BOS@TB: Victorino exits game with hamstring strain

BOSTON -- Shane Victorino went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts in his first rehab start for Single-A Lowell Thursday night. He batted leadoff and played five innings in right field.

Victorino is scheduled to play every day through the weekend before the All-Star break --- Thursday and Friday with Lowell, then Saturday and Sunday with Triple-A Pawtucket.

This is the second rehab assignment Victorino has started in the last three weeks. On June 24, playing for Pawtucket while recovering from a right hamstring injury, Victorino suffered a slipped disc in his back and shut that assignment down. Now, he's started another one.

No one is more frustrated by the delay than Victorino himself, as he watches the Red Sox struggle.

"There's no reason for me to say how frustrated I am," he said last week. "If there's a bigger culprit for what has gone on to this point, I'm at the top of the list by not being out there."

Victorino missed the first 22 games of this season with a strained hamstring and hit the DL again in late May when he aggravated it. The outfielder is batting .242/.276/.352 in 21 games in 2014.

Despite being out of action, Victorino has remained engaged. On Wednesday night, as the Red Sox erased a four-run deficit in the final two innings to beat the White Sox, Victorino was at the top of the dugout, cheering on his teammates while waving a towel.

"Well, we haven't given him a set of pom-poms yet," manager John Farrell said. "But he's brought energy to any team he's been on. Even in the role, unfortunately where he's inactive, he's still talking to teammates on the bench. He's still talking the game. He's still an energetic personality despite being on the DL -- just because he cares."

Farrell yet to map out pitching plan for All-Star Game

Pair of Red Sox selected to 2014 All-Star team

BOSTON -- Red Sox manager John Farrell said on Thursday that he hasn't begun to map out how he will use the 13 pitchers on the American League All-Star team, including ace Jon Lester.

With Lester starting Thursday's finale against the White Sox, the left-hander would be on normal rest to pitch in Tuesday's Midsummer Classic.

Farrell did mention that pitching in the game could act like a bullpen session for Lester.

"The one thing we don't have is the rotation coming out of the break," Farrell said. "If there is the thought of giving additional rest, we'll plan Jon Lester out with the thought that he would pitch on Tuesday."

Whether it's Lester or the other 12 pitchers on the AL All-Star staff, Farrell doesn't anticipate anyone tossing more than one inning.

"Hopefully, we can get as many players on the field so they can say that they played in the All-Star game. We are trying to balance that with winning the game," Farrell said.

"It will be important to talk to every pitcher who is going to be there and get a sense of what they are dealing with and when they most recently pitched."

Worth noting

• While Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said on Wednesday that he wouldn't rule out Xander Bogaerts returning to shortstop sometime this season, Farrell said Thursday that it would take plenty of factors before that would be considered.

"We don't want to move Xander back and forth. We want some stability defensively," Farrell said. "Until that combination of players changes, we'll stay as is."

Jackie Bradley Jr. has saved the fourth-most defensive runs of any outfielder in baseball, according to fangraphs.com. The statistics and Bradley's play on the field show the rookie is a difference-maker in center, and despite inconsistency at the plate, Farrell is happy with where Bradley is --- even if he isn't necessarily being recognized league-wide yet.

"Sometimes the Gold Glove awards aren't defensive, solely. I think there's some bias when you factor in the offensive production. That's kind of just history, as it shows," Farrell said. "He's playing at a level defensively that you can stack up against anyone in the game. It's great to see his confidence play out on the defensive side of things."

On Wednesday night, Bradley made likely his finest catch of the year and one of the best of the Major League season when he laid out at full extension to snag a line drive in the right-center field gap. He immediately broke left after the ball was hit and needed to be nearly perfect to make the play.

David Ross and Christian Vazquez will alternate starts behind the plate until the All-Star break, Farrell said. Vazquez made his Major League debut Wednesday when the club designated A.J. Pierzynski for assignment, and Ross was in the lineup Thursday, catching Jon Lester. Vazquez is expected to start Friday in Houston.

Farrell said he's not exactly sure how the playing time for Vazquez and Ross will be split following the break.

"We fully expect or anticipate a playing split, the times per week to be three for Ross and four for Vazquez as a little bit of a guide," said Farrell.