MINNEAPOLIS -- While it's still to be determined how much the return of Jed Lowrie will impact Marco Scutaro's playing time, both players were in Red Sox manager Terry Francona's lineup for Monday night's opener of a three-game series in Minnesota.
Lowrie, who had been sidelined since June 17 with a left shoulder strain, batted eighth and played third base. Scutaro batted ninth and stayed at shortstop.
Third baseman Kevin Youkilis got the night off. Amid a busy portion of the schedule when the Red Sox won't have had any days off between July 22 and Aug. 11, Francona is trying to rest regulars when he can.
Dustin Pedroia might get a rare night off on Wednesday, which, coupled with Thursday's team day off, could give the second baseman a nice respite.
Pedroia batted cleanup Monday, a spot in the lineup he has thrived in whenever Youkilis has been out. Carl Crawford, who has been red-hot of late, batted second.
The return of Lowrie gives the Red Sox a switch-hitting bat with power, not to mention a player who feasts against lefties.
"It's great for us," Francona said. "Shoot, the first six weeks of the year he was our best hitter, our most productive hitter. We don't have to have him play every day. He plays third tonight -- he'll probably play short tomorrow. We'll see how he does tonight. It's nice to have him and Scoot together. I think it will give us a lot more production."
Jenks' side session derailed by illness
MINNEAPOLIS -- How did Bobby Jenks do in his side session on Sunday? As it turns out, it never happened.
The righty reliever, who is in the midst of his third stint on the disabled list this season, got sick and had to be hospitalized.
"He didn't [throw a side session]," manager Terry Francona said on Monday. "You guys are the crack media. He hasn't been there for three days. He had intestinal turmoil. We actually had to send him to the hospital. I think he's having a colonoscopy today just to check some things, so, hopefully, we'll have something pretty soon."
Jenks has been sidelined by upper back woes. Sunday's side session was going to be the first since his latest trip to the DL. Before developing the illness, Jenks was planning on training in Fort Myers, Fla., this week while the Red Sox were on the road. For now, those plans are on hold.
"He got really sick," Francona said. "I mean, really sick."
Varitek had the green light on Sunday
MINNEAPOLIS -- If the Red Sox hadn't engineered their impressive comeback against Mariano Rivera and the Yankees on Sunday night, one moment that would have been magnified was when Jason Varitek swung at a 3-0 pitch and popped up, thwarting a rally in the bottom of the sixth inning.
To be clear, Red Sox manager Terry Francona did signal for third-base coach Tim Bogar to give Varitek the green light in that spot against Yankees reliever Cory Wade.
"Obviously," Francona said. "We do that a lot. To me, that was a guy that wanted to throw a breaking ball, so you get a fastball count. [Varitek] just popped it up. We give guys the green light probably a lot more than people think. They don't always swing."
Varitek felt bad that he couldn't square the pitch up.
"Got a good pitch to drive in that situation with somebody who doesn't throw real hard," Varitek said. "I had a good pitch to hit. I missed it. I popped it up."
In what situations does Francona like to use the green light?
"It's not that easy," Francona said. "[Depends on] who's pitching, who's hitting, who's coming up behind [him]. Sometimes what I think they might throw 3-1. How they're swinging the bat. Pitch counts. There's all kinds of stuff. If a guy can win a game with that swing, we usually let him hit."