BOSTON -- At a time when their bullpen depth is being tested, the Red Sox added two veteran right-handers via Minor League deals on Friday, both of whom had ties -- either directly or indirectly -- to the organization a decade ago.
Brandon Lyon spent part of the 2003 season as Boston's closer. After that season, he was dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of the package that brought Curt Schilling to the Red Sox.
Jose Contreras was a highly sought-after free agent in the winter leading up to that '03 season and the Red Sox battled mightily for his services, only to lose out to the Yankees. Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino was so frustrated at his team losing out on Contreras at the time that he referred to the Yankees as the "Evil Empire".
Both pitchers, who are a long way from 2003, will report to Triple-A Pawtucket. The moves came on the same day the Red Sox learned they might be without reliever Andrew Bailey for the rest of the season.
"Brandon pitched for [Red Sox manager] John [Farrell] last year in Toronto and signed with the Mets. Didn't quite work out for him quite the way he wanted it to, so he became available," said Sox general manager Ben Cherington. "Obviously he was here before. We felt it made sense to sign him and watch him pitch in Triple-A. He's a guy who has a track record in the big leagues, a track record of getting good right-handed hitters out. He's pitched here before. He's pitched in big games."
"In Contreras' case, we watched him more recently," Cherington said. "We knew he had an out coming up. We saw some good signs of how he was throwing the ball more recently in [Indianapolis], so we decided he was worth a shot. Both guys are going to be in Pawtucket for a while. We'll see if an opportunity presents at some point. If it doesn't at some point in August, then if we think there's a better opportunity somewhere else, we'll work with them on that. But they both have an opportunity to show us what they can do, and hopefully they come in and help us."
Lyon pitched in 37 games for the Mets this season before being released earlier this month, going 2-2 with a 4.8 ERA. In 12 Major League seasons, Lyon is 42-47 with 79 saves and a 4.16 ERA.
The 41-year-old Contreras has pitched mainly in relief this season and that's how he would be used if he eventually emerges in Boston. He last pitched in the Major Leagues on May 27, ending a seven-game stint with the Pirates that included a 9.00 ERA.
Red Sox said to be progressing in Pedroia talks
BOSTON -- The Red Sox are making progress in their efforts to sign Dustin Pedroia to a contract extension, according to multiple reports on Friday.
Pedroia is in the fourth year of a six-year, $40.5 million deal that carries a team option of $11 million for the Red Sox. Pedroia has provided consistent production both offensively and defensively during the course of the contract.
The news of a possible extension was first reported by WEEI.com and Yahoo! Sports.
Pedroia, who went 1-for-4 in Boston's 4-2 win over the Yankees on Friday, didn't think it was his place to characterize the state of the negotiations.
"I just leave my agent and the Red Sox to deal with that," Pedroia said. "My job is to come in here, play baseball and try to help the Red Sox win games. I don't have anything for you right now."
The Red Sox and Pedroia's lead agents -- Seth and Sam Levinsohn -- declined comment.
However, Pedroia again reiterated how much it would mean to him to stay in a Boston uniform for many more years, if not his entire career.
"That's great to think about," Pedroia said. "[Staying in one place is] hard to happen. This is all I know. These guys are my family. Everybody. If it got to that point, it would be great."
At 29, the second baseman still seems to be coming into his own, as he entered play against the Yankees on Friday with a .396 on-base percentage, the highest of his career.
Speaking on WEEI on Thursday, Red Sox principal owner John Henry said the team is weary of giving out long-term deals, but would be more inclined to do so with players within the organization.
"You have to look at every situation, every player differently," Henry said. "Dustin Pedroia, completely different player. Dustin would be different than going out into a free-agent market and signing someone."
Meanwhile, Pedroia will just keep trying to help the Red Sox stay in first place.
"I'm just focused on trying to help us win baseball games. That's what I'm trying to do," Pedroia said.
Buchholz may get second opinion on neck, back
BOSTON -- After being looked at by the Red Sox's medical staff, right-hander Clay Buchholz resumed playing catch on Friday after a brief shutdown period over the All-Star break.
There was no MRI given to Buchholz, and the club continues to hope that the discomfort he has been feeling in his neck and the upper portion of his back shoulder subside in the near future.
General manager Ben Cherington mentioned that Buchholz could get a second opinion.
Buchholz last pitched for the Red Sox on June 8. He had been on the best run of his career, going 9-0 in his 12 starts.
Several times, Buchholz has ramped back up by playing catch and advanced to bullpen work. But when he gets to the mound, he usually starts to feel the symptoms recur.
"I think Clay is frustrated, because he wants to be out there pitching and competing," said Cherington. "Obviously he was having a great year. When a guy is doing that well on the field, there's no way he doesn't want to be out there.
"I know he's frustrated; I think, secondarily, we're frustrated, because we want him out there, too. As much as we want him out there, we've got to continue to be patient, listen to what he's saying.
"He may get another opinion. just try gathering more information and hopefully put his mind at ease as to what's going on. He knows his body better than anyone else, and he's going to tell us when he's ready to ramp it up, and we hope that's soon. And based on everything we know, we still think that will be soon. It hasn't happened yet, and that's a source of frustration for him, and to some degree, for all of us."
With less than two weeks before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, the uncertainty with Buchholz is just another uncertainty for Cherington.
"I think we're 20-14 since his last start, so again, getting back to the point before, a lot of good things happened with the team. We've proven we can win without any one particular guy," said Cherington. "But obviously we'd like to have him back earlier. We're a better team with him. And we still hope he is out there for the better part of the remainder of the season.
"If for some reason that doesn't happen, then again, we'll just have to adjust. We've had guys who have stepped up before. We've had guys that we think are capable of stepping up and being good starters at the Major League level. And we just have to see how it goes. We hope to have more clarity on that in the next couple days."
Sox reliever Miller out for rest of season
BOSTON -- Lefty reliever Andrew Miller did wind up needing left foot surgery, as was the expectation, and won't throw another pitch in 2013.
"He did have the foot repaired on Monday," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Surgery was performed to repair the ligament that he tore in the foot. He's in a non-weight-bearing situation for some time yet. This is a prolonged rehab for him."
There just won't be enough time for Miller to pitch again this season.
"No. That's ruled out," Farrell said. "We're looking at Spring Training."
Miller had been a force for the Red Sox this season, posting a 2.64 ERA and notching 48 strikeouts over 30 2/3 innings.
• Brandon Workman, who fired 6 1/3 no-hit innings in his first Major League start on July 14, is likely to start again for Boston on Tuesday. However, Farrell said that could change if Workman is needed out of the bullpen.
• Shortstop Stephen Drew (right hamstring strain) was slated to play again for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday night and is expected to be activated by the Red Sox for Saturday's game.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Jason Mastrodonato is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jmastrodonato. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.