BOSTON -- Due to the fact Jon Lester has struggled in recent weeks and had his first start after the All-Star break pushed from Sunday to Tuesday, there was bound to be some speculation that he is pitching through an injury.
However, Lester, who threw a 35-pitch bullpen session on Sunday, maintained that his problems aren't physical.
Anything nagging him, Lester was asked?
"Yeah, pitching," quipped the Red Sox left-hander. "I mean, honestly, I don't know how to answer these questions. Honestly, I know it looks weird just with the schedule and you get pushed back. But I've thrown a lot of pitches this year. Like I said, we're just trying to take advantage of the All-Star break and a couple of extra days we have thrown in there. We felt like it was a good time to do that."
Lester is eager to make his start against the Rays on Tuesday.
In his first nine starts of the season, Lester went 6-0 with a 2.72 ERA. In his last 11, he is 2-6 with a 6.27 ERA.
"Obviously, yeah, I'm not pitching the way I feel like I should or want to be," said Lester. "At the same time, I think there are a lot of positives within some of those games that I try to take. I just have to keep trying to build off those. Some of those games really came down to two pitches. If I could minimize those two pitches into positives and limit some of those runs, we're talking about a different deal right now. I feel good with where I'm at the last couple starts. I feel like I've thrown the ball a lot better. I just try to build off that."
Andrews visit may put Buchholz at ease
BOSTON -- Clay Buchholz will try to ease his mind on Monday, when he visits noted orthopedist James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla.
The Red Sox right-hander hasn't pitched since June 8 because of a neck strain that has also given him discomfort behind his right shoulder.
What Buchholz will look for from Andrews is the assurance that he doesn't have a major injury and that he isn't risking further injury by pitching.
Even in advance of his meeting with Dr. Andrews, Buchholz continued his throwing program by playing catch with one of the Red Sox's trainers.
"I think given all Clay has dealt with -- the stop and start of this process and the rehab associated with the shoulder, neck, all that -- as I've said many times, he's extremely frustrated with it," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "As it seemed like he was turning the corner on the trip when we went through Seattle and the throwing that he was doing, it hasn't [cleared up].
"So, more than anything, this will enable him to get some verification and clarification through Dr. Andrews to put his mind at ease. And that's as important as anything that he's dealing with from a physical standpoint."
The Red Sox's medical staff has been in touch with Andrews and sent him some imaging of Buchholz.
"This is just a chance to get in front of him, for Andrews to examine him physically rather than just viewing MRI images, so until that exam takes place, that's where things are," said Farrell.
This injury has been a tough one for the Red Sox and Buchholz to get a handle on. Multiple times, the right-hander seemed on the verge of a return, only to have to put on the brakes.
"Where the frustration lies is that when he's been able to throw long toss aggressively, there's been no issue," Farrell said. "When he's gotten on the mound, there's been freedom in some of those bullpens. It's been that repetitive and cumulative throwing where he's felt some of the discomfort start to return, and that's where he stopped. If it can be confirmed that he's not going to put himself at further risk, then OK, let's continue on."
Red Sox to lose Bailey for year with surgery
BOSTON -- After a couple of days of deliberation, Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey realized that surgery was really the only option to repair his ailing right shoulder.
The right-handed reliever will be operated on by Dr. David Altchek in New York on Wednesday to repair his labrum and capsule.
Not only will Bailey be unable to pitch again this season, but he could miss as much as half of 2014.
"There were no guarantees [even] if he were able to get back to the mound to a normal level through the conservative path," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "I think as Andrew weighed all the information that he got from the multiple doctors seen, it was pretty clear cut, the decision. The decision was pretty much made for him."
Acquired to be Boston's closer in December 2011, Bailey has seen his time with the Red Sox marked mainly by injury.
He had an excellent stretch of pitching earlier this season but was first troubled by a right biceps injury, then the shoulder.
There would seem a strong chance the Red Sox will decline to tender Bailey a contract this winter, making him a free agent. However, they could bring him back on a low-risk, less lucrative deal after that.
Red Sox trust Workman to start at Fenway
BOSTON -- Brandon Workman, fresh off pitching 6 1/3 effective innings against the Oakland Athletics on the final day before the All-Star break, will get his second Major League start on Monday night in the opener of the Red Sox's big four-game series against the surging Tampa Bay Rays.
"As well as he pitched against a very good team in Oakland -- and we're going to have a team that's coming in here as hot as anyone in the game right now -- the one thing that he does is he throws a lot of strikes," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Workman, who didn't allow the A's a hit until the sixth inning.
Before starting in Oakland, Workman -- Boston's No. 12 prospect, according to MLB.com -- got his feet wet with a relief outing against the Mariners.
"Even in the first inning in Seattle, he got squared up, but he didn't fear the strike zone," Farrell said. "He didn't start to walk people just because there was some loud contact. He went out and had a very good second inning, and I think that second inning kind of set the ability to walk off the mound knowing he put up a zero. It carried into the game against Oakland.
"I think the one thing that we're learning, at least at the Major League staff, is that this is a guy who has kind of quiet confidence about him and doesn't fear the setting in which he's performing."
Red Sox impressed by Britton's poise
BOSTON -- By Red Sox manager John Farrell's own admission, the circumstances surrounding Drake Britton's Major League debut could have been easier.
With runners on first and second, no outs in the ninth inning and his parents in the stands, the 24-year-old lefty reliever entered Saturday's game with Boston trailing the rival Yankees, 4-2.
"I was a little bit nervous -- my heart rate was up," said Britton, the Red Sox's No. 11 prospect. "Once I got out there, I just tried to breathe."
Undoubtedly adding to the anxiety was the part of the lineup Britton was scheduled to face. Ten-time All Star Ichiro Suzuki was up first, with five-time All Star Robinson Cano looming on deck.
"I just did my best trying to keep it inside to Cano and Ichiro," said Britton, who had just one appearance with Triple-A Pawtucket before being called up. "To be honest, at that point, they were just up there. I was just like, 'Oh, it's Robinson Cano.'"
With a fastball that reached 95 mph, Britton needed just nine pitches -- eight fastballs and one slider -- to retire the Yankees. Ichiro popped out to shortstop Stephen Drew and Cano hit a sacrifice fly to score Luis Cruz, but Britton did his job by retiring the tandem. The last out of the inning came when Jarrod Saltalamacchia caught Brett Gardner trying to steal second.
"He did a very good job," Farrell said of Britton. "That wasn't the ideal situation to make your debut in or how you draw it up. In that left-handed spot, he threw strikes. He's got a quick arm. He kept the emotion in that first setting and first experience well under control."
Though it came in a 5-2 loss, the performance was a positive first impression for Britton. Having lost three relievers -- Andrew Bailey, Andrew Miller and Joel Hanrahan -- for the rest of the season, the Boston bullpen needs help, and general manager Ben Cherington said he'd prefer if that help came from within the organization.
If Britton or other new arrivals like Jose De La Torre and Pedro Beato can prove themselves as worthy replacements, Cherington won't have to go shopping before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
One game certainly won't be the determining factor for Britton, but it was an encouraging start, Farrell said.
"He's got one Major League appearance," Farrell said. "He showed good stuff. He's here now, so he's going to get opportunities."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Michael Periatt is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.