Price to return Friday; Sale likely next week
ATLANTA -- The aces are getting healthy for the Red Sox.
David Price will return to action when he starts the opener of Friday's big three-game series against the Astros at Fenway Park. The lefty was struck on his pitching wrist by a batted ball last Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Chris Sale, who is on the disabled list for the second time with mild inflammation in his left elbow, threw a bullpen session before Tuesday's game against the Braves.
Sale is expected to throw one more bullpen over the weekend at Fenway Park, and he should be an "opener" for the Red Sox at some point next week against the Blue Jays or Mets.
The hope is that Sale and Price can pick up right where they left off before the injuries.
Sale is having a Cy Young-caliber season, going 12-4 with an American League-low 1.97 ERA. He has 146 innings thus far, so it will be interesting to see how the time missed impacts him on the ballot.
Price is 14-6 with a 3.60 ERA and is having the best of his three seasons with the Red Sox.
In other rotation news, Hector Velazquez will come out of the bullpen to start Wednesday's finale of this seven-game road trip against the Braves. Thomas Pomeranz will most likely log some bullpen innings in that game.
Phillips enthusiastic upon arrival
Veteran Brandon Phillips finally got back to a Major League clubhouse on Tuesday, as the Red Sox added him to the roster in what is expected to be their final September callup. He will fill in at second and third base when needed.
Despite a solid 2017 season split between the Angels and Braves, Phillips couldn't find work as a free agent over the offseason before the Red Sox signed him to a Minor League deal in June.
"You have to trust the process," Phillips said. "I was at the house working hard like it was Spring Training. It was just nice to see the Boston Red Sox give me an opportunity to see my dream keep on going. It feels good just to be here."
Phillips, who might start at second base on Wednesday, is the first player in Red Sox history to wear No. 0.
"No. 4 is retired here, No. 7, one of my teammates [Christian Vazquez] has that. I was going to pay him for it but then I was like, 'Uh, they're playing good baseball, let me leave it alone.'" Phillips said. "And then I was going to have No. 44 because it was two 4's, and I was like, 'Uh, one of my teammates [Brandon Workman] has that number, too.' So I said, 'They're playing good baseball, so I'll leave that alone.' So I just asked myself what is the weirdest number you have up there? And he was like, 'Let me look,' and he said, 'Zero.' And I said, 'Get me that.' I'm happy with zero."
But Phillips would love to erase the zero from one category in his career, and he thinks he might be in the right place to do it.
"It would be nice to have some bling bling on my finger, too, so that's basically it," Phillips said.
Cora, Pedroia to huddle on Thursday
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who has played just three games this season due to recurring problems with his left knee, will meet with Alex Cora for dinner on Thursday night to discuss a possible role for the veteran down the stretch.
Pedroia has been keeping his manager up to speed on his rehab by sending him videos from Arizona.
"The last thing he sent me was agility drills and all that stuff," Cora said. "He's been running. Besides that, I don't have too much. He looks good."
Whether or not Pedroia is cleared to return to action, it will be an interesting dynamic in the clubhouse with three of the most accomplished second basemen of this era all on the same team.
"Three of the best of the last 10 years with Ian [Kinsler], Brandon and Pedey, that will be cool having them and talking about how they do things and all that," said Cora. "That will be great for everybody."
Holt again nominated for Clemente Award
For the third time in the last four years, utility man Brock Holt is the Red Sox's nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award, given annually to a player who best represents the game through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions.
Holt is legendary around the Red Sox for the time he has spent with patients at the cancer-fighting The Jimmy Fund.
"He's been great," Cora said of Holt. "Actually, I think that's one of the most prestigious awards in the big leagues. Forget the player -- he was amazing. He was probably the best player out of Puerto Rico. But what he did off the field, unreal.
"For these guys who get nominated for this, it means a lot. In the end, they're baseball players for 10 years. That's it. And those are the lucky ones, honestly. But you still have to get involved with the community. Your roots show throughout your life.
"For him to be that type of person, I'm very proud of him. He brings joy here. He's sarcastic. He's a good teammate. And he cares about the Red Sox."