Stern needed 17 days of service time to complete his requirement as a Rule 5 player. Wednesday was day No. 17.
The Red Sox like Stern as a player, but they don't want to stunt his development by giving him inconsistent playing time at the Major League level.
"Totally makes sense to me," said Stern. "They want me to go down and get at-bats to become the player I can be, and that's what you need to do. I lost a whole year last year [with injuries]. You throw a year away and you're 25 years old, you've got to make it up, and I didn't get to play winter ball last year because of shoulder surgery. I love to play. It doesn't matter where it is. I just need to get at-bats in because you need to get that experience under your belt."
Though Stern made some dazzling plays on defense during his time with the Red Sox, he struggled to get his bat going. He went 0-for-4 Wednesday and is hitting .150.
"There was always a hope that you could stick around, but they want me to me to play every day," Stern said. "You have to face righties and lefties. You don't want to be tabbed a fourth outfielder right out of the gate when you're young. You want to go to that role if that's what happens, but you want to play and hopefully be a starter some day in the big leagues."
Stern turned in another tremendous catch on Wednesday, crashing into the wall to rob Toby Hall of extra bases to end the sixth inning.
"It was good to get out there and play defense. Obviously, I wish I hit a little more but that will come around, you just have to get out there every day," said Stern.
Another milestone for Timlin: Veteran reliever Mike Timlin made his 900th appearance in Tuesday's game, earning the win. Among active pitchers, only Nationals reliever Mike Stanton (1,033) has made more appearances than Timlin.
Timlin got the ball and will put it in his home office. He was asked what his next milestone will be.
"Retirement," quipped the 40-year-old Timlin. "All these [teammates] are trying to get me to be thinking about 1,000. I'm just thinking about trying to make it through the year."
Timlin has been remarkably resilient and has seemingly gotten better with age.
"When you start this game, you believe you're going to play forever," he said. "That's the reason you play this game, because it becomes a part of you. It's what you do, it's a gift from God. You use it to the best of your ability and do what you can with it."
Papelbon gets a breather: After throwing 34 pitches to record Tuesday's harrowing save, it was unlikely that Jonathan Papelbon would have been used during Wednesday's game, even if a save situation had presented itself.
"My intuition says that he won't be available because it was almost like a two-inning stint last night," manager Terry Francona said before the game. "He had to reach back, it was a lot of pitches. He said he felt great, and that's good news. Whether he's available or not available, I'm glad he seems to be bouncing back."
Fenway workouts: Though the Red Sox will be on the road for 10 days beginning on Friday, the Fenway Park field will get plenty of use. The rehabbing trio of David Wells (right knee), Crisp (right index finger) and Gabe Kapler (left Achilles tendon) will all have daily workouts with strength and conditioning coach Scott Waugh.
Righty reliever David Riske, on the DL with back woes, will accompany the team on the road trip and work his way back toward the active roster.
Coming up: Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (1-2, 4.34 ERA) closes out this homestand on Thursday night at 7:05 ET against the Devil Rays. He'll be opposed by left-hander Scott Kazmir (1-1, 4.82 ERA).