ST. PETERSBURG -- It is times like Wednesday when Red Sox manager Terry Francona is most grateful for having a deep bench. Not only was Jacoby Ellsbury out of the mix with recurring soreness on his left side, but catcher Victor Martinez (bruised left big toe) and J.D. Drew (hip flexor) were also out of the mix.
While center fielder Mike Cameron was back in the lineup for the second consecutive day since coming off the disabled list, he was flanked by Jeremy Hermida in left field and Darnell McDonald in right. Jason Varitek caught in place of Martinez.
Martinez, who sustained the injury when he was struck by a foul ball from Jason Bartlett in the second inning on Monday, said he felt improvement. The problem is that he can't put his spikes on without being in agony.
"Hopefully, once I get better with the shoes on, I'll be in there," said Martinez. "But we're in great hands with Jason [Varitek]."
In a perfect world, the Red Sox will get Martinez back on Friday night, when knuckleballer Tim Wakefield takes the mound against the Royals at Fenway Park.
Varitek handled Wakefield early in his career, but hasn't worked with him since catching him for one inning in 2008.
The rest for Drew was mainly precautionary. He has had ailments to both legs in recent weeks, in addition to the hip problem.
"This is a day where I think you take a day instead of having a guy go too far and then having [to miss] three or four," said Francona. "I think the last couple days, it's been the hip. But I think he's done a good job of playing through it, knowing that we needed him. Again, I just think looking at we're on turf, we're going to get home at 4 [in the morning], you can pick a day. So, in my opinion, doing it before something worse happens is a better idea. Sometimes you try to go too far and you lose three days."