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Doubront fans nine over seven innings

It's no secret that the Red Sox have been plagued by injuries this season.

Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz have already spent time on the disabled list this season. Just as several of Boston's best began to return, however, the Red Sox learned that they would be without their only All-Star and best hitter, designated hitter David Ortiz, for at least a week as they look to stay afloat in the Wild Card race during a four-game series against the first-place White Sox.

"We have weathered the storm," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "I don't think the players are affected by it at all and I just deal with it as though someone came out of the game in the first inning with a hamstring or something."

The Red Sox are one of eight teams separated by two games in the American League Wild Card standings. Crawford made his season debut Monday after recovering from wrist surgery and Ellsbury returned to the Red Sox on Friday after missing three months with a separated shoulder. Ortiz, who left the eighth inning of Monday's win over the White Sox with a sore right Achilles tendon, leads the team with a .316 batting average, 23 home runs, and 58 RBIs.

"It's crazy," Ortiz said. "One comes out, another one goes in. It's like a roller coaster. Hopefully, it doesn't take too long."

The Ortiz-less Red Sox have split the first two games of their series against the White Sox, who hold a 3 1/2-game lead in the AL Central. Pedro Hernandez, 23, will make his Major League debut Wednesday when he starts against the Red Sox as he fills in for the injured Gavin Floyd. He went 7-2 with a 2.90 ERA while making 13 starts between stints with Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte.

Hernandez will become the 10th White Sox starting pitcher this season and the 10th White Sox rookie to see the field this year. Manager Robin Ventura is hoping Hernandez can perform like fellow rookie Jose Quintana, who is 4-1 with a 2.60 ERA in 11 appearances, including nine starts.

"We go through Spring Training and he and [Quintana] were kind of in the same role," Ventura said. "So you're hoping to catch lightning twice."

The Red Sox will send a young southpaw of their own to the mound in 24-year-old Felix Doubront. He earned his team-leading ninth win in a 9-5 win over the Yankees in the second half of a doubleheader July 7. After the Yankees took a 3-0 lead in the first inning without Doubront getting an out, he retired 18 of the next 20 batters he faced. He gave up four runs, three of them earned, while striking out six and walking one over 6 1/3 innings in the victory.

Doubront, who will be making his second career appearance against the White Sox and first at Fenway Park, is 4-0 with a 3.33 ERA in four career starts against the AL Central, holding opposing hitters to a .213 batting average in those games. He picked up his first win of the season in his only other start against the White Sox, allowing three runs on five hits in six innings while throwing a season-high 110 pitches in a 10-3 win April 26.

White Sox: Floyd hopes first DL stint a short one
• Floyd was placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career Tuesday with right elbow tendinitis, retroactive to July 8, meaning he will be eligible to return July 23.

An MRI showed no structural damage in his arm. After getting treatment Tuesday and Wednesday, Floyd will begin throwing Thursday and have a bullpen session Friday in hopes that he will be able to start next Monday against the Twins.

"We have a lot of season left," Floyd said. "I want to be there for the rest of the season and be strong and give my best effort out there without having any doubts whether something is going to get worse or something like that."

"He checked out," Ventura said. "You want these guys to be as healthy as they can when they go out there and have no doubts at all about what's going on physically."

• Kevin Youkilis has been hot all month and he has continued his torrid pace into his first two games against his former team. After going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles in Monday's series opener against the Red Sox, his first game at Fenway Park since being traded to the White Sox, Youkilis hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning off Jon Lester during Tuesday's 7-5 win. He is batting .500 with three runs scored and three RBIs in the first two games of the series, while Will Middlebrooks, who has taken over at third base for the Red Sox, has one single in eight at-bats.

Red Sox: DH will vary without Ortiz in lineup
• Valentine will rotate several players at Ortiz's DH position, beginning with Daniel Nava, who batted third and went 0-for-3 on Tuesday. Before injuring his right Achilles tendon, Ortiz was riding an 11-game hit streak, batting .429 with two home runs, four RBIs, 13 walks, and a .583 on-base percentage during that stretch.

"We can rotate guys through if we want," Valentine said. "I don't see one person striking out as someone we're going to put there and say, 'He's replacing David Ortiz as the designated hitter.' You don't do that. I think we'll get some combinations of people who will help us score runs."

Worth noting
• After Tuesday's win, the White Sox have won eight of their last nine games at Fenway Park.

• Youkilis became the fourth player to play at least 500 games with the Red Sox and record at least three hits in his first game back in Boston in another uniform.

• Ortiz recorded at least one hit and one walk in his last 10 games before getting hurt Monday, breaking a team record set by Ted Williams in 1950.

• Aaron Cook gave up one unearned run over seven innings for the Red Sox in Monday's win over the White Sox without walking or striking out a batter. In doing so, he became the first player in the modern era to have two or fewer strikeouts and walks over his first five starts of a season. Comments