Martinez won't need surgery

Updated: June 29, 2010, 7:53 PM ET
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox placed catcher Victor Martinez on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a minimally displaced fracture on the tip of his left thumb.

Martinez suffered the injury Sunday in San Francisco, with a pair of foul balls hitting his thumb, and was examined when the team returned to Boston on Monday. After discussions with the medical staff, the Red Sox thought it best to disable Martinez and he should be able to return after the All-Star break. To fill Martinez's spot on the roster, the Red Sox called up catcher Gustavo Molina from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Martinez
Martinez

"We need to let this thing heal a little bit," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "He had no chance of catching in the next week or two. It would have been impossible."

Francona said Martinez would not need surgery and the injury should not be a long-term problem.

Boston hopes Martinez will return after 15 days and miss only 11 games. Red Sox captain Jason Varitek will start at catcher while Martinez is out.

Prior to the Red Sox's batting practice on Tuesday, Martinez helped his 5-year-old son, Victor Jr., get into his mini Red Sox uniform and had trouble tying his shoes. He then said how disappointed he is to be going on the DL.

"It's not fun," Martinez said. "I wish I could do something other than going on the DL, but it's painful and I need to take it day by day."

Martinez's trip to the DL comes as the Red Sox continue to deal with injuries to key players, including second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who will miss about six weeks with broken bone in his foot. Martinez joins Pedroia, Josh Beckett (back), Jacoby Ellsbury (ribs), Mike Lowell (hip), Jeremy Hermida (ribs) and Jed Lowrie (mononucleosis) on the disabled list.

"It is frustrating," Martinez said. "It's the last thing we need right now. We've had a bad week injury-wise. It's always disappointing."

When asked whether hitting or catching is more difficult with the injury, Martinez took a long breath.

"I'm going to tell you right now it's both," he said. "I can't even put my hand in my glove or hold a bat."

At the time of the injury, Martinez was hitting .289 with nine homers and 38 RBIs in 66 games.

Molina, 28, has 19 games of big league experience with the White Sox, Orioles and Mets and will catch knuckleballer Tim Wakefield on Friday against Baltimore. The two worked together during spring training and again Tuesday at Fenway Park.

Molina said Wakefield's bullpen session went well. Molina's experience catching a knuckler dates to his days working with Charlie Haeger, who is now pitching for the Dodgers.

"[Haeger's] is a little harder. Wakefield is one of the best right now, for a long time. He is the best," Molina said. "Either way you have to relax and don't try too much, just catch the ball."

In other injury news, right-hander Clay Buchholz -- who strained his left hamstring while running the bases on Saturday -- hopes to pitch next Monday or Tuesday. Center fielder Mike Cameron is playing despite pain from an abdominal injury.

Even with all the injury woes, the Red Sox entered Tuesday night's home game against Tampa Bay only two games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East.

Francona said he hasn't developed any thoughts of despair.

"I don't feel that way," he said. "Whatever happens happens. That's part of the game. We're coming off a couple of good wins [in San Francisco]and we've done a terrific job. The guys are banding together and the energy in our dugout been unbelievable, and on the field. We're more fixated on that as opposed to the, 'Woe is me.' It's, 'OK, how are we going to win?'

"Guys have done a great job, so there's no reason for me to fret because our players don't seem to be ... we have good players and some of them are hurt. It makes your margin for error a little bit smaller, so hopefully we won't make errors."

Utility man Eric Patterson, acquired in a trade with Oakland on Monday, joined the team and was in uniform Tuesday night. Right-hander Boof Bonser, who was designated for assignment on June 18, cleared waivers on Monday and chose to become a free agent.

Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox and Bruins for ESPNBoston.com. Information from The Associated Press contributed to this email.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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