ANAHEIM -- The Red Sox welcomed Matt Albers back to their bullpen, activating the righty from the 15-day disabled list prior to Thursday night's contest against the Angels. To make room for Albers, Alfredo Aceves was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Albers was placed on the disabled list on April 8 with a right lat strain. After two rehab outings for Pawtucket, in which he allowed one hit over three innings and struck out two, he was declared ready to return.

Before going on the DL, Albers looked sharp in his first two outings for Boston, firing two hitless and scoreless innings while striking out three. He was the final player to make the team in Spring Training.

"I'm definitely excited to get back and feel healthy and feel ready," Albers said. "It was definitely tough. I never like to be on the DL. To miss out this early was unfortunate, but I feel fine now. It actually went pretty quick for me so that was nice."

Aceves, 29, was summoned from Pawtucket to take Albers' spot. The righty held his own, posting a 2.25 ERA with five strikeouts in six games.

The demotion had little to do with the way Aceves pitched. Instead, the Red Sox actually need him to get stretched out at Triple-A as a starter.

"We're going send him down to start just to make sure of our starting depth," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "We've seen that in the past where we've run into problems, and we don't want it to happen. We've tried to assure him that we really like him, but it's a tough message for them to hear when they're going down. I told him, I said, 'Look at the way we used you. But you're the guy with the option. That's the way it is.' But we also want him to be stretched out a little more."