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Betts ready to play, but weather delays return

September 18, 2018

NEW YORK -- The wet grounds at Yankee Stadium didn't merely push Tuesday's gametime back by six hours, but it also postponed the return of Red Sox star right fielder Mookie Betts.After experiencing soreness on his left side that forced him to exit Sunday's win over the Mets in the

NEW YORK -- The wet grounds at Yankee Stadium didn't merely push Tuesday's gametime back by six hours, but it also postponed the return of Red Sox star right fielder Mookie Betts.
After experiencing soreness on his left side that forced him to exit Sunday's win over the Mets in the seventh inning, Betts was scheduled to return on Tuesday, but manager Alex Cora instead opted to hold him out until Wednesday.
"He's doing OK," said Cora. "I think the weather kind of, like, pushed me to not play him today. He was supposed to play center field as of nine in the morning today, that was my lineup. He was playing center, Jackie [Bradley Jr.] was playing left, which I was very excited about. With the weather, it doesn't make any sense, not even to DH him. He's not playing today, we'll stay away from him and we'll go from there."

Though Betts spent a stint on the disabled list in late May and early June with a left side injury, he is confident his latest ailment is nothing that will linger.
"It's night and day," Betts said. "I couldn't really swing and do anything really. Hitting is absolutely fine. Throwing is still fine. It's just that max effort throw in that area. Everything is feeling great, so whenever my name is in there I'll go out and play."
Betts exited Sunday's game after making consecutive throws home.
"I felt it more on the first one than the second one," said Betts. "My body didn't really let me throw. I guess it was protecting myself. It turns out everything is good and I'll be ready to go."
Sale plan taking shape
The Red Sox are leaning toward giving ace Chris Sale one extra day of rest leading into his third start back from the disabled list, as Sale now expects to take the ball on Saturday night against the Indians.
"Most likely it's going to be Saturday," said Cora. "And it has nothing to do with health, it's just being able to schedule everything. We'll talk about it in the next few days and go from there."

Cora said that Sale will throw approximately 65 pitches in his next "opener."
Originally, the plan was for Sale to pitch on Friday in Cleveland and then make his final regular-season start a week from Wednesday at home against the Orioles.
If the Red Sox stick with that plan, Sale would make that last start on three days' rest. The alternative would be to face the Yankees in the final weekend of the regular season, which might not be the most ideal scenario given the chance the rivals meet again in the American League Division Series the following week.
"Well, that's what we're talking about, because we have to take care of other guys, too," said Cora. "Hopefully we can readjust the rotation in the coming days and go from there. We know we play New York in the last weekend of the series, and obviously if we [win the division title], there's a bigger chance we can play them also in October in the Division Series. There's a lot of talking, a lot of planning. Nothing set, but we'll figure out the next few days and let you guys know."
Barnes a week from returning
The Red Sox plan having key setup man Matt Barnes rejoin the bullpen during the final week of the regular season. Barnes will spend this week finishing his build-up in a return from left hip inflammation.
"We believe he'll throw a bullpen [session] tomorrow," said Cora, "and hopefully we can get him back during the week. [We've] got a plan mapped out for him. It's just a matter of how he comes out of the bullpen [session] tomorrow. Maybe a live BP. Get him back in action probably early next week."

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