BOSTON -- With continuing uncertainty about Clay Buchholz, it's no surprise the Red Sox will be out watching every starting pitcher available between now and July 31. But even though Buchholz hasn't been able to pitch since June 8 -- and even though there's still no target date for his return -- Red Sox people continue to insist finding another starter isn't their top concern.
The bullpen is, particularly with Friday's news that Andrew Bailey could be lost for the season with a shoulder injury that may require surgery.
The Red Sox seem satisfied with Koji Uehara as the closer, but injuries to Bailey, Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Miller have left what began the season as a deep bullpen now looking a little thin. General manager Ben Cherington has already traded for left-hander Matt Thornton, and he joins Craig Breslow and Junichi Tazawa as the main setup men for Uehara.
Hard-throwing youngsters Brandon Workman and Drake Britton are also possibilities. Workman warmed up in the late innings of a 4-2 win over the Yankees on Friday night, but he has been used as a starter, too.
Besides pitchers, the Red Sox have continued to watch the market for third basemen. It's believed they have strong interest in Michael Young, but the recent indications are that the Phillies don't plan to make him (or anyone else) available, as they've won enough games to have a chance themselves.
Aramis Ramirez of the Brewers would be another possibility at third base, but he's on the disabled list with a left knee problem. Brewers sources say that while there's some chance Ramirez will return in the middle of next week, it's also possible that he won't be back until right around July 31.
The Red Sox activated shortstop Stephen Drew from the disabled list Saturday, so Jose Iglesias started at third Saturday afternoon against the Yankees. Will Middlebrooks, who began the year as the Red Sox third baseman, remains at Triple-A Pawtucket. His so-so numbers there don't offer much encouragement, but some Red Sox people still hold out hope he can eventually figure things out.