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Notes: Drew, Varitek return to lineup

Notes: Drew, Varitek return to lineup

BOSTON -- After battling minor injuries, Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew and catcher Jason Varitek returned to the starting lineup on Monday night against the Royals.

Drew had missed two games after aggravating his right hamstring on Friday. He started in the leadoff spot in Monday's series opener.

Varitek sat out Sunday after a series of tipped balls from the previous game took a toll on his hands and left wrist behind the plate.

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Are they feeling ready?

"Yeah, at least so far," manager Terry Francona said before the game. "I reserve the right to go watch BP. ... Just to make sure they're OK."

10,000 postscript: Before his hiring by Boston in 2004, Francona's only Major League managing experience had come in Philadelphia. The Phillies suffered their 10,000 loss in franchise history on Sunday night, the most of any team in professional sports.

Francona, who helmed losses 9,289 through 9,652 before he was dismissed after the 2000 season, and who famously had his tires slashed by Phillies fans on Fan Appreciation Day, slyly hinted that he was invested in the game's outcome.

"I was flipping around," Francona said. "I watched a little bit of it. My kids were actually home last night. They didn't want to watch the 10,000th loss. So I was kind of flipping through."

A reporter noted that Francona presided over loss 9,500, the franchise's previous milestone.

"Might've been [9,600], and [9,700] and [9,800] too," Francona joked. "There was a couple of turnovers there. I'm not sure what it was. There was a few."

On the farm: Twelve days after his last start at Double-A Portland, righty phenom Clay Buchholz was scheduled to make his debut at Triple-A Pawtucket against Ottawa on Monday night.

In the afternoon, Red Sox director of player development Mike Hazen, who was on hand to promote the Red Sox's Aug. 11 "Futures at Fenway" Minor League doubleheader, said he was pleased with Buchholz's swift development, particularly the improved command of his fastball.

"I think we need to keep some realistic expectations for him too," Hazen said. "The guy's going up a level. It's going to be a pretty good transition for him, having to go from Double-A to Triple-A. We've been extremely excited and pleased with the work that he's put in and the development we've seen, from command of his fastball to his delivery, to all those things."

When will Buchholz be ready for Boston?

"That's a question that [general manager] Theo [Epstein] and Tito [Francona] and those guys are going to have to make a decision on at some point," Hazen said. "But he's moving in the direction. We feel like he's on the proper development path. There's still things to work on, and he's going to do that at Triple-A. I think somewhere in the next 6-12 months he's going to have the ability to impact the big-league club."

On deck: On Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET, knuckleballer Tim Wakefield will get the start against 24-year-old Royals right-hander Leo Nunez. Nunez, who had sporadic relief experience in 2005 and 2006, was injured during Spring Training and will be making his first career Major League start in place of John Thomson. He has not appeared in the big leagues this season.

Alex McPhillips is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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