ARLINGTON -- Three missing Red Sox down. Four to go. Boston activated Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell and Sean Casey from the disabled list Friday and J.D. Drew, Bartolo Colon and David Aardsma may not be far behind.
If they aren't, the Red Sox will be as close to fully healthy as they've seemingly been all season.
"I still don't feel like we've had that all year," Lowell said. "I don't think we've done that for two weeks all year." In addition, Kevin Youkilis is expected to be back in action Saturday for the Red Sox. Youkilis, who missed four of the past five games coming into Friday due to back soreness and sickness, didn't travel with the club for Friday's game due to personal reasons. Manager Terry Francona said Youkilis would have been fit to play if he hadn't had to stay behind. "His back's good," Francona said. "He got it checked out [Thursday] and he'll be coming in [Saturday]. He came in for treatment and then stayed back." Drew, whose been on the disabled list since Aug. 18 with a herniated disc in his lower back, again took batting practice and finally shagged balls in the outfield before Friday's game. "It'll be the first time, which is positive, because lately it seems like he takes one step forward and two steps back," Francona said. Drew said he's shooting to return in two or three days, but added that the main thing is for him to get back on the field and see how his back reacts to hitting and playing the field. He said he's tried to be aggressive in the activities he participates in so he can gauge how fit his back is, but admits it hasn't been easy. "If anybody's ever dealt with a back problem, they know how unpredictable it can be," Drew said. "It's just a stabbing pain. It can act up at any moment, like just when you're getting up to walk across the room. Adding baseball to it and the activities that normal people don't have to do makes it that much harder. I'm just trying to get it up to par. Some days it cooperates. Sometimes it doesn't." Colon, on the 60-day DL since June 17 with back problems of his own, is slated to pitch for Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday in the club's International League playoff game. Francona said Aardsma, on the DL since Aug. 23 with a strained right groin, would throw to hitters on Saturday and the club would see how the session goes and decide what to do with him from there.
Shawn Shroyer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.