Red Sox Notebook

Atchison and Hill pitch in

Relievers get call in middle of night

RICH HILL 1 1/3 scoreless innings, 2 Ks RICH HILL
1 1/3 scoreless innings, 2 Ks
By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / May 6, 2011

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Having exhausted their bullpen in a 13-inning game Wednesday night that included a rain delay of 2 hours 35 minutes and took more than 7 1/2 hours to complete, the Red Sox summoned some reinforcements from Pawtucket.

Lefthander Rich Hill and righthander Scott Atchison got phone calls from PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler at 3:30 a.m. yesterday, notifying them of the moves.

“You never like getting phone calls at that hour,’’ Atchison said. “But that was a good one.’’

The Sox needed almost every hand on deck to get through that 5-3 loss to the Angels that ended at 2:45 a.m. They used eight pitchers, including Daisuke Matsuzaka, who was pressed into service and made his first career relief appearance after Bobby Jenks’s right biceps cramped while he warmed up.

To make room for Hill and Atchison on the roster, Jenks and Dan Wheeler (left calf strain) were placed on the 15-day disabled list. Jenks had an MRI and his arm was deemed structurally sound, according to manager Terry Francona, though there was some tendinitis.

The manager also said Wheeler’s left calf “had been bugging him for a couple of days,’’ but Wheeler said it had nothing to do with his performance in the marathon loss (two runs, two hits, and a walk in a third of an inning).

“We don’t think it’s something that’s going to linger,’’ Francona said. “But we also have to have guys in the bullpen finish the game.’’

Which prompted the call-up of Hill and Atchison, both of whom pitched in yesterday’s 11-0 loss.

“They both did what we asked them to do [in Pawtucket],’’ said Francona. “They were late cuts and they were tough ones. They were disappointed, but neither one of them pouted. They went and did their job.’’

“Last night was tough on the team,’’ said Atchison, who gave up three runs in 3 2/3 innings yesterday, “so I just tried to get in there and eat as many innings as I could, and get us as deep into it so we didn’t have to use as many guys as possible.’’

Afterward, Atchison packed his belongings and headed out of the clubhouse with his equipment bag slung over his shoulder. He was likely headed to Scranton, Pa., to rejoin the PawSox. The Sox are expected to call up righthander Alfredo Aceves, who was scratched from his start with Pawtucket last night.

Since Hill is out of options and cannot be sent back down without being exposed to waivers, Atchison was the logical choice.

“There’s not too many things you can control when you go out there on the mound,’’ said Hill, who pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings yesterday, allowing one hit while recording a pair of strikeouts. “But you can control your attitude and the way you attack the hitters.

“With that confidence out there on the mound, it’s one thing you can bring out there every time. So when you’re sitting there waiting to find out what happens — are you going to make the team or are you not going to make the team? — you still have that control.’’

Rotation reordered Francona sorted out his rotation for the four-game series against the Twins that starts tonight and will conclude this 11-game homestand. Tim Wakefield will start tonight in what would have been Matsuzaka’s spot had he not had to make the relief appearance. Clay Buchholz, for whom Wakefield made a spot start last Sunday, will start tomorrow afternoon’s game, and Matsuzaka will return for Sunday’s game. Francona said Matsuzaka lobbied to start tonight’s game, but the manager resisted. “He’s a competitor, and he’d like to, but sometimes you’ve got to take the decision out of their hands,’’ Francona said. Jon Lester is scheduled to pitch Monday.

Rest for Pedroia While Dustin Pedroia has playfully threatened Francona if he ever sat him out of a game, Francona took the opportunity yesterday to give the second baseman his first day off of the season. In the 13 innings of Wednesday’s game, Pedroia went 0 for 6 with a career-high four strikeouts. For the homestand, Pedroia is 3 for 26. “We only want to give Pedey a day off when he needs it,’’ said Francona. “He’s such a good player, even when he’s not swinging the bat like he can, but he needs it. He needs one. He plays so hard, he’s so all out. With a quick turnaround, this was good for him.’’

Drew is back J.D. Drew, who sat out the marathon against the Angels after suffering from vertigo, returned to the lineup yesterday and went 0 for 2 with a pair of walks. “He called us in the morning and said he was feeling a lot better,’’ Francona said . . . While Adrian Gonzalez saw his 11-game hitting streak come to an end as he went 0 for 4, Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to 14 games, longest in the American League right now. Ellsbury singled to right in his final at-bat, in the eighth. He is batting .350 over the streak . . . Told that the Angels had exacted a pound of flesh from the Sox with Wednesday night’s win, manager Mike Scioscia said, “They’ve exacted about three pounds of flesh from us.’’

Nick Cafardo of the Globe staff contributed to his report. Michael Vega can be reached at

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