BALTIMORE -- Given their limited outfield production this season, any low-risk option looks pretty good to the Red Sox these days. And that's why general manager Ben Cherington signed veteran Andres Torres to a Minor League deal on Wednesday.
A switch-hitter with 650 games of Major League experience, Torres hasn't played since Aug. 21, 2013, when he was shut down with bone spurs in his left heel and wound up having surgery over the winter.
The 36-year-old Torres will start with Boston's short-season Class A affiliate in Lowell on Friday and work his way up the ladder before presumably getting a chance in Boston.
Aside from Brock Holt, who has played infield for his entire career before converting a couple of days ago, the Red Sox haven't had much production from the outfield.
Daniel Nava, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Grady Sizemore have all struggled and Shane Victorino has spent the majority of the season on the disabled list.
"Recognizing there's an injury in which he's coming back from, everything in his workouts right now suggest this is a worthy situation to take a look at," said manager John Farrell. "I think we've looked at all options to complement the majority of our left-handed-hitting outfielders and the strength of Daniel being on the left side. This is one guy that has that track record that fits that criteria. I can't say that it was a specific mold. It was also a case of, the possibilities that could be brought in and potentially provide an option of which to go to."
Torres, a fourth-round selection in the 1998 First-Year Player Draft, has played for Detroit, Texas, San Francisco and the New York Mets. He played 429 of his 650 big league games for the Giants, and he hasn't played in the Minors since 2012.
For Torres, his best season in the Majors was 2010, when he hit .268 with 16 homers and 63 RBIs and had an OPS of .823 for a San Francisco team that went on to win the World Series.
Middlebrooks, Victorino Pawtucket-bound for rehab
BALTIMORE -- The Red Sox have good news on the injury front. Third baseman Will Middlebrooks will open a Minor League rehab assignment for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday, and the club is "hopeful" that right fielder Shane Victorino will join him at some point this weekend.
Middlebrooks has been out since May 17 with a fractured right index finger. And Victorino, an invaluable performer last season, is in the midst of his second stint on the disabled list due to a right hamstring strain.
Given Boston's paltry offensive production in the outfield, Victorino's return in particularly could be significant.
"The last couple of days have been encouraging," said manager John Farrell. "Things have ramped up quite a bit. Like I said, hopefully some time on the weekend, he initiates a rehab assignment."
The Red Sox will need to determine a role for Middlebrooks when he returns, now that shortstop Stephen Drew is back with the club and Xander Bogaerts has moved to third.
"He took BP yesterday," said Farrell. "He's going to DH on Friday initially. He swung the bat, at least in a BP session, very well. We're still working to get full range of motion and I'm sure there will be some exam on that finger just to make sure that once he initiates a throwing program more in earnest, there's not going to be any pushback from it."
Bradley back in lineup, upbeat despite struggles
BALTIMORE -- You'd never know after talking to Jackie Bradley Jr. that he is hitting .203.
After receiving back-to-back days off by manager John Farrell so he could try to regroup offensively, the Red Sox center fielder seemed eager to get a chance to start proving himself again Wednesday against Orioles leftyWei-Yin Chen.
"I feel great," said Bradley. "The body feels great and we'll see. We'll let the play on the field take care of itself. I don't want to say this and that just because talk is cheap. We want to see some action."
Bradley has created plenty of action in center, making all the routine plays and quite a few spectacular ones. But his bat remains a work in progress.
Though Farrell was perhaps trying to take some pressure off Bradley by allowing him to sit for a couple of days, the center fielder seemed to be holding up just fine.
"It is what the lineup is," Bradley said. "Obviously everybody wants to be in there every single day, especially if your body permits it. if you're healthy, you want to play. You want guys who want to play every single day. That's how you get the best out of everybody. I guess it can be used however you want to take it. I definitely came back in here every day just working like if I was in the lineup. I think that's how you have to approach it."
Even if Bradley said he didn't need the time off, Farrell hopes it helps him.
"Well, with Jackie or other players who have had some challenging moments, you give them a chance to kind of clear their head, give them a chance to reinforce the things he's been working on with [hitting coaches Victor Rodriguez and Greg Colbrunn]," Farrell said. "And that's to be a little bit short on the ball and more than anything, control his effort level that can lead to some inconsistent hitting mechanics. That's what we intended."