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After Pearce, Dombrowski plans next moves

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

NEW YORK -- With a month to go before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is eyeing pitching, most likely for the bullpen.

As for position players, Dombrowski is pleased with his roster, even if second baseman Dustin Pedroia can't make it back from the disabled list due to recurring inflammation in his left knee. The club will have a better idea on a prognosis for Pedroia after his consultation with Dr. Riley Williams in New York on Monday.

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NEW YORK -- With a month to go before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is eyeing pitching, most likely for the bullpen.

As for position players, Dombrowski is pleased with his roster, even if second baseman Dustin Pedroia can't make it back from the disabled list due to recurring inflammation in his left knee. The club will have a better idea on a prognosis for Pedroia after his consultation with Dr. Riley Williams in New York on Monday.

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With the current second-base combo of Eduardo Nunez and Brock Holt possibly bolstered by recently signed veteran Brandon Phillips -- who is working his way back into playing shape in Fort Myers, Fla. -- Dombrowski thinks the Red Sox are fine at the position.

Video: Red Sox sign Brandon Phillips to Minor League deal

When it comes to pitching, things are a little murkier. Righty reliever Tyler Thornburg has been up and down in his Minor League rehab assignment in his lengthy battle to return from surgery to repair thoracic outlet syndrome in his right shoulder.

Righty Steven Wright, like Pedroia, is dealing with more inflammation in a surgically repaired left knee. Lefty Drew Pomeranz, who was shaky in his eight starts that came in between trips to the DL, could be back soon.

The progress of those pitchers could determine how aggressive Dombrowski is in pursuing an arm outside the organization. In particular, the Red Sox could use a power lefty to complement their strong righty trio of Craig Kimbrel, Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes.

Video: LAA@BOS: Kimbrel escapes big jam, notches 23rd save

Dombrowski was pleased to get a jump-start on trade season when he acquired veteran right-handed bat Steve Pearce from the Blue Jays on Thursday.

"One of the things as a general manager that you know, once you address a weakness, you always have the next weakness, because there's no perfect club," Dombrowski said. "So the way I look at it, a lot is dependent on some of our injured players at this time, because we have some guys that are close to coming back."

As Dombrowski has proved numerous times in his career, he will do whatever it takes to improve his team at this time of year. Would going over the next luxury-tax threshold of $237 million preclude him from making a high-impact move?

Dombrowski has already broached the topic with ownership.

"I think it's important to know, and I think we'd all, as I've said, prefer to not go over [$237 million], because there's a reason they call it a penalty," he said. "You can get penalized financially, you can get penalized by losing 10 spots in the Draft. But I also think we're trying to win a [World Series] championship, and so is ownership. We have a chance to. Who knows what's going to take place? And that's not going to be a deterrent for us if we have to. Would I prefer not to? Sure. I'd prefer to not be over 197, too, but we're way above there."

The Red Sox figure to be in a fight with the Yankees for the American League East title all summer long. Would that give Dombrowski extra incentive to make a big move?

"I can't control what they're going to do -- they have a good club," Dombrowski said. "I talked to [Yankees GM] Brian [Cashman] yesterday [on the field] for an extended period, I read the articles. I think probably other than us, he's calling all the other clubs in baseball and talking to other clubs in baseball, as we are. Today's a Saturday, and I'm on the phone with a lot of calls at this time of year. It's just that time of year.

"People are calling, and you just kind of check in and make sure they know what's taking place and vice versa. The one thing with us is, we're going to try to be the best club we can, regardless of what the Yankees do. And we all know that they have a really good team."

Is there a move out there that could help the Red Sox separate themselves from the Yankees?

"Well, I'm not sure what it would be," Dombrowski said. "We can be open to it, sure. I guess you're always open to it. But I'm not sure what it would be at this point. They're going to win a bunch of ballgames. We're going to win a bunch of ballgames. I'm not sure what the separator would be. I would think it would be incremental-type changes rather than a huge change we make, that'd be my instinct."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

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