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Sox trio making progress with rehab

Sox trio making progress with rehab

BOSTON -- When the Red Sox make their way to Anaheim following Thursday afternoon's game against the Tampa Bay Rays, shortstop Julio Lugo will bid adieu to his teammates for a bit and crank his rehab up another notch.

Lugo, who will go back to the team's Spring Training facility in Fort Myers, Fla., is progressing well in his recovery from right knee surgery.

"He'll probably have about a week of workouts -- baseball workouts -- then we'll see where we think he should be playing," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "Does weather come into play? Maybe. Does competition come into play? There's some things we need to sit down and discuss with Lugo, [general manager] Theo [Epstein], the medical staff and myself and kind of figure out where to go [from here]."

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The right-handed-hitting Lugo, who missed the entire second half of last season with left quad woes, had his right knee operated on last month.

"He's been doing fine," Francona said. "Everything they've asked him to do, he's done. [It] just takes a certain amount of time to get over it."

The two other Boston rehabbers -- outfielder Mark Kotsay and right-hander John Smoltz -- are also doing well. They will accompany the Red Sox on the trip out west and continue to be under the supervision of the club's medical staff.

"Kotsay is doing very well," Francona said of the reserve outfielder who had back surgery in late January. "When we get off this road trip, he'll probably take a couple of days, get evaluated and kind of get the go-ahead to maybe start getting some swings [against live pitching]. He'll probably head down to Florida."

As for Smoltz, who had right shoulder surgery last June, he continues to look strong in every bullpen session.

"He'll throw some bullpens out on the West Coast," Francona said. "When we come back off of this trip, he will be ready to start facing hitters. And he will also be going to Florida. He's doing very well -- champing at the bit. He should be the way he's throwing. He should be excited."

Short hops: By inserting Rocco Baldelli into the lineup against Rays lefty Scott Kazmir, Francona had to decide whether to sit center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury or right fielder J.D. Drew after just one game. Why was Drew the one to get a break? "Keep the lineup kind of intact, maybe Ellsbury can impact the game with his speed," Francona said. "And then we can put Rocco right in J.D.'s [fifth] spot." ... Right-handers Tim Wakefield and Brad Penny -- Friday and Saturday's starters against the Angels -- will accompany the Red Sox to Anaheim instead of flying out early. ... Second baseman Dustin Pedroia will collect some hardware earned last season before Thursday's game when he receives his Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards. ... Junichi Tazawa, the 22-year-old right-hander from Japan who the Red Sox signed to a Major League contract back in December, will get the Opening Day start for the Portland Sea Dogs, Boston's Double-A affiliate. That game will be played at Hadlock Field in Portland on Thursday night.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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