Foulke completes rehab stint for Sox

Foulke completes rehab stint for Sox

LOWELL, Mass. -- Keith Foulke entered Tuesday night's game between the Lowell Spinners and Vermont Expos in the fifth inning, making the third of his scheduled three rehab appearances with the Red Sox's Class A affiliate.

The Sox closer, who is rehabbing from left knee arthroscopy on July 6, departed three outs and seven batters later with a line that read: 1 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 3 K.

With the Spinners leading, 5-1, Foulke came in to face the top of the Expos lineup. The right-hander gave up a single to Jose Contreras, who scored on Francisco Plasencia's double. Foulke then struck out Leonard Davis on three pitches, the last an 87 mile-per-hour swing-and-miss.

But Carlos Torres' first-pitch single to left field scored Plasencia with the second run. Rolando Arnedo's single to center was the last of the hit parade before Foulke sat down Mike Daniel, looking, and Lorvin Louisa swinging.

Foulke, who will be activated from the disabled list Thursday, leaves the short-season New York-Penn League with a 7.36 ERA and a .421 opponents' batting average, along with eight hits, five strikeouts, and one walk in 3 2/3 innings.

The Red Sox are satisfied Foulke accomplished what he needed to.

"I think so," said Sox director of player development Ben Cherington, in attendance at LeLacheur Park. "He just needed to get his pitch count up and get back on the mound and face hitters, throw all his pitches, and he did that. So I think the results are secondary as long as he got through physically OK and was able to use all his pitches. That's what he was looking to do."

Foulke, who was not available after the game, said Monday he was not happy with his command or velocity. He threw 26 pitches Tuesday night, 15 for strikes, with his velocity ranging from 87 to 73.

"I think he has a very high standard for himself," Cherington said. "He's been an All-Star closer, closed the last game of the World Series. So, I think with that type of person, that type of athlete, they have a very high standard for themselves. They're always looking to be better. They have a sort of perfectionist attitude. I think it's just natural during a rehab stint, where he's trying to work his way back into top form -- he's going to feel that way. But I don't think that's alarming. I think that's just the nature of who he is and that type of athlete.

"I think time will tell. I don't think we really can put too much weight in [the rehab outings]. I think when he gets back into Major League activity, that's when we'll see who he is. And then again, time will tell. The keys to these three outings were to get him back on the mound, get him facing hitters again, and make sure he got through it physically. ... From what I saw, he did everything he needed to do here."

Foulke, who has not seen big-league action since July 4, will likely not make an immediate return to the closer's role.

Cherington, asked if Foulke's arm had enough strength to return to the bullpen, said he was satisfied that the pitcher had been able to recover from consecutive work days.

"That's something he'd have to answer, but I think any time a pitcher takes time off, it takes a little while to get back in synch and get the arm strength back," Cherington said. "He's throwing all his pitches, not having any problem bouncing back after an outing. Those are the things you're looking for to make sure anybody, Keith included, is ready to go."

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.