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Notes: Delcarmen past struggles

Notes: Delcarmen past struggles

NEW YORK -- Roughly two weeks after experiencing a crushing low point in another portion of New York, Manny Delcarmen rejoined the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium and was activated in time for Monday night's game.

The Bronx is a long way from Buffalo as it is. But Delcarmen further helped to distance himself from the debacle he suffered there with Triple-A Pawtucket by his well-timed promotion.

Delcarmen and fellow Sox prospect Craig Hansen earned national infamy on May 5 by squandering Pawtucket's 14-6 lead in the ninth inning in what wound up a 15-14 loss.

"I told [Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson] to give me the ball as soon as possible," Delcarmen said. "He didn't let me throw for a couple of days. I told him right away, 'Just give me the ball.' I talked to Craig and I was like, 'What just happened?' All you can do is just look back on it and turn the page."

And that's precisely what Delcarmen has done. Over his last four outings at Triple-A, the right-hander threw six scoreless innings and struck out nine. Overall, he went 2-2 with a 5.05 ERA at Pawtucket.

"I've never been in this position where my numbers were at where they're at right now," Delcarmen said. "I think every pitcher goes through it. I've been throwing the ball well lately."

For a man who grew up just a few miles from Fenway Park, there was no better way to return to his hometown team than at Yankee Stadium for a series against Boston's longtime rival.

"I was surprised when I looked at the schedule and I was like, 'Right into Yankee Stadium,'" Delcarmen said. "But it's fun. It's the best rivalry in baseball, and I'm glad to be here."

How long will Delcarmen be here?

"They told me it could be four days, it could be a week, it could be a month," said Delcarmen. "They said to expect anything, so I've just got to come up here and hopefully throw well and throw strikes and leave it up to them and see what happens. I just have to be ready for anything."

The Red Sox need only four starters until May 29, so Delcarmen will serve as the eighth reliever in the bullpen. But after a stretch in which the Red Sox played two doubleheaders in three days last week, Sox manager Terry Francona is confident he can find work for Delcarmen.

Timlin back on mound: Setup man Mike Timlin threw 35 pitches off the mound in a bullpen session before Monday's game, marking his most significant step since being placed on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis on May 3. Timlin will have another side session in the next few days, and the Red Sox will re-evaluate his program from there.

"Again, we're just trying to stay going in the right direction and get him stronger," Francona said. "Once we get going, we want to keep it going in the right direction. This is a good step, getting him back on the mound."

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Red Sox Coverage
Schilling's gem ends with loss
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Sox don't take lead for granted
Notes: Matsuzaka pushed back
Season Series
Yankees win 10-8
• 9/16: Yankees 4, Red Sox 3
• 9/15: Red Sox 10,Yankees 1
• 9/14: Yankees 8, Red Sox 7
Previous season series
2006: Yankees 11, Red Sox 8
2005: Yankees 10, Red Sox 9
2004: Red Sox 11, Yankees 8

Drew feeling fine: According to Francona, right fielder J.D. Drew has felt no ill effects since his return to the lineup from a low back contusion.

"He's doing OK. I actually talked to him last night on the plane, and I just wanted to make sure he's OK for tonight," Francona said. "He really wanted to play, so that's a good sign."

Change for the better: No Red Sox player is in a better groove than lefty reliever Hideki Okajima, who came into this series with 20 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings.

The key has been Okajima's changeup that he throws with a splitter grip. How did that pitch come to fruition?

"He and [pitching coach John Farrell] were messing around in the bullpen one day, and they had corresponded back and forth, I'm sure, with an interpreter there [regarding] the grip and how to make it do some things," said Francona. "Boy, it's turned into an unbelievable pitch."

Tito not swept up in it: Naturally, the big storyline entering this series was that the Red Sox, who entered leading their American League East rivals by 10 1/2 games, could really go for the jugular with a three-game sweep. But Francona cringes at such talk.

"I don't even have a thought on that," Francona said. "That hasn't even entered my mind. I know [the media has] a great time attacking all angles. That has no bearing on our preparing for this series. It just doesn't make sense to come in thinking like that."

On deck: The Sox will send right-hander Julian Tavarez (2-4, 5.59 ERA) to the mound in the middle game of this three-game set on Tuesday night. The Yankees will counter with fellow righty Mike Mussina (2-2, 5.64 ERA). First pitch is slated for 7:05 ET.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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