ARLINGTON -- For the first time since April 24, Shane Victorino was able to play for the Red Sox.
The right fielder returned to manager John Farrell's lineup for Friday's opener in Texas after dealing with back spasms.
Having Victorino back should be vital to the Red Sox, given his strong start to the season on offense and defense.
"Well, it's good to have Shane back on the field for us," said Farrell. "He's done such a good job not only in the two-hole, but defensively. He gives us some additional speed at the top of the order."
Victorino initially tweaked his back April 20 at Fenway and missed two games before returning for three games and experiencing a setback.
This time, the Sox expect to go full speed ahead with Victorino.
"No, he's full go," said Farrell. "With all the tests that we put him through, there shouldn't be any limitations or restrictions on whether he's able to steal a bag or hit from either side of the plate. He's full go."
Buchholz, Red Sox unfazed by allegations
ARLINGTON -- A day later, the Red Sox remained unfazed by allegations from by Blue Jays analysts Dirk Hayhurst and Jack Morris that Clay Buchholz was doctoring the baseball in his Wednesday start.
If anything, the club was having fun with the situation.
Ryan Dempster had a big bottle of Vaseline and two other brands of moisturizer on the top of his locker in Texas on Friday, visible for all to see.
At one point, an ESPN segment played in the clubhouse in which media personalities were debating whether Buchholz could be cheating. Buchholz walked by the television and didn't even blink.
"I think his response to the accusations spoke volumes the most," said manager John Farrell. "There was some thought that the bottom of his sleeve had a darker stain to it. He's a creature of habit, so he's worn the same shirt for about four years. We can all look in our closet and have a pretty ratty shirt after four years. That's what it is. He's handled that very well, because he's got nothing to hide."
The Red Sox were a little bewildered that the issue became such a hot topic, given there was virtually no substantial evidence that Buchholz was cheating.
"One, he's not doctoring the baseball," said Farrell. "Two, no ball was asked to be examined inside that game. Three, it's brought about by someone that's not even on the field. We take it as a compliment that the guy's a [darn] good pitcher."
Bailey improved, likely will return to action Saturday
ARLINGTON -- Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey felt significant improvement with his recently ailing right biceps on Friday, but he's likely to be held out until Saturday's game against the Rangers.
"He came out early, went through his stretching, went through a long toss and did some flatground," said manager John Farrell. "He's much improved over yesterday and the last couple of days. He would be available in kind of an emergency situation. Ideally, we can give him another day to stay away from him. This is good news, nonetheless."
The Red Sox haven't used Bailey since Sunday's game against the Astros, but the righty is pleased the injury appears to be just a temporary nuisance.
Joel Hanrahan, who started the year as Boston's closer, filled in for Bailey in a save situation on Thursday in Toronto and got the job done.
"I think we're doing the right thing by being smart and not trying to push it so early on," Bailey said. "We have the group of guys who can do it. When Joel went down, we picked him up. If I need a couple of days, it's good. It's definitely a step in the right direction."
Starter John Lackey had to go on the disabled list with a biceps strain earlier in the season, but Bailey's injury doesn't seem to be nearly as significant.
Bailey did not undergo an MRI.
"Well, the tests were throwing and doing some aggressive flatground," said Farrell. "There was no imaging of any kind, because this was in the belly of the muscle. It was not in the same spot or similar to what John Lackey experienced."