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Fister to 'pen as Sox shift to 5-man rotation

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- After going with a six-man rotation for the first week coming out of the All-Star break, the Red Sox are going back to a traditional alignment that will lead to veteran starter Doug Fister moving to the bullpen.

After starting Thursday's game against the Blue Jays, the righty won't be ready to pitch in relief until at least Sunday, and Monday is probably more realistic.

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BOSTON -- After going with a six-man rotation for the first week coming out of the All-Star break, the Red Sox are going back to a traditional alignment that will lead to veteran starter Doug Fister moving to the bullpen.

After starting Thursday's game against the Blue Jays, the righty won't be ready to pitch in relief until at least Sunday, and Monday is probably more realistic.

View Full Game Coverage

Of Fister's 217 career appearances, 14 have come in relief. Since joining the Red Sox as a waiver pickup from the Angels, Fister is 0-4 with a 7.89 ERA in five appearances, four of which were starts.

"He's been an extraordinary strike-thrower throughout the course of his career," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We had a chance to sit and talk a little bit earlier today and you look at the start he made in Texas, where a lot of his misses were up above the strike zone. He made a tangible adjustment where yesterday, granted there were misses, but they're below the strike zone where he has got to miss. That's where he needs to live."

How will the Red Sox deploy Fister?

"It would be more long relief at this point," Farrell said. "Hopefully in the coming days we're able to reset, get another position player here to balance some things out. That's the plan as we sit here today."

Worth noting

• Three relievers who could be key to the Red Sox down the stretch took steps in their recovery on Friday. Side-winder Carson Smith threw a side session in Anaheim and is projected to throw another one on Monday in Seattle. Smith is on the comeback trail from Tommy John surgery he underwent last May.

Joe Kelly, who has been Boston's best setup man most of the season, threw some long toss at Fenway Park. The hard-throwing righty strained his left hamstring and was placed on the disabled list on July 15.

Righty Blaine Boyer (right elbow strain) should be back before Smith or Kelly.

"Boyer threw another bullpen here today, threw all pitches, 24 pitches here today and he came out of that feeling good," said Farrell. "He's first eligible on Wednesday in Seattle and it's possible he could be ready for that timeframe."

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

Boston Red Sox, Doug Fister