ST. PETERSBURG -- Manager Terry Francona decided to start Mike Aviles on Sunday at third base in place of Jed Lowrie, who is 1-for-9 in his career against Rays starter James Shields.

"Jed's struggled against Shields, and since we've played him a few days in a row, we can give him two days off," Francona said. "It will be really good for him."

Lowrie is 0-for-12 on the current road trip, which began six games ago in Toronto.

Aviles is 1-for-5 against Shields for his career.

Jackson healthy, but on bench vs. right-handers

ST. PETERSBURG -- Conor Jackson is finally healthy, but he has had to deal with sitting through the three-game series vs. the Rays because he is normally used against left-handed pitchers.

Jackson, who was acquired in a trade with the Athletics on Aug. 31, hasn't been able to contribute much to the Red Sox due to a bruised right knee he suffered in his second start with Boston.

"It's one thing to get injured on a team you've been playing for the whole season and another to get hurt in the second game with the team you get traded to that's in a pennant race," said Jackson, who is battling through an 0-for-25 slump. "I haven't been playing great and I need every opportunity I can, and for me to miss opportunities it's not a good thing now, so I'm trying to get back as quick as I can."

The Rays have started right-handers Wade Davis, Jeremy Hellickson and James Shields over the three-game set. Jackson said he is available to play if the correct situation arises.

"I talked to [manager Terry Francona] yesterday and he knows I'm not 100 percent, but I don't have the time to sit out and wait until I'm 100 percent," Jackson said. "But you have to be out there if you want to produce. You have to be out there. ... I feel like I've had some good at-bats, but when you're playing every day, it's easier to come out of this."

Jackson batted .249 with 17 doubles, a triple and four home runs with the A's before the trade. The hitless streak is the longest of his seven-year career.

Worth noting

Jacoby Ellsbury, who turned 28 on Sunday, has hit safely in his last 15 games. He is 23-for-65 (.354) during the streak with 10 doubles, a triple, three homers and 10 RBIs. He has hit .333 in 85 career games in September, the best batting average by a Red Sox in the month since Wade Boggs batted .349 with Boston from 1982-92.