Red Sox notebook

Pedroia hurts thumb again

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / July 5, 2012
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OAKLAND, Calif. — Dustin Pedroia missed Wednesday’s game against Oakland after reinjuring his right thumb when he dived for a ball on Tuesday night.

The second baseman will be examined in Boston on Thursday.

“After the game I was sore and then today I’m pretty sore,” Pedroia said before the Red Sox were beaten, 3-2, by the Athletics. “It’s not in the area where I first got hurt . . . I don’t know what happened. Bobby [Valentine] wanted me to not play today because we have an offday tomorrow. Hopefully, everything will be OK.”

Said Valentine, “I think he needs these two days and so does he.”

Pedroia said the latest injury is on the back part of his thumb. He tore a muscle on the inner half of his thumb near his palm May 28 and missed six games. He has hit .210 with seven extra-base hits in 105 at-bats since.

“It’s pretty frustrating,” Pedroia said. “I have a high pain tolerance, but I don’t know.”

Pedroia was told not to swing a bat on Wednesday.

With Pedroia out, Nick Punto played second base and 27-year-old rookie Mauro Gomez was at third in his first major league start.

Gomez last played third base in Single A in 2009 when he was in the Texas organization. Gomez played 71 games at third from 2004-09 and committed 31 errors. He then was moved to first base.

“He came up as a third baseman, been working out there all year,” Valentine said. “I guess as much [experience] as anybody else who’s on our roster . . . What are we going to do?”

Gomez was 1 for 4 Wednesday and handled two chances cleanly. He also had his first major league hit, a double in the second inning. Punto was 0 for 2 with a walk. He is hitting .180.

Brent Lillibridge has played 11 games at third base during his major league career, starting seven. He started six games (48 innings) at third for the White Sox this season without committing an error. But Lillibridge is hitting .155.

Rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks has missed three games with a strained left hamstring. He has yet to work out on the field but has felt better each day.

“I want to play and I want to give it a go,” he said. “It’s better than it was. We’ll see on Friday. But I want to try.”

Given that he is not on the disabled list, the Red Sox apparently feel Middlebrooks may be able to play this weekend against the Yankees.

“I don’t know,” Valentine said. “I hope.”

History lesson

The loss dampened the celebration for David Ortiz, whose solo home run to right field in the fourth inning was the 400th of his career.

The blast came off Oakland rookie A.J. Griffin.

Ortiz is the 49th player in history with 400 and one of eight active players. Two players have hit their 400th home runs this season, Ortiz and Paul Konerko of the White Sox. Both milestone shots came in Oakland. Konerko hit his April 25 off Grant Balfour.

Ortiz joined Red Sox Hall of Famers Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski in hitting their 400th homers against the Athletics.

Williams hit his July 17, 1956, against the Kansas City Athletics at Fenway Park. Yastrzemski hit his July 24, 1979, against the Oakland Athletics, also at Fenway.

Another Sox Hall of Famer, Jimmie Foxx, hit his 500th home run Sept. 24, 1940, against the Philadelphia A’s.

Ortiz is the first player to hit his 400th home run in a Red Sox uniform since Manny Ramirez in 2005.

Ortiz has hit 21 homers against the A’s, eight in Oakland, and Griffin was the 273d pitcher he has connected against.

Rehab report

Jacoby Ellsbury batted first and played seven innings in center field for Double A Portland at New Hampshire Tuesday night, going 1 for 5. Carl Crawford batted second and played six innings in left field, going 2 for 4 with an RBI.

It was the second rehab game with Portland for Crawford (left wrist, left elbow), the first for Ellsbury (right shoulder). They are expected back after the All-Star break.

Ryan Sweeney is expected to join Portland Thursday to start his rehab assignment. He has been on the DL since June 17 with a left big toe fracture.

Scott Podsednik, who has played in four rehab games for Triple A Pawtucket, is “pretty close” to returning to the majors, according to Valentine. He is on the DL with a groin strain.

McDonald a Yankee

The Yankees claimed outfielder Darnell McDonald off waivers and will have him in uniform for Friday’s game at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox designated McDonald for assignment Saturday. He hit .214 with a .678 OPS in 38 games.

McDonald’s brother, Donzell, played five games for the Yankees in 2001.

With the Red Sox scheduled to pitch three lefthanders in the four-game series, McDonald could get some at-bats against his former team. The Yankees have been using Andruw Jones and Dewayne Wise as their backup outfielders.

Germano arrives

Justin Germano helped Samsung win the Korean League championship last season and was prepared to spend another season in Asia before he received their contract offer.

“I wanted to go back, but had some sour negotiations,” he said. “By the time they got serious, I had made my mind up to sign with the Red Sox. I felt it was a good opportunity.”

Germano, 29, was 9-4 with a 2.40 earned run average in 17 games (16 starts) for Pawtucket. In 105 innings, Germano allowed only 82 hits and 13 walks while striking out 72.

“I’ve been pretty consistent. Throwing strikes, but I’ve always thrown strikes. I’ve been on the same plane,” he said. “There really hasn’t been much of a roller coaster.”

Germano is 8-20, 5.02 in 79 career major league appearances with the Padres, Reds, and Indians over parts of six seasons starting in 2004. His last major league appearance was May 16, 2011.

Germano threw a perfect game for Triple A Columbus last season. He then ended the season in Korea, going 5-1, 2.78 for Samsung. Germano also pitched in Japan in 2009.

Righty Clayton Mortensen was optioned after Tuesday’s game. He went five innings on Monday (71 pitches).

Losing move

The Sox have lost 20 of their last 27 games in Oakland . . . The Sox are 5-9 against the AL West this season . . . The Sox are 89-67 on July 4 . . . Former Red Sox outfielder Brandon Moss has hit 10 home runs in 24 games for Oakland. Only Dave Kingman (11 in 1984) has hit more in his first 24 games for the Athletics.

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.

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