the longest active streak in the Majors and the longest streak by a Red Sox player since Manny Ramirez had a 27-game hitting streak in '06.
After Tuesday's 1-for-4, Ortiz was hitting .426 with four home runs and 17 RBIs in 14 games.
• Ryan Sweeney, who spent Spring Training with the Red Sox before being released on March 30, had his contract selected by the Cubs on Monday. Sweeney batted .337 (28-for-83) with two doubles, two triples, six home runs, 16 RBIs and a 1.022 OPS in 23 games with Triple-A Iowa.
• Triple-A outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. was placed on the seven-day disabled list due to right biceps tendinitis. The move is retroactive to May 4, but it secures Bradley will spend at least 20 days in the Minors this season, prolonging his free agency until 2019. Bradley was hitting .302 in 11 games at Pawtucket.
• Asked if he thought the Twins would lobby the umpiring crew to examine Clay Buchholz closely on Monday, Farrell said, "I don't know that they would or if they choose to. There's nothing to be hidden, nothing to hide on Clay's part. We're looking forward to Clay going out and pitching as he has all year so far."
• With the Bruins in the midst of an NHL Stanley Cup playoff series with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Monday's Red Sox game aired on NESNplus.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Jason Mastrodonato is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jmastrodonato. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.