BOS@CLE: Holt picks and corrals sharp grounder

CLEVELAND -- When the Red Sox dealt Mark Melancon to the Pirates for closer Joel Hanrahan in December 2012, it seemed like utility infielder Brock Holt was just a throw-in.

But the Red Sox viewed him as more than that, and he has recently justified their decision to have Pittsburgh include him in the trade.

Holt has been getting regular at-bats for Boston of late, in the leadoff spot no less. He entered Wednesday's game hitting .326 with one homer and 11 RBIs.

"In that trade, there was a secondary list of players from which to choose. All the information we had on him, in addition to a very consistent performance and track record, was a guy that understood the game, good competitor," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "While he was primarily a second baseman, we felt there was the ability to move around and play other positions. I think he's done a great job getting to the left side of the infield in the last two years, where he wasn't asked to do that before, because I'm sure other players were at that position.

"The more we learned about Brock, the more we felt like he fit what we were looking for, and he's been just that."

After Will Middlebrooks went on the disabled list on May 17, Holt became the starting third baseman. But now that Stephen Drew is at shortstop, Xander Bogaerts is playing third. That has pushed Holt across the diamond to first, where he will play until Mike Napoli is activated from the disabled list on Sunday.

Once Napoli returns, the Red Sox will try to get Holt some action in the outfield.

"We're trying to find some flexibility, because of other players we have here," said Farrell. "That's not to [say] that he couldn't be an everyday player at some position."

Nava gets call against righty in series finale

BOS@NYY: Nava puts the Red Sox on board with homer

CLEVELAND -- Daniel Nava, who has been used sparingly in his last two recalls from Triple-A Pawtucket, was in the starting lineup for the Red Sox on Wednesday night, batting eighth against tough Indians righty Corey Kluber.

Nava entered play hitless in 10 at-bats since his initial return to the Majors on May 24. After being recalled on Monday to fill in for the injured Mike Carp, Nava hadn't been called into action until Wednesday's start.

"It feels good," Nava said of getting a rare start. "I understand the nature of the situation, so I've just got to make the most of the opportunities and [do] not try to go 4-for-4, but just try to put together some good at-bats with some good swings. That's really how I have to look at it, because, [when you aren't playing as] consistently, I just have to be aware that it's a little more challenging sometimes to get in a groove."

As a unit, the Red Sox have had anemic production from their outfield this season. If Nava could start even coming close to what he did last season, when he hit .303 with 12 home runs and 66 RBIs, that would be a lift.

"Recognizing that he's still searching for his consistent stroke, we've got to find ways to get him on the field and get him the opportunity against some right-handed pitching," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We've got to try to find the best matchups possible. I know we went with [Jonny] Gomes for a number of starts against some right-handed pitching, and yet we're trying to get more production out of the outfield in general, and that's needed."

Though Nava would like to be playing more, he understands that he has underperformed this season, as has the team.

"There's obviously a lot that's happened and taken place to why that's actually happened," said Nava of his decrease in playing time. "The situation with the team, and how the team has been playing, I'm sure has played a large role. From my perspective, I'd love to be in there. I understand there's a lot of season left, and hopefully we can turn things around, and hopefully I can be a part of that."

Though Nava entered Wednesday's game with a .130 average, he is doing all he can to keep his struggles in perspective.

"It is a long season, and just keep that in mind. That's how I'd put it. Just keep that in mind," said Nava.

Farrell: Buchholz's 'pen session 'very good'

BOS@MIN: Buchholz fans six over six strong frames

CLEVELAND -- In advance of his simulated game on Saturday, Clay Buchholz fired 35 pitches in the bullpen on Wednesday, and manager John Farrell liked what he saw.

"Very good," Farrell said. "It was 35 pitches. He threw all his pitches. He's continuing to repeat the delivery adjustments that we've outlined. He came away from today encouraged by the way he threw the baseball."

Buchholz last pitched on May 26 in Atlanta, walking a season-high of eight batters over just three-plus innings. The next day, he was placed on the disabled list with a hyperextended left knee.

For the season, Buchholz is 2-4 with a 7.02 ERA.

"We're making the most of the time available to us," said Farrell. "One, to get past the knee issue he encountered. Two, take the time to address what's there and begin to do some exercises that put him in a better place from a confidence standpoint. The best support to all of this will be positive results when he gets on the mound in game situations."

Lefty Felix Doubront (left shoulder strain) is also working his way back to the team. Doubront will throw 60 to 65 pitches when he starts his rehab assignment for Double-A Portland on Thursday.

Farrell was noncommittal when asked if there was a chance Doubront could pitch out of the bullpen when he returns. In the postseason last year, Doubront excelled in a relief role.

"We're going to look at probably two to three starts on a rehab before we really look at where we are with everyone else on the staff," Farrell said. "Until he answers those questions or completes those steps … we'll take a closer look at that time."

Red Sox prospect Owens extends scoreless streak

Top Prospects: Henry Owens, LHP, Red Sox

Left-hander Henry Owens, the Red Sox No. 1 prospect, threw eight scoreless innings Wednesday, pushing his shutout streak to 22 innings, and Double-A Portland defeated Erie, 5-1. It was the longest start of his career.

Owens, ranked No. 26 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, struck out six batters and limited the SeaWolves to two walks and two hits. He threw 107 pitches and generated 14 ground-ball outs.

Catcher Blake Swihart, the Red Sox No. 3 prospect and No. 51 overall, led the Sea Dogs' offense with three hits and two RBIs in the victory. He is hitting .298/.332/.483 with six home runs in 45 games this season.

Entering Wednesday night, Owens had thrown seven shutout innings in back-to-back starts. He last gave up a run May 19, in the fourth inning of Portland's 4-1 loss to Binghamton. Since then, he has a 0.64 WHIP and has struck out 17 batters.

Overall this season, Owens is 7-3 with a 2.24 ERA in 72 1/3 innings. He leads the Eastern League with 74 strikeouts and ranks second with a 1.04 WHIP.

-- Teddy Cahill