By Maureen Mullen
BOSTON - After using eight pitchers in Wednesday night's/Thursday morning's loss to the Angels, including every available reliever except Bobby Jenks, and Daisuke Matsuzaka who took the loss in the 13th inning, the Red Sox needed bullpen reinforcements for Thursday's afternoon game.
Help arrived from Triple-A Pawtucket in the form of left-hander Rich Hill and right-hander Scott Atchison. It is the first appearance on the major league roster this season for both. To make room for them on the roster, the Sox placed right-handers Bobby Jenks (right biceps strain) and Dan Wheeler (left calf strain) on the 15-day disabled list.
In his last two outings, Jenks has suffered two blown saves and a loss, falling to 1-2 with a 9.35 ERA. Wheeler has an ERA of 11.32 and has given up a combined two home runs and five earned runs in his last two outings, spanning 2 2/3 innings.
"After the game we talked to Bobby Jenks," manager Terry Francona said. "We're going to get him looked at today and get him checked out. I don't think anybody thinks it's anything serious. When you go through a night like last night though and guys aren't available, you have to [make moves]. We're going to put him on the disabled list. We talked to him about that last night.
"Wheels, his left calf has been bugging him for a couple of days. I don't think it's something that's going to linger but we also have to have enough guys in the bullpen to finish the game. So we talked to him also."
It is the first time in his career that Wheeler has gone on the DL.
"I don't know how to explain it," Wheeler said of going on the DL. "It's frustrating. That's one thing I do, I pride myself on being able to come every day and be ready.
"It's just kind of strained a little bit so they're just kind of being cautious . . . That's the right way to go, get it good and healed up. It's not going to be an issue."
Wheeler said the calf - or any physical issue - has not been the reason for his struggles this season.
"I feel good," he said. "There's just a couple of pitches here or there that I'm getting hurt on. So I just want to make sure I refine that and maybe focus a little bit."
Atchison is 1-0 with one save, a 1.04 ERA, and 17 strikeouts over nine appearances spanning 17 1/3 innings. He started the PawSox Opening Night game in place of Alfredo Aceves who was called up earlier that day. Hill, a native of Milton, Mass., is 1-0 with one save and a 1.13 ERA over 10 appearances spanning 16 innings.
Atchison and Hill got the news about 3:30 Thursday morning when Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler called them.
"I thought it was my alarm at first, to be honest, because I was waking up at probably about 6:00," Atchison said. "I was kind of like, 'Whoa, why is my alarm going off so early?' And then I rolled over and saw it was Arnie's number. Usually when you get a call at 3:30 in the morning from a Triple-A manager it's probably a good phone call. So you answer that."
Neither Hill nor Atchison has been told specifically how he will be used.
"I would guess after what little bit I've seen of what happened last night that it could be at any point," Atchison said. "You just never know. So I'll be ready to go from the start of it. That's the role I've been in before and kind of expect the same kind of thing."
Dustin Pedroia is not in the starting lineup today. Marco Scutaro will play second base, batting ninth. Jed Lowrie is playing shortstop, batting sixth. Pedroia has, uncharacteristically, been struggling at the plate recently. He is just 6 for last 50 (.120) since April 21, with four runs, four RBI, six walks,13 strikeouts, 24 runners left on base, and no extra-base hits.
In that span, his average fell from .333 to .241. He had a career-high four strikeouts last night. "He needs it," Francona said. "We only want to give Pedey days off when he needs it because he's such a good player even when he's not swinging the bat like he
can, but he needs it. It'll be good for him. He plays so hard and he's so all out that on a night like last night with the quick turnaround, this'll be good for him."
Before Thursday's game, Francona was unsure if Matsuzaka would make his scheduled start Friday, but said, "My guess is no."
J.D. Drew, who was bothered by vertigo and was unavailable for Wednesday's game, was back in the starting lineup Thursday. He has dealt with the ailment for several years.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http://twitter.com/maureenamullen.