Martinez is headed to DL
Catcher expected to avoid surgery
Victor Martinez will not require surgery to repair the fractured bone in his left thumb. But a team source said the Red Sox would place the catcher on the 15-day disabled list today after meeting with him.
Two foul tips during Sunday’s game against San Francisco resulted in Martinez breaking the distal phalanx at the tip of his thumb. By placing him on the DL now, Martinez would miss only 11 games before the Sox host Texas July 15, the day after the All-Star break.
The fracture, at the midpoint of the bone, is minimally displaced and is expected to heal on its own by then.
Martinez is hitting .289 with nine home runs and 38 RBIs.
The Sox are comfortable having Jason Varitek catch until Martinez returns. Gustavo Molina is expected to be called up from Triple A to serve as Varitek’s backup. Molina, who was not in the lineup for Pawtucket last night, has 19 games of major league experience, none since 2008.
Pawtucket’s two regular catchers, Dusty Brown and Mark Wagner, are on the disabled list with hand injuries.
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who broke a bone in his left foot on Friday, was examined by team medical director Thomas Gill and will not require surgery. He is expected to miss six weeks. That would have him back early in August.
Clay Buchholz, who strained his lower left hamstring running the bases on Saturday, has not been scheduled for a start this week. But the Sox said they have no plans to place him on the DL after evaluating results of an MRI yesterday.
The Sox will not need a fifth starter until July 6 and Buchholz is being prepared to start his next game on or around that day.
The 27-year-old Patterson is not an accomplished player, having hit .224 with an on-base percentage of .301 in parts of four seasons with the Cubs and Athletics. He was designated for assignment a week ago.
But the Sox do plan to give the lefthanded hitter a chance to platoon at second base with the righthanded-hitting Bill Hall.
“We want to get him here and work him out at second. What he really gives, hopefully, is a lot of versatility,’’ manager Terry Francona said Sunday. “He can play the outfield; he can play second. Billy can kind of do the same things. Maybe they complement each other.’’
Hall has hit righthanders better than lefthanders this season. But for his career, he has an .803 OPS against lefties, 76 points higher than against righthanders. Patterson has a career .674 OPS against righthanders.
The Sox are impressed with Patterson’s athleticism, ability to play center field, and base-running skills. He is seen as a good fit on the bench once Pedroia returns.
The Rays led the American League East by six games May 23. They are now in third place, three games behind the Yankees and a game behind the Sox.
The teams have played seven games this season. The Rays swept four at Fenway Park in April, outscoring the Red Sox by 15 runs. The Sox then swept a three-game series at Tropicana Field in May, outscoring the Rays by 15 runs.
The teams meet again in Florida for three games starting Monday.
John Lackey starts for the Sox tonight. He is 4-0 with a 4.15 ERA in his last six starts. His only loss at Fenway this season came against the Rays April 19. Tampa Bay starter James Shields is 0-6 with a 7.12 ERA in his last six starts. Shields is 1-6 with a 7.53 ERA in seven career starts at Fenway.