ST. PETERSBURG -- The Red Sox should have Steven Wright's knuckleball as a weapon in their bullpen in September and perhaps into the postseason, depending on how the roster shakes out.Wright (or "Knucksie" for Players' Weekend) threw 35 pitches of live batting practice on Friday at Tropicana Field against two
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Red Sox should have Steven Wright's knuckleball as a weapon in their bullpen in September and perhaps into the postseason, depending on how the roster shakes out.
Wright (or "Knucksie" for Players' Weekend) threw 35 pitches of live batting practice on Friday at Tropicana Field against two Gulf Coast League prospects, marking his most important milestone yet in his attempted return to action.
:: Players' Weekend presented by Valspar Stain ::
The righty last pitched for the Red Sox on June 22 before he was shut down with inflammation in his surgically repaired left knee.
• Shop Players' Weekend gear
"Excellent," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Wright's session on Friday. "His stuff was good. Everybody was very impressed with the way he threw the ball. He said he feels good. We'll see how he reacts tonight, and we'll go from there."
The tentative plan is for Wright to go on a Minor League rehab assignment next week and be back in Boston's bullpen by early September.
Wright proved his value earlier this season when healthy, pitching to a 2.25 ERA in six relief appearances. In four starts, he was 1-1 with a 4.13 ERA.
Moreland still sore, iffy for weekend
A day after sliding into a cement base in front of a camera well while trying to make a catch, first baseman Mitch Moreland (2-Bags) was unsurprisingly not in the lineup for the Red Sox on Friday.
"A little sore, but it's a lot better than I was expecting," Moreland said. "I moved it around a little bit. The swelling's not really too bad. Do a little baseball activity see what happens and keep moving in the right direction."
Cora was taking a wait-and-see approach before committing to getting Moreland back in the lineup for the remainder of this three-game series on the turf of Tropicana Field, which concludes Sunday afternoon.
"Mitch is banged up a little bit," Cora said. "I mean, if you ask him, he's always great, but I'll try to stay away from him today. He was going to have an off-day anyway today, so just have to make sure he's OK, he's healthy. This is not the easiest surface to play on. So we'll take a look at him during the weekend and go from there."
Does Moreland think he might need a couple of more days of recovery?
"I don't ever like to say a couple of more days," Moreland said. "Right now, if I had to, I feel like I could grind through it. See how it goes the rest of the day and come in tomorrow and see how I'm feeling. It's definitely better than it was."
Betts makes DH debut
Friday marked the first time in the career of Red Sox star Mookie Betts (Mookie) that he started a game at designated hitter. You don't typically see such an athletic player in the DH role.
"Keep him off his feet," said Cora. "Playing J.D. [Martinez] in the outfield. J.D. is most likely playing right field today and tomorrow."
Cora is tentatively planning on getting Martinez (Flaco) a day off on Sunday, which would give him two in a row with the team not playing on Monday.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.