BOSTON -- Without question, Jarrod Saltalamacchia's time off has been far less frequent in the last five weeks, since David Ross went out with a second concussion.
Saltalamacchia did get a night off on Monday, after the team's 11-inning win on Sunday night. Ryan Lavarnway made the start against nasty Rays lefty Matt Moore.
"With 62 games left to go, [Saltalamacchia] may have caught a few more games where we've matched him up with some left-handers, such as last night," said manager John Farrell. "I think he's swung the bat right-handed this year better than he has in recent years. In fact, he's done a very good job of handling our staff. He's durable. He wants to play as much as possible. Maybe a few more games played to date [than we expected]."
The good news is that Ross, who has been rehabbing at his home in Tallahassee, Fla., will report back to the Red Sox later this week, though he isn't eligible to come off the disabled list until mid-August.
"He continues to progress with all activities, from exertion to throwing to BP," said Farrell. "He'll rejoin us later this week. It'll be good to get him back in our clubhouse."
Buchholz gets good news from Dr. Andrews
BOSTON -- Right-hander Clay Buchholz got just the piece of encouraging news he was looking for when he visited with Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., on Monday.
There is nothing significantly wrong with Buchholz's right shoulder or neck. The pain he feels when he tries to throw off the mound is normal considering the time he has missed.
Andrews had basically the same diagnosis as Boston's medical staff -- Buchholz is just recovering from inflammation.
Now that Buchholz has heard that news from two sources, he should have more self-assurance in the final phases of his rehab.
"Most important, Clay comes back with a little more peace of mind, and he'll continue on the throwing program that's been already put in place," said manager John Farrell. "He's coming off a good day of throwing yesterday -- out to 100 feet with greater intensity. He's traveling back here tonight, so he'll be at the park tomorrow."
Buchholz last pitched for the Red Sox on June 8, running his record to 9-0 in 12 starts.
Farrell estimated that Buchholz will need to throw three bullpen sessions and a simulated game in front of the Red Sox before he leaves for a Minor League rehab assignment.
"He's got more of an understanding of what he's experienced in the progression of the throwing that he's done to date since being put on the DL," Farrell said. "That assurance that the discomfort he's feeling is not injury-related, it's more about getting back into game shape, so I would think there would be more readiness on his part to push through that."
Thornton getting more comfortable with new club
BOSTON -- After a shaky first two outings for the Red Sox, Matt Thornton bounced back with a dominant third performance in Sunday night's 11-inning thriller against the Yankees.
Thornton struck out two of the three batters he faced, including Robinson Cano, in a 1-2-3 inning.
"That was my goal, to have a three-up-three-down inning. It's always your goal when you go out there," said Thornton.
The Red Sox hope the lefty specialist can become a reliable fixture out of the bullpen after acquiring him from the White Sox a couple of days before the All-Star break.
"I just need to get the ball out of the middle of the plate," Thornton said. "I made some mistakes over the plate and got beat on those. Just made better pitches. I feel more and more comfortable every day here. It's a great clubhouse and a great team, and I just want to do my part."
After dropping foul ball, Sox fan gets another chance
BOSTON -- For one Red Sox fan, redemption came in the form of a foul ball.
In the middle of a thrilling, 8-7 Red Sox victory over the Yankees on Sunday night, Paul Desrosiers thought he dropped the only baseball he'd ever have a chance to catch at a Major League game.
It happened in the seventh inning, when Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner fouled a ball back to the third-base side of home plate. As the ball rose toward his first-row seat in the upper deck, Desrosiers, who has been going to Fenway since he was six and had never caught a ball, realized this was his chance.
"All I could see was the ball coming to me and I said, 'I got this baby. I got this baby,'" the retired 62-year-old said.
But he didn't have it. The ball bounced off his hands and plummeted toward the lower level, temporarily taking his good spirits with it. He looked at his hands in disbelief as the Yankees fans in the row behind him high-fived in jubilation.
His friend chronicled the moment by snapping a picture of Desrosiers' disappointment.
"We gave him a hard time. I actually have a picture of him. He looks pretty sad," said Lucio Serpa, 64. "He definitely should have caught that ball. He's very athletic."
But even in his moment of despair, Desrosiers had an inkling that fate would find him again.
Sure enough, three innings later, it did.
A Shane Victorino foul ball in the 10th inning landed behind Desrosiers' seat, but it ricocheted and rolled right to him. The crowd remembered his miscue and gave him a nice ovation, which he responded to with a wave and pump-faking a throw toward the field.
"I had a feeling it was going to happen again, but what are the odds?" he said. "I've been coming here since I was 6 years old. It's the first time I've had two balls come my way. I had an opportunity once years ago when they had Interleague Play and they were playing against the Atlanta Braves. Pedro Martinez had 17 strikeouts in that game. I reached for another ball -- a ball came my way -- and I reached for it and it came off my left hand, my fingertips. I lost that one. That was the first time in my whole entire life, but I'll tell you what, this makes up for it, man. This is great."
Moments after Mike Napoli hit a walk-off solo homer in the 11th inning, Desrosiers still proudly gripped his prize. The game that started on Sunday seeped into the early hours of Monday, but he never considered leaving.
Sure, he wanted to see the Red Sox pull out the victory, but he also had another, more selfish reason.
"I wanted another [foul ball] actually," he said, smiling. "I was getting greedy."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Michael Periatt is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.