Lowrie on pace to return to Red Sox Monday
Club decided against activating infielder on Saturday
BOSTON -- When the Red Sox get to Minneapolis on Monday, they should have Jed Lowrie back in action for the first time since June 16.
The switch-hitting shortstop, recovering from a left shoulder strain, will complete his Minor League rehab with Triple-A Pawtucket this weekend, serving as the designated hitter on Friday night and then playing shortstop in Saturday's game.
Assuming that goes well, Lowrie will have a down day on Sunday and fly with the Red Sox that night for their six-game road trip against the Twins and Mariners.
There was originally some thought that Lowrie could return to Boston's lineup as early as Saturday, when the Red Sox will face Yankees ace lefty CC Sabathia. But upon further review, the club decided to make a more conservative schedule.
"I think we just felt like we might have been pushing it a little bit," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
Lowrie got two hits, including a double, in his game on Thursday at Pawtucket. He also looked good in the field.
"Real good," Francona said. "He swung the bat very well and made a diving play right on that shoulder. He did fine. If you start pushing it a little bit, not a lot comes of that."
Red Sox plan throwing program for Jenks
BOSTON -- Bobby Jenks sat in Red Sox manager Terry Francona's office before Friday's game against the Yankees and formulated an outline for a full-fledged throwing program that will put the right-hander in position to rejoin the team for the stretch run.
The righty reliever will throw a side session on Sunday, his first since he was placed on the disabled list back on July 16 for the third time this season.
"It's obviously in pencil," said Francona. "I think the last couple of times, we've reached a little quick and it's gone backward. He'll throw a 'pen [session] Sunday. If that goes OK, then when we go on the road, we'll probably send him to Fort Myers, [Fla.], so he doesn't have to travel. And he's going to throw some 'pens and get into some simulated games, things like that, before he would head to Pawtucket."
Expected to join Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon as one of the top 1-2-3 bullpen punches in the Majors, Jenks has been a non-factor for most of his first season in Boston, thanks to injuries.
Red Sox to keep Miller in 'pen for now
BOSTON -- Originally, the Red Sox were planning on using a six-man rotation until next Thursday's off-day in Seattle. But manager Terry Francona has decided to scrap those plans.
Andrew Miller, who threw 70 pitches during a laborious 2 2/3-inning stint out of the bullpen on Thursday, won't make another start until either Aug. 16 or 17, when the Red Sox play three games in two days against the Rays.
Tim Wakefield will open Boston's series at Minnesota on Monday night, taking his third crack at career win No. 200. Erik Bedard will make his second start in a Sox uniform on Tuesday, and Jon Lester will close out the series against the Twins on Wednesday. John Lackey, Josh Beckett and Wakefield are expected to pitch the three-game series in Seattle.
Miller had been inconsistent in his last few starts before lacking command in his first bullpen outing for the Red Sox.
"We talked to Andrew," Francona said. "Andrew threw a lot of pitches last night. We'll give him some downtime. We may ask him to cover in the bullpen a little bit. Then we'll get him prepared for a start when we come back. It will be one of those games, most likely against Tampa Bay. We have three in two days. We want to kind of see where we're situated there but that's a pretty logical landing point."
Aviles a natural fit in Red Sox's clubhouse
BOSTON -- Mike Aviles grew up in New York, surrounded by a family whose loyalty remained split between the Mets and Yankees.
Aviles wasn't particularly a fan of either, keeping his allegiance with the Seattle Mariners, where his favorite player, Ken Griffey Jr., roamed the outfield.
But it doesn't take a fan of either team to understand what's at stake this weekend, when the Red Sox and Yankees entered a three-game series with the same record. Not only are bragging rights on the line, but so is first place in the American League East.
"Growing up, I know there were numerous times when I went to the ballpark watching the Yankees and Red Sox," said the recently acquired Aviles, who will have plenty of family members in the stands at Fenway Park. "It's definitely an exciting weekend to be a part of."
It's been especially fun for a player who spent his entire career in the Royals organization -- a team that hasn't finished higher than fourth place in its division since 2003, the year Aviles was drafted.
"Honestly, the one thing I love about being on this team is that there's not a person in here that doesn't come to the park expecting to win," Aviles said. "And they know that we're going to win. Nobody cares how -- just find a way to win the ballgame. That's a very important part of this organization."
With Marco Scutaro starting at shortstop in Friday night's series opener and Jed Lowrie due back on Monday, Aviles is hoping he gets his first taste of the rivalry this weekend. He spent most of batting practice shagging fly balls in the outfield, a position he's never played at the Major League level but one at which the Red Sox may use him.
Whether he's playing or not, Aviles is simply happy to be on a team that appears destined for the postseason.
"It's awesome," Aviles said. "And the crazy part about it is everybody in here is treating me like I've been here for years, and I love that. Because I don't feel like the new guy. I feel comfortable. I feel part of the team, and it makes it enjoyable to come to the park every day knowing you have an opportunity to win."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Jason Mastrodonato is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.