Sox to get Pedroia back on Thursday

Pedroia to return to lineup Thursday

ANAHEIM -- Yes, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said that Dustin Pedroia would return to the lineup on Wednesday night. That wound up not being the case. A setback for Pedroia, who strained his right groin on Sunday?

As it turns out, no. Francona merely changed his mind and decided to give Pedroia one more night off with a day game looming on Thursday.

Look for Pedroia to be right back in the No. 2 spot in the order for the series finale.

"He looks good," Francona said. "He took extra BP. He actually looks really good. I have the right to buy him one more day. I think the going out and hitting early is good for him after not hitting for a couple of days. I think in the long-term best interests, it was better off not to play him today. He is not even close to being in agreement with that. That's OK."

One thing Pedroia takes great pride in is being in the lineup all the time. Still, he understood where Francona was coming from.

"We have a lot of games," said Pedroia. "I don't want to do anything stupid where I'm out a long time. The smartest thing to do would be to take a couple of days and let this thing heal."

As for Kevin Youkilis, who was placed on the disabled list retroactive to May 5 shortly before Tuesday's game, the right-handed hitter understands why the move had to be made. This, even though Youkilis probably could have been ready to play before his DL stint expires on May 20.

"It's the best thing for the team right now," said Youkilis. "You just have to stick with it. I knew they weren't going to let me play if I wasn't at 100 percent. They don't want me to come back at 60 or 70 percent."

Without Youkilis, the Red Sox are short-handed in terms of corner infielders. Jeff Bailey is starting in place of Youkilis and if Francona needed to make a move during the game, Nick Green, mainly a middle infielder, is his only option.

But first baseman-outfielder Chris Carter, who is on Triple-A Pawtucket's roster, flew to Southern California and is in the neighborhood if the Red Sox need him. Because of league regulations, Carter is not allowed to be at the stadium with the team unless he is on the roster.

When Pedroia returns to the lineup, there's a chance that Carter could join the roster in place of middle infielder Gil Velazquez, who was promoted from Triple-A to take the roster spot vacated by Youkilis on Tuesday.

Carter broke camp with the Red Sox but went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts before being sent down. At Pawtucket, Carter regained his groove, hitting .301 with one homer and seven RBIs.

The best injury news of the day was that David Ortiz felt no ill effects whatsoever after being plunked in the left wrist on Tuesday. Ortiz was hit by Darren Oliver in the exact same spot where a torn tendon sheath cut seven weeks out of his 2008 season.

"He came out and hit early today," Francona said. "He did well. That was good. Not only is he playing, but we had about 10 guys hit from 2 to 3 and he was one of them."

Short hops
Francona said that first baseman-outfielder Mark Kotsay is nearly recovered from the quad injury he suffered during a rehab assignment that was supposed to be for his back. When the Red Sox get back to Fenway at the beginning of next week, Kotsay is likely to re-start his Minor League assignment. ... Right-hander John Smoltz took a positive step in Fort Myers, Fla., on Tuesday, throwing a solid side session. Smoltz will pitch two innings in an extended spring training start on Friday. ... Daisuke Matsuzaka's third and likely final rehab start will be on Friday at Toledo, Ohio. Dice-K chould be back in the Boston rotation by the middle of next week.

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