Blue Jays-Red Sox Preview
By CHRIS ALTRUDA
(AP) -- Mired in their worst losing streak of the year, the Boston Red Sox have added a familiar face to help get them back to their winning ways - though he won't be available just yet.
After re-signing Stephen Drew the day before, the Red Sox look to avoid a sixth consecutive loss Wednesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays.
A member of last year's World Series-winning team with Boston (20-24), Drew had been without a team after declining his $14.1 million qualifying offer. He was a less-desirable free agent since any new team signing him before the June draft would have had to give up a draft pick as compensation.
But with third baseman Will Middlebrooks on the disabled list, Drew agreed to re-sign Tuesday to shore up the left side of Boston's infield. Should he pass his physical and be added to the 40-man roster, he'll make a pro-rated $10 million per the terms of the qualifying offer.
Manager John Farrell told the team's official website that Drew will need a minor league rehab assignment of roughly 25 at-bats before he's ready to join the Red Sox.
"We have the ability, provided all things work out, we've added a very good player to improve this team," Farrell said, adding that Xander Bogaerts will move to third base - where he played last season while Drew manned short - when Drew is ready.
"That's the thing (general manager Ben Cherington) and ownership have repeatedly shown," Farrell added. "When a need exists, they'll do whatever is capable and whatever is available to improve the team."
Having Clay Buchholz (2-3, 6.17 ERA) re-discover the form that allowed him to go 12-1 in 2013 would also be an improvement. Boston faces its first six-game skid since closing its disastrous 2012 season with eight straight losses.
The right-hander had one bad inning at Minnesota on Thursday, allowing three second-inning runs, and worked in and out of trouble over six total, giving up 10 hits in a 4-3, 10-inning defeat.
Buchholz beat Toronto (24-22) on April 26, yielding three runs in seven innings of a 7-6 victory. While he's gone 10-5 with a 2.52 ERA in 18 lifetime starts against the Blue Jays, he's 2-3 with a 3.75 mark in seven starts in the series at Fenway Park.
He has limited Edwin Encarnacion to one hit in 21 lifetime at-bats against him, but the Jays first baseman has found his power stroke. Encarnacion hit a pair of two-run homers in Tuesday's 7-4 series-opening win, his second multihomer game in the last five contests and third in May as he raised his road batting average to .218.
"He is pretty good," Toronto manager John Gibbons said of Encarnacion, who has hit nine of his 11 homers this month. "But even last year I think he got off to a slow start somewhat. It's not going to hold him down. It's usually just a matter of time."
Adam Lind, 9 for 25 with four doubles in seven games since coming off the disabled list, is batting .326 with two homers and three doubles against Buchholz.
Drew Hutchinson (2-3, 3.64) will try to build on his first shutout and help the Blue Jays win for the fifth time in six games. The right-hander threw a three-hitter to outpitch Yu Darvish in a 2-0 victory over Texas on Friday.
Hutchinson won his only start against Boston, throwing seven innings of one-run ball in a 5-1 home victory June 3, 2012.
Updated May 21, 2014