Clayton was one of six new players suiting up for the big club before the Triple-A season was to conclude Monday. Also milling about the Red Sox clubhouse before Saturday's game were outfielders Brandon Moss and Jacoby Ellsbury and starting pitcher Clay Buchholz, all of them recalled after brief stints with the Red Sox this summer.
Left-handed pitcher Craig Breslow was also recalled from Triple-A. And, like Clayton, right-handed pitcher Bryan Corey had his contract purchased by the Red Sox.
That makes six players joining the Red Sox as teams throughout baseball were allowed to expand active rosters.
"We're not afraid to throw any of them out there," manager Terry Francona said. "And we will."
Back to the bigs: Before hearing from Felder, who remains a friend, Clayton pondered retirement.
"There's not too many times when you get to look back and see what you want to do in life," Clayton said. "I got to spend some quality time with my family. I took my son to his first day of school. So, it couldn't have happened at a better time. And I'm here right now."
Coming to the Red Sox was, for the .258 career hitter with a sterling defensive reputation at shortstop, "the best thing that ever happened to me up to this point in my baseball life."
"This is where I'm supposed to be right now," Clayton said.
Family considerations weighed heavily in his decision to return to baseball, but so did the opportunity to play for a pennant.
"I want to be a part of a championship team and win a World Series," he said.
Francona said that Clayton will have a limited role in the team as it speeds into the final weeks of the season. Nevertheless, the team will plan to treat him, and benefit from him, "like the veteran that he [is]."
"That might not necessarily always correlate with at-bats," Francona said. "But he will be treated with the amount of respect that he deserves. Because of who he is and what he's done, and the way he's gone about it."
Gathering Moss: Recalling Moss for the stretch run gave the Red Sox depth in the corner outfield spots, which had been sorely lacking since Manny Ramirez was sidelined indefinitely with a strained oblique muscle. Right-fielder J.D. Drew's injury Friday, a contusion incurred while fouling a ball off the right foot, promised even more uncertainty in left and right.
Moss started in left field during Saturday night's game against the Orioles.
"I'll do whatever I can and keep trying to win," said Moss, smiling after earning a chance to play at Fenway Park for the first time. "That's the main goal, to help the team and try to keep these guys fresh, because they've got a job to do in October."
Mirabelli back, tentatively: Backup catcher Doug Mirabelli was activated and in uniform before Saturday night's game, a day after Francona hinted the team would return him to the active roster even if he wasn't fully ready. He will be deployed only in emergency situations, for now.
Starting in right: Bobby Kielty, who played most of Friday night's three-hour, 50-minute affair after Drew left with the injury. That was three hours and 50 minutes longer than Francona preferred to play the recently acquired Kielty, who has been battling back pain.
"Obviously, we weren't trying to run Kielty out there that early," Francona said. "Because that's exactly what we try to stay away from. And Bobby really tightened up last night as the game progressed."
But, Francona said, "Somewhat surprisingly, he showed up today feeling pretty good. So we'll give it another shot."
Crowded clubhouse: Buchholz, the Saturday starter, lounged in a chair before one screen of the clubhouse's four-sided television setup, wearing headphones. Ten feet away stood Ellsbury, whose makeshift wooden locker -- the Red Sox brought in several of them to accommodate the expanded roster -- seemed tailor-made for watching TV.
"Everybody's been sitting down in my chair," Ellsbury said, "saying I've got the best seat in the house."
Despite the added ranks of pitchers in the clubhouse, Friday's late scratch, starter Tim Wakefield, said he felt "fine" enough to pitch Thursday.
"Wake is going to have a couple of days where we try to calm this down," Francona said. "He'll go throw Monday. Hopefully, that'll go fine. He'll throw a side [bullpen session] Tuesday, and fall right into his place Thursday in the rotation. I think we're hopeful that'll happen."
Manny/Drew update: There's nothing new to report on the Ramirez front.
One day after an MRI showed less fluid in Ramirez's oblique area than there would be to warrant serious concern, Francona said the star slugger would remain out indefinitely.
"There's nothing to update," Francona said.
Meanwhile, the team remains unsure about how it will handle Drew's injury in the coming days.
"As the day progresses, we'll get a better read on that," Francona said.
On deck: Jon Lester (2-0, 5.67 ERA) will be recalled from Double-A Portland to get his second start at Fenway Park this season on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. ET. Lester kept his regular schedule with one Minor League start as the team created room during the last week of August for left-handed reliever Javier Lopez. Right-hander Daniel Cabrera (9-13, 5.08 ERA) will start for the Orioles.