BOSTON -- Ryan Lavarnway, who is arguably the best right-handed hitter in Boston's farm system and its No. 3 overall prospect, strolled into the clubhouse unexpectedly a few hours before Wednesday's Red Sox-Tigers game.
The catcher's latest promotion to the Majors could be short, as Lavarnway is here to fill out the bench at a time when several players are nicked up.
Lavarnway is taking the roster spot of outfielder Daniel Nava, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left wrist sprain.
With catcher Kelly Shoppach (shin) and shortstop Mike Aviles (turf toe) both unavailable for Wednesday's game, that also created a need for Lavarnway's right-handed bat.
"It's great to be back. It doesn't matter what the situation [is]," said Lavarnway. "[Manager Bobby Valentine] said we'll figure out what the plan is tomorrow. I don't know anything more than you do at this point."
Lavarnway could well be the catcher of the future in Boston, so the Red Sox have obviously kept close tabs on him throughout his Triple-A season.
"I loved him in Spring Training, and since [then], he's continued to make improvements," said Valentine. "Offensively, [Pawtucket manager] Arnie [Beyeler] says he's definitely ready and will continue to improve, and we hope he continues to improve. Defensively is the same -- that he's ready, but we want him to continue to improve."
It remains to be seen if Lavarnway will get a chance to catch during this stint in Boston. He caught the final two games of the 2011 season for the Sox, coming up with two big homers and playing solid defense.
"This [season] has been my first opportunity to catch on an everyday basis. I've got to tell you -- it's a lot different than [being the designated hitter] half the time," Lavarnway said. "It's more of a physical grind. I think I've already caught 20 more games than I've ever caught in a year. But I've got a great postgame routine. I'm staying in shape a lot better this year, working on my flexibility and my body feels great."
Papi pain-free for first time since Achilles injury
BOSTON -- David Ortiz continues to progress from a strained right Achilles tendon and said he feels no pain for the first time since sustaining the injury on July 17.
"I feel better today than days before," Ortiz said Wednesday. "Hopefully, I will continue feeling better every day. We'll see if I can go back into the fire."
The slugger does not have any pain when he walks but will need to run before he is activated from the 15-day disabled list.
"If I continue feeling better and I'm pain-free walking, I'll start doing some running things," Ortiz said.
Wednesday marked the first day the designated hitter was eligible to return from the DL, but he is still a few days away. There was heavy rain at Fenway Park before Wednesday's game against the Tigers, which prevented Ortiz from doing agility drills on the field. Instead, he worked out inside.
"I haven't done anything outside yet. I'll do things outside probably in the next two or three days," he said. "The doctor checked me out every day, and he found less tendinitis on my Achilles [today], so that's good."
Ortiz leads the Red Sox with a .316 average and 23 home runs. He's been hitting since Friday and took swings in the batting cage Wednesday.
"[Tuesday's] batting practice was great, but he was still a little hesitant to run or jump or move quickly. He said today when he woke up was the first day he had no pain walking," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "He's getting closer.
Beckett's status for Sunday start up in the air
BOSTON -- The good news on the Josh Beckett front is that the Red Sox are confident at this point that the right-hander won't need to be placed on the disabled list. However, his next start could be iffy.
Beckett exited Tuesday's start against the Tigers in the third inning with a back spasm.
"He's a little stiff. You know, not surprisingly," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "He had spasms and he's a big guy, so we don't know how to read that other than it doesn't seem -- when [general manager] Ben [Cherington] talked to him, he said it didn't seem like it was a 15-day stint or anything. It's one of those -- we'll just play it by ear."
Beckett's next turn in the rotation would be Sunday against the Twins.
"I don't know about that even," Valentine said. "The surety of that, I haven't talked with Josh. It will all be predicated on the bullpen session, which isn't until at least tomorrow, maybe the next day, where he'll test it and that will predicate whether he makes the start."
The Red Sox are fortunate in that swingman Franklin Morales can be on standby. Morales pitched out of the bullpen Tuesday, but Valentine will try to stay away from him the next couple of days as Beckett's status is re-evaluated.
Sweeney regrets punching door, fracturing hand
BOSTON -- A pair of black boxing gloves hung above Ryan Sweeney's locker in the Red Sox's clubhouse on Wednesday afternoon, a reminder of the fractured left hand the outfielder sustained Monday night when punching a door in the dugout.
