WASHINGTON - Ryan Flaherty didn’t know that he was starting in right field tonight until bench coach John Russell posted the lineup next to his locker.
“I just saw it right there,” Flaherty said.
Flaherty is no stranger to the position, but they need to get reacquainted. He appeared in one game in right last season and 17 in 2012, including nine starts.
“It’s been a while,” he said, adding that he needed to find a glove.
“You’re always messing around out there. Spring training a lot and every now and then I make sure that I throw some balls. I’ll go out and catch some fly balls.”
Miguel Gonzalez threw 45 pitches in today’s three-inning simulated game and added 20 more in the bullpen. He hopes to throw a bullpen session on Saturday in Boston and start on Tuesday against the Blue Jays at Camden Yards.
“Feel good, especially facing some hitters, obviously,” he said. “Throwing bullpens is not the same as some live BP, so I thought it was a good workout today.”
Gonzalez joked that he made one bad pitch, a splitter up in the zone that first baseman Christian Walker crushed to left field. I saw the ball land about 15 rows up the stands.
“Threw all of my pitches, felt good with all of them, except the one I left to Walker, a splitty up and in,” Gonzalez said, grinning. “It happens. Obviously, I want them to hit the ball. I want to see what’s the reaction from hitters.
“That’s fine. Get their confidence up. That’s what we want.”
“Exactly,” he said. “Trying to be a good teammate.”
Closer Zach Britton remains day-to-day with a strained left lat muscle. He’s feeling better and might be able to play catch on Thursday.
Britton could become available again this weekend in Boston, but there’s also the chance that he’s held out of games until the Blue Jays series that begins on Monday. He doesn’t want his season to end with Sunday’s blown save against the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Britton has been told that he can’t make the injury worse by pitching, but he won’t be as effective and there’s no sense in trying to push through it.
The Red Sox are starting former Orioles left-hander Rich Hill on Friday and left-hander Henry Owens on Sunday. They haven’t announced a starter for Saturday. The most likely candidates are Jonathan Aro and Craig Breslow.