BOSTON -- Dustin Pedroia is returning at the right time for the Red Sox.
The second baseman was activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to Thursday's series finale against the White Sox. Pedroia missed 11 games with a strained right thumb and the Red Sox went 5-6 without him.
"He's everything, so hopefully he will bring it all tonight," said manager Bobby Valentine before Thursday's series finale against the White Sox.
With slugger David Ortiz going on the DL on Wednesday, the Red Sox welcomed Pedroia's bat to the lineup.
"It's great, we need that thunder," Ortiz said. "Dustin has been driving everybody crazy around here not being able to play. He loves being on the field. Right now with myself being out and a couple guys coming in, it's working out perfectly."
Pedroia hit third in the lineup in his first game since July 3 at Oakland. He entered Thursday's game with a .286 average in the No. 3 hole in 12 games this season.
While the Red Sox have missed his bat in recent weeks, Pedroia's teammates are simply glad he's back on the field. The second baseman is the club's spark plug.
"It's huge for us; we missed him. He's a huge part of this team and we feed off his energy, so it's definitely nice to have him back," said outfielder Cody Ross. "When he's in the game and feeling it, there's nobody more fun to be around. He's a treat to play with. He's been ready for a while to get back in there."
The Red Sox optioned first baseman Mauro Gomez to Triple-A Pawtucket to open a spot on the active roster for Pedroia. Gomez was called up from the Minors on Wednesday when Ortiz went on the DL with a strained right Achilles tendon.