NEW YORK -- At a time the Red Sox are lacking for offense, the fact that Shane Victorino and Will Middlebrooks both took batting practice Friday at Yankee Stadium was a welcome sight.
Both players are on the disabled list, Victorino with a right hamstring strain and Middlebrooks with a right calf strain.
If all goes well, the Red Sox will send Victorino out on a short Minor League rehab assignment by next weekend, setting him up for a possible return to action in about 10 days.
"Actually, on Tuesday he went through some light running back in Fenway," said manager John Farrell. "So it's part of the progression that he's going through, and then optimistically, once we get through the end of the Chicago series, we'll get a better read on when the potential for a rehab assignment is coming."
Middlebrooks hasn't been cleared to run yet.
"Today, I took BP, I took ground balls," said Middlebrooks. "It's not there yet. It was good to get out there and move around and see where I'm at. In my opinion, I think I'll be fine when my time is up. I don't think it will take much more than that. Hopefully I'll be able to get a [Minor League] game or two before that."
The Red Sox rank 13th in the American League with 3.6 runs per game. Victorino hasn't played at all this season, and Middlebrooks played the first four games.
Sizemore comfortable playing left field
NEW YORK -- For the second night in a row, and the second time in his career, Grady Sizemore was in left field on Friday.
With lefty CC Sabathia pitching for the Yankees, manager John Farrell started left-handed hitters Sizemore and Jackie Bradley Jr. while keeping switch-hitter Daniel Nava on the bench.
"There's a level of comfort," said Farrell. "It's been some time since he's last played left field. He went back on the ball, I thought, in good shape last night. He's more than willing to do what we asked for an alignment. He does shag BP in left field to get some reads on some balls that are going to have a different trajectory to them. I think it's one game, but he's a darn good athlete and we have no trouble in putting him out in left field."
If Sizemore is going to play left field at all at Fenway Park, he'll probably need to do some pregame work to get used to the dimensions of the Green Monster.
"That's the one area we have to get some work done," said Farrell.
Red Sox would like Pineda to be less 'blatant'
NEW YORK -- If Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda wants to improve his grip on a cold night, the Red Sox essentially feel he should do what he needs to make that happen. But they do feel he could try to hide it a little more.
There were screen shots all over the Internet on Thursday of what appeared to be pine tar on the palm of Pineda's right hand in the early innings of his start against the Red Sox.
"Last night, to me, in my opinion, that was a little too overboard and a little blatant," said Shane Victorino, who didn't play in the game because he's on the 15-day disabled list. "But again, I didn't play in the game, so I'm not going to sit here and critique the situation.
"All I know is that it was obvious and I sure think Pineda is a good pitcher. I still give him credit for being a great pitcher. Beyond that, last night was a little obvious. Whatever the league does, the league does."
"Well, again, I think if a pitcher is going to use some additive to gain a grip, you'd like to think it would be a little bit more discreet," said manager John Farrell.
But Farrell also reiterated that whatever was on Pineda's hand likely had nothing to do with the result of Thursday's game, a 4-1 loss by the Red Sox.
"We're more focused on what we need to do offensively to get going rather than taking anything away from his abilities," said Farrell.