Links 6-30-2010: Team health, trade strategy, catching, Lackey, All-Star voting, more on Beltre

There is still no timetable for Jacoby Ellsbury’s return, and that undefinedness has me worrying if he’ll be back at all before mid-August. Meanwhile, it looks like Jed Lowrie is just about ready to start a rehab assignment. Don’t disrespect mononucleosis.

Predictably, Theo Epstein is taking a conservative approach as we approach the month of mid-season trading. He wants to evaluate the depth we’ve got in-house more before making a move that will cost us prospects. Makes some sense, as we’re only a game out of first while missing 2/3 of our starting outfield most of this season. Epstein notes that he is very concerned about the state of our bullpen, but also stresses that he is not ready to give away good prospects for relief help.

With Victor Martinez on the shelf, Jason Varitek steps into the starting role once again. Now, aren’t you thankful for player options? It may actually be a good thing for Martinez to rest up, and Varitek ranks 14th on Beyond the Boxscore’s catcher defensive rankings, while Martinez is number 84 out of 90 Major League catchers. Why is Gustavo Molina up as the backup? Because he’s had some experience catching the knuckler. That’s another reason why the Sox were looking at acquiring Kevin Cash as well.

John Lackey was very solid last night against Tampa Bay. Not great, but solid. If there’s one bright spot to his year thus far, it’s that he’s performing best at Fenway, the place that he supposedly hated.

The Red Sox are all hurting in the All-Star voting process. ESPN’s Rob Neyer lists some of the more deserving AL All-Stars who are currently lagging in the voting and may not get selected. From the Red Sox, it’s our very own Kevin Youkilis.

David Golebiewski of FanGraphs writes yet another ode to Adrian Beltre. It’s true, he’s having just a phenomenal season. I look at the way he swings at everything, and I wonder how he can possibly be hitting .349, but there it is.


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