Who's safe? Who's not?
Daisuke threw a rehab start for Pawtucket, and pitched well. 5 IP, 2 ER, 4 baserunners and 5 Ks. He has proclaimed himself ready to rejoin the rotation, and as pointed out by Buster Olney last night on BBTN, is on the same schedule now as Bartolo Colon, who left the game last night with back spasms.
Believe it or not, Colon's injury might actually be a little lucky for us. No? I'll be pompous for the moment and explain.
We have three starters who are not going to be displaced in the rotation anytime soon. Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Tim Wakefield are not going anywhere. Amidst all of that, tonight's starter, Justin Masterson, has pitched well, with a 1.06 WHIP and a 7.84 K/9. Would like to see him lower his walks, because the hit-rate of ~5.2 H/9 isn't sustainable. Nonetheless, he's given the Sox no reason (other than having options left) to kick him out of the rotation. Are there any OTMers, for example, who would like to see him sent back to AAA later this week?
However, the smart money was that Daisuke would come back and pitch in Masterson's slot, despite pitching on Colon's schedule. After all, while he hasn't been Cy-quality, Colon has pitched well enough for us, and certainly deserved another start or two to prove he wasn't a semi long-term option. Now, however, the back spasms. I anticipate this means that we might DL Colon for Daisuke in the next several days, which would allow us to keep Colon, as otherwise he might've had to be DFA'd. (I don't believe Colon has options left, and he's not really a good bullpen candidate at this point in his career)
In this case, we can now continue to keep Colon around as insurance, and when either ineffectiveness or growing concerns about inning totals start to make us more cautious about Masterson, Colon could be ready to step back into the rotation. And if Daisuke pitches a couple starts and doesn't really look ready, we can make an adjustment that way as well.
So, the next couple weeks: Becks, Lester, Wakefield, Daisuke, and Masterson
Then, potentially, Becks, Lester, Wakefield, Daisuke, and Colon again. Either way, depth is looking good for the moment, and we've got some pieces to play around with. Not to mention a couple guys on the farm that go by the names of Buchholz and Bowden.