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Notes: Schilling set for next step

Notes: Schilling set for next step

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BOSTON -- Red Sox right-hander Curt Schilling will take his most significant step thus far in his rehab from right shoulder tendinitis when he throws 30-35 pitches off the mound before Friday night's game.

Schilling threw off flat ground on Thursday.

"[He's] doing well -- [he's] doing, I think, how we hoped," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "[The] ball came out of his hand good last couple of days he's thrown. [I'm] kind of excited to see him get up on the mound. That's the next big step, so that's good news."

The Red Sox haven't set a timetable for Schilling's return to the active roster. Kason Gabbard will again fill in for Schilling on Monday night against the Royals.

Pineiro is back: Reliever Joel Pineiro, who registered two strikeouts in a scoreless rehab inning for Class A Lowell on Wednesday, will be activated before Friday's game against the Blue Jays. To make room for Pineiro on the roster, the Red Sox sent Minor League veteran Jeff Bailey back to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Bailey hit his first Major League homer at Detroit on Sunday.

Pineiro has been sidelined since June 28 with a right ankle sprain.

Fellow righty reliever Brendan Donnelly (strained right forearm) also appears to be close to returning from the disabled list.

"Donnelly will go out tomorrow to Lowell and throw an inning, and then we will sit with Donnelly and [pitching coach] John Farrell and Theo [Epstein] and go from there," Francona said. "That's as far as we're going, but he's doing well."

Rested Youkilis back at first: Nobody needed the All-Star break more than first baseman Kevin Youkilis, who was able to rest up his sore left quad that kept him out of six games.

Youkilis was back in there on Thursday night, batting fifth. He went 0-for-2 with a pair of walks.

In his first at-bat vs. Jays ace Roy Halladay, Youkilis picked up an RBI by grounding out to second base.

Lugo clears Mendoza line: After belting three hits in the last game before the All-Star break, Julio Lugo started the second half with two more to raise his average to .201.

It marked the first time since June 20 that Lugo left the ballpark with an average above .200.

"I know I'm capable of doing it," said Lugo. "You always want to do good. We're in first place. I care that my average is there, but I'm long as I'm doing something good for my team, really my average doesn't matter right now."

Coming up: Julian Tavarez (5-7, 4.97 ERA) draws the start for Boston on Friday night. Toronto counters with right-hander Shaun Marcum (4-3, 3.62). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.

Ian Brown 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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