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Wright exits first rehab start with stiff back

Poyner set for second outing with Triple-A Pawtucket
Special to MLB.com

OAKLAND -- Veteran knuckleballer Steven Wright, who is recovering from left knee surgery that he underwent in May, was removed from his first rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket Friday night after experiencing stiffness in his back.

Wright had thrown 61 pitches in 2 2/3 innings against the Gwinnett Stripers. He had been slated to throw six innings, with an 80-pitch limit.

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OAKLAND -- Veteran knuckleballer Steven Wright, who is recovering from left knee surgery that he underwent in May, was removed from his first rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket Friday night after experiencing stiffness in his back.

Wright had thrown 61 pitches in 2 2/3 innings against the Gwinnett Stripers. He had been slated to throw six innings, with an 80-pitch limit.

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Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced Wright's rehab assignment on Wednesday, but the timetable for Wright's return to the Red Sox remains unclear. The 33-year-old right-hander started the season on the 10-day disabled list following a platelet-rich plasma injection at the site of his surgery.

Wright notched three strikeouts and two walks while allowing three runs (two earned) against Gwinnett on five hits. He exited after allowing a walk and three singles in the third, including a single and a run scored by Ronald Acuna, MLB Pipeline's No. 2 prospect in baseball.

Upon his return, Wright will need to serve a 15-game suspension for a violation of Major League Baseball's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.

Poyner set to make second rehab appearance

Rookie left-hander Bobby Poyner will make the second appearance of his rehab assignment on Saturday for Triple-A Pawtucket, Cora announced Friday.

The Red Sox have not determined if he will join the team for the upcoming series in Toronto.

"He has [an outing] tomorrow, and then we'll make a decision," Cora said.

Poyner started and pitched one inning for Double-A Portland on Thursday in his first rehab appearance, allowing one hit and striking out one batter. He threw 12 of his 19 pitches for strikes.

The 25-year-old was placed on the 10-day disabled list on April 12 for a left hamstring strain. He was 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA over seven innings in six relief appearances after making his first Major League roster following a strong Spring Training, during which he recorded an 0.87 ERA with eight strikeouts and a walk over 10 outings.

Pedroia to join team at home

Second baseman Dustin Pedroia will leave extended spring training and rejoin the Red Sox in Boston next week, as he did last homestand, but his return to action remains undecided. Pedroia has been out after undergoing left knee surgery in October.

Cora may have given a hint as to when the veteran second baseman could potentially return.

"He's doing everything, but it's like the beginning of Spring Training for him," Cora said.

Walden optioned to Triple-A

Right-hander Marcus Walden was optioned to Pawtucket following Thursday's 8-2 win over the Angels to make room for Drew Pomeranz, who was activated before starting Friday night's game against the Athletics in Oakland.

Walden, 29, made his first career Major League Opening Day roster after attending Spring Training with the Red Sox as a non-roster invitee. He has appeared in seven big league games over two stints with Boston, posting a 4.09 ERA in 11 innings and a .220 opponent batting average with 10 strikeouts and three walks. Walden earned Pawtucket's Most Valuable Pitcher Award in 2017, his first season in the Red Sox organization. In 218 career Minor League games (117 of them starts), he is 46-45 with a 3.84 ERA.

Do-Hyoung Park is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area.

Boston Red Sox, Bobby Poyner, Steven Wright