ST. PETERSBURG -- Jacoby Ellsbury's return to the Red Sox's lineup was just the first bit of unusually positive injury news the club had to share Friday. Boston has used the disabled list for 20 players this season, but a few key players should be on their way back relatively soon.
That will start Saturday, when Clay Buchholz comes off the 15-day disabled list to start against the Rays. Carl Crawford said Thursday he will join the Red Sox on Monday after going 2-for-3 with a run in five innings of work Thursday night with Triple-A Pawtucket.
Manager Bobby Valentine wasn't in quite as much of a hurry to guarantee Crawford would make his 2012 debut, but said he's feeling good and "getting closer."
Reliever Andrew Bailey threw a bullpen session Friday afternoon, his first one since June 22, when he felt tightness in his arm and had to delay his comeback from offseason thumb surgery.
"He's feeling better," Valentine said.
Reliever Chris Carpenter, on the 60-day disabled list after right elbow surgery, was scheduled to start for Double-A Portland on Friday night. He recorded a 4.50 ERA with five strikeouts in four innings over four rehab outings with the GCL Red Sox and Class A Greenville.
Valentine didn't have an update on Daisuke Matsuzaka (right upper trapezius strain), though he said the right-hander will "probably" need to go on a rehab assignment before returning.