Lars Anderson debuts for Red Sox

Updated: September 7, 2010, 2:07 AM ET
By Gordon Edes |

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox had five players in their starting lineup Monday who weren't with the team when the season began as they hosted the Tampa Bay Rays, 25 games from the finish line of a season destined to end on the first Sunday of October.

First baseman Lars Anderson was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket and played in place of Mike Lowell, who has a fractured rib in addition to his bad hip and went just 1-for-9 over the weekend against the White Sox.

Rookie Yamaico Navarro made his second start in place of shortstop Marco Scutaro, who has started 130 games at short but was limited to a pinch-hitting appearance Sunday and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on his inflamed rotator cuff Tuesday. Navarro has just two hits in his first 15 big-league at-bats.

Jed Lowrie started at second base, and two rookies, Daniel Nava and Ryan Kalish, were in the outfield. Nava led off, even though he hasn't had a two-hit game since July 10, also the last time he had an extra-base hit. In 20 games since then (14 starts), Nava was batting .146 (7-for-48), which was also his slugging percentage over that time. His on-base percentage was .268.

Kalish's last two-hit game came in Texas on Aug. 14. In 18 games since, he was batting .149 (7-for-47).

The Sox activated Josh Reddick on Monday, but did not have him in the starting lineup. Reddick was batting .196 on June 14, but finished the Triple-A season with a .266 average by batting .319 (82-for-257) the rest of the way. Reddick played Monday for Pawtucket and had a two-run home run and double before being pulled in the sixth inning. He'd also had a torrid 12-game hitting streak in which he batted .436 with six home runs and three doubles before going hitless in two games over the weekend.

Still, when asked if the Sox had considered bringing up Reddick sooner with Nava struggling, Red Sox manager Terry Francona made light of the question, saying, "I don't know how he could get here any faster without a speeding ticket."

Jason Varitek also was activated Monday night but was not expected to play after serving as DH for the PawSox Monday afternoon, singling in three at-bats.

Pitcher Michael Bowden will be activated in time for Tuesday night's game. The additions of Anderson, Varitek and Reddick give the Sox 32 players for Monday night's game, with Bowden making it 33 on Tuesday night. The Rays have 31 players on their roster, so the Sox could hope to win by outnumbering them.

Anderson, who turns 23 on Sept. 25, was listed as the team's best prospect by Baseball America entering the 2009 season, after combining for a .317 average with 18 home runs in a 2008 season split between Class A Lancaster and Double-A Portland. But he struggled in Portland last year, batting .233 with nine home runs, and this spring did not get a hit in 18 spring-training at-bats with the Red Sox.

He began the season by returning to Portland, but after batting .355 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 17 games, was promoted to Pawtucket. For two months he struggled, batting just .218 (41-for-188) with five home runs, but hit .300 or better in both July and August, finishing at .262 with 10 home runs and 53 RBIs. In his last 30 games for the PawSox, he hit .330 with 3 homers, 8 doubles and 16 RBIs.

In his Boston debut, Anderson went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Francona said he was unsure of how much Anderson will play the rest of the way, but he's likely to play enough for the Sox to make an evaluation going into 2011, as well as give other clubs a chance to contemplate him as a potential trading piece.

"He earned the chance to be here," Francona said.

Buchholz to pitch Wednesday -- for now

Francona said that while the plan is for Clay Buchholz to start on three days' rest Wednesday, that plan is subject to change. Translation: If the Sox lose one or both of the first two games of the series, expect a switch, perhaps to Tim Wakefield.

Pawtucket shuttle busy

Varitek was the 15th Red Sox player to rehab in Pawtucket this season, a club record. Here are the 15: Josh Beckett, Boof Bonser, Buchholz, Mike Cameron, Jacoby Ellsbury (twice), Jeremy Hermida, Lowrie, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Lowell, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Cash, Hideki Okajima, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Eric Patterson, and Varitek.

Gordon Edes covers the Red Sox for Follow him on Twitter.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter,