BOS@TB: Victorino exits game with hamstring strain

BOSTON -- Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino will open a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday, where he's expected to play five to seven innings in right field.

"In Baltimore, his activity ramped up and he responded well, so right now our plan is to have him play five to seven innings tomorrow," said Red Sox manager John Farrell.

If things go well on Saturday, Victorino will play with Pawtucket on Monday and Tuesday. He'll likely be the designated hitter in one of those contests.

The team has taken a cautious approach with Victorino, who is on the 15-day disabled list for the second time this season with a right hamstring strain.

"Getting him in right field for consecutive days is part of the plan," said Farrell.

Buchholz, Middlebrooks rained out at Triple-A

DET@BOS: Fractured finger sends Middlebrooks to DL

BOSTON -- Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks was slated to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday night, where he was penciled in as the designated hitter, but the game was rained out.

Middlebrooks was expected to serve as the DH in the opener of a doubleheader Saturday and play third base in the nightcap. Clay Buchholz was scheduled to make his first rehab start Friday and instead will get the nod in Game 1 on Saturday at 5:05 p.m. ET.

"We have a maximum of 20 days. I'm not saying that we'll use every day, but we need to get him going and get that right-handed power bat back," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Middlebrooks.

Middlebrooks has been on the disabled list since May 17 with a fractured right index finger.

"He has to get some repetition and get back in the flow of things. It has been a while since he's been in a game," Farrell said. "We don't have a set time for when he is coming back. He has to play, go hit and get in the flow of things."

What Middlebrooks' role will be with the Red Sox once he returns is still undetermined since shortstop Stephen Drew returned to the club and Xander Bogaerts moved to third.

In 21 games this season, Middlebrooks is hitting .197 with two home runs and nine RBIs. He's also committed two errors.

Keeping it simple, Nava finding success at plate

CLE@BOS: Nava doubles down the line to score Papi

BOSTON -- Daniel Nava has had a complicated season. He's been up and down between Triple-A Pawtucket and Boston, struggling at the plate all year.

So what was the best way to fix a slash line of .130/.221/.234, which he held on May 29?

"Just trying to simplify things. I said it [Thursday], 'Why try to complicate an already complicated game?'" Nava said. "So just keep it simple."

By that, Nava meant he wanted to not think too much and work counts. He wanted to contribute with good at-bats, no matter what the result. That attitude has paid off since he was recalled on June 4.

On Friday night in a 10-3 win over Cleveland, Nava went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. On Thursday, he went 3-for-4 -- those were just his second and third multihit games of the season. Since June 4, the switch-hitter is 11-for-26 (.423).

Nava didn't see consistent time in the lineup after being recalled in late May and was again send down to Pawtucket just days later. Now he's played in seven of the club's last eight games and things are coming together.

"We're grinding right now," Nava said. "We were in a stretch where nothing was going our way. And that's part of it. But we knew that couldn't last forever. That had to turn. We believe things are always one game from turning, and hopefully it was two games ago -- today and [Thursday] -- that it turned around."

Nava, 31, saw everyday time as a big leaguer last season for the first time, posting a .303/.385/.445 slash line in 134 games.

Worth noting

• Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia's wife, Kelli, gave birth to the couple's third son, Brooks, on Friday morning in Boston.

Their first son, Dylan, was born on Aug. 18, 2009, and their second, Cole, on Sept. 13, 2012. The couple has been married since 2006.