Sweeney fractured the knuckle of his pinkie finger on his left hand in the eighth inning of Monday's 7-3 win over the Tigers. He had a screw inserted into his throwing hand on Tuesday and will be out for at least six weeks.
With just over two months remaining in the regular season, Sweeney will be hard pressed to return in time to play.
"I guess it just depends on how the rehab goes and how the screw heals with my bone. I think that six weeks is rushing it back," said the outfielder, on the disabled list for the third time this season. "But I think it could possibly heal before the season is over. It's just the factor of hitting a 95-mph fastball and taking that jolt."
Before Wednesday's game against Detroit, Sweeney said he's learned from the incident.
"Obviously it's the heat of the moment and trust me, I regret it," he said. "I let my teammates down, and that's the biggest thing -- not being there for your team and being able to be out on the field. It's a tough thing to swallow. I've been sick to my stomach and disgusted with what happened."
He also dismissed the notion that he injured himself on purpose to prevent a trade from the Red Sox. The injury occurred one day before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.
"I didn't intentionally do it so I wouldn't get traded," Sweeney said. "That had nothing to do with it. It was bad timing. It was a freak accident I guess. That didn't even cross my mind. I didn't even really think about that until somebody said something."
Sweeney missed six games with a concussion in late May before going on the DL June 17 with a toe injury that cost him 15 games. Now, he has a new pair of boxing gloves courtesy of Wednesday starter Aaron Cook.
"It's pretty funny that he's pitching today and he has time to think about that," Sweeney said. "I can tell you I won't be punching anything."
Breslow strong in first outing with Red Sox
BOSTON -- A day after being traded to the Red Sox, lefty reliever Craig Breslow made his first appearance with the club in nearly six years.
"It's exciting for me -- I appreciated the time that I had away, but this is home for me," said Breslow, who went to Yale and grew up in Connecticut. "For better or for worse, this is Boston. I don't think there's any better place to be successful."
Breslow didn't waste any time making an impact and relieved starter Aaron Cook in the fifth inning of Wednesday's 7-5 loss to Detroit. He had two strikeouts and allowed one hit in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.
"He looked good, everything was moving," said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "He just had really good stuff, a sinker in to lefties, a changeup as well as a cutter, everything was working. It was fun to sit back and catch that."
Acquired from the D-backs on Tuesday in exchange for reliever Matt Albers and outfielder Scott Podsednik, Breslow gives the Red Sox another left-handed option in the bullpen. He's pitched for four teams since a 13-game stint with the Sox in 2006.
"You know, that's a good addition," said manager Bobby Valentine. "Breslow, first time in, had no ill effects from the cross-country flight [from Los Angeles]. Threw strikes, quality. I like what I saw."
To make room for Breslow on the roster, Boston had to option righty Clayton Mortensen back to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Mortensen, who earned the win Tuesday with 2 2/3 strong innings, has been the victim of a roster crunch several times this season.
It certainly isn't reflective of his performance. Mortensen, acquired in the trade for Marco Scutaro back in January, is 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA in 10 games for Boston.
Breslow was 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in 40 appearances with Arizona this season.
Atchison to see Dr. Andrews about elbow
BOSTON -- While righty reliever Scott Atchison sure seems to be headed toward Tommy John surgery, he won't decide for sure until he visits noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., on Monday.
"I'll go down there and see what he has to say, maybe go over some options," said Atchison. "I think the MRI definitely showed a tear, but it's a matter of how severe the tear is and what my options are. I know a couple of them. Everybody knows Tommy John is obviously a year. We'll see what he has to say and go from there."
Atchison had been one of Boston's best relievers this season, going 2-1 with a 1.76 ERA in 37 games.
"It's frustrating," Atchison said. "More than anything, it's wanting to be out there with the guys. It's not what my results necessarily were, but being able to contribute and help. It was a good first half. Unfortunately, something like this has happened. I'm going to [wait] until I hear everything on Monday, and then I'll worry about the rest of it. It's a little disappointing, but maybe they'll look at it different or we'll do another one and we'll see something else and there's another option. We'll see."
The injury didn't happen on a specific pitch.
"It was gradual," Atchison said. "I can't go back to one pitch. That's kind of what the doctor told me, just going off what he was reading off the MRI. It looked more like a gradual thing. It didn't look like something just popped right on one pitch, that it was over time. I've thrown a lot of pitches, so that's understandable."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.