TORONTO -- When the Red Sox open their homestand against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night, Dustin Pedroia expects to return to the lineup.
Pedroia exited a game on May 28 with discomfort in his right hand. The next day, the second baseman was diagnosed with a torn adductor muscle in his right thumb.
He avoided a stint to the 15-day disabled list and resumed batting practice on Saturday, hitting with a specially fitted brace over his hand. When Pedroia got to the park on Sunday, he had no swelling or other ill effects from his hitting session.
As he packed up and got ready for the flight home, Pedroia was asked what was next in his progression.
"Play Tuesday," said Pedroia.
When Mike Aviles got hit on the throwing hand during Saturday's game, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was set to insert Pedroia into the game. The Red Sox didn't have any other infielders on the bench. Aviles was able to stay in the game.
"The good thing is he feels good," said Valentine. "When Mike got hit with that ball, [Pedroia] was ready to go out in the field. I wasn't really hesitant. So we'll see."
Valentine keeps Nava in lineup for finale
TORONTO -- First, Daniel Nava was going to get a day off on Saturday. Then it was going to be Sunday. Upon further review, manager Bobby Valentine said that the left fielder can take Monday off. Of course, Nava has no choice on the matter -- the Red Sox don't play on Monday.
Nava's start on Sunday was his 24th in left field in the 24 games he's been back on the team.
The switch-hitter was hitting .315 with two homers, 18 RBIs, a .453 on-base percentage and a .534 slugging percentage entering Sunday.
Instead of sitting Nava, third baseman Will Middlebrooks was out of the lineup, as Adrian Gonzalez moved back to first base and Kevin Youkilis played the hot corner.
"I looked at [Nava] in the training room," Valentine said. "He's young, he's strong. He's feeling good. The last thing I think he needs is two days away from making good contact."
Roster decisions looming for Red Sox
TORONTO -- Expect Boston's brass to spend time during Monday's off-day discussing upcoming roster decisions. Outfielder Darnell McDonald could be ready to be activated by Tuesday, and Cody Ross (fractured navicular bone in his left foot) also might resurface in the near future.
With the outfield getting healthy again, the Red Sox will have to decide if it still makes sense to play Adrian Gonzalez in right field while deploying Kevin Youkilis and Will Middlebrooks at the corner positions.
Since coming off the disabled list on May 22, Youkilis is hitting .314 with a .543 slugging percentage. Middlebrooks, since his callup from Pawtucket on May 2, is hitting .314 with six homers, 22 RBIs and a .559 slugging percentage.
In other words, even though the Red Sox couldn't have asked any more out of Middlebrooks, he might be optioned back to Pawtucket in the near future if manager Bobby Valentine starts running out of ways to get him in the lineup.
Meanwhile, Youkilis continues to surface in trade rumors, with CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman posting Sunday that the Dodgers, Phillies and D-backs are among the teams showing early interest in Youkilis.
What will the Red Sox do with their logjam?
"There's not a lot of hypothetical talk," said Valentine. "There's talk about where we are and what we have at this present time. I guess [general manager] Ben [Cherington] is having a lot of, you know, thoughts, about the roster, because the roster is pretty complicated. It's going to continue to be challenging."