Jackie Bradley Jr., LF
Jackie Bradley Jr. last played on May 3, first missing some time with an undisclosed and minor shoulder injury, which was later revealed to be right biceps tendinitis. Bradley has been on the minor-league DL, but took batting practice on Thursday for the first time since he was placed there -- an encouraging sign for his health. He's set to be evaluated on Saturday, according to PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina, and if all is well, he'll be back with the club shortly after.
He was doing well prior to the injury, making contact, drawing walks, and so on. There wasn't much power yet, but his shoulder was bugging him and it's just 51 plate appearances, too: hopefully, he'll be able to get back now with this rest and take the steps forward that he needs to in order to make it back to the majors for something besides an emergency call-up.
Rubby De La Rosa, RHP
The season didn't start off that great for Rubby De La Rosa. He was limited to two-inning stints, and the rust brought on by his Tommy John procedure to close out 2011 hadn't quite come off through this planned short usage. The Red Sox have loosened the reins a bit in the starts since early April, though, as was always the plan, and conveniently enough, De La Rosa has started to look like the high-quality starting pitching prospect he is at the same time.
De La Rosa hasn't given up a run since April 18, and has dropped his ERA from 13.43 to the 3.65 you see above. In the 18 innings in his scoreless stretch of starts, De La Rosa has struck out 22 batters against eight walks, and limited opponents to just nine hits. He's throwing four innings per start, and by the end of the month, should be set loose for five- and maybe even six-inning appearances, so as to bring him back into the conversation of Red Sox starting pitching depth for 2013.
The Red Sox' rotation seems to be in solid enough shape at this point: Felix Doubront is a bit of a question mark, but Franklin Morales should be returning to take that spot shortly if need be. There's Allen Webster, who has one quality start and a disastrous one on his big-league resume, and, of course, in case of dire emergency, there is also Alfredo Aceves. Adding De La Rosa to that group, especially given he's someone who already has major-league success as a starter, could end up being significant down the stretch for the Red Sox as they attempt to remain competitive.
Bryce Brentz, RF
Bryce Brentz's career has been defined by highs and lows. During his greatest moments, he's nigh unstoppable at the plate, hitting for power with all of his hits falling in while keeping strikeouts to a minimum. When he's off his game, however, there are swings-and-misses aplenty, with little in the way of pop, walks, or production. This year, though, he seems to be balancing things a bit more. The highs aren't so high, but the lows aren't so low, either, and it's made for stretches like what he's produced in his last 10 games, where he's hitting .324/.359/.459 with six strikeouts against two walks.
You'd like to see him bring back some of those stretches where making an out seems like it isn't even an option for him, but for now, if he's taken enough steps forward to stop going back-and-forth between useful and useless at the plate to such extremes, we can be happy about that. Overall, his season is looking solid. More walks would be a plus, but he's striking out just under 21 percent of the time, and has 16 extra-base hits on the season with an ISO of .211. It's a real good start of things.
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