Carp could be close to returning to Red Sox

Carp could be close to returning to Red Sox

BOSTON -- Of the three Red Sox position players on the mend from injuries, Mike Carp will likely be the first one back.

Carp, who suffered a fourth metatarsal fracture of his right foot in late May, could be back by early next week.

"We want to get him regular at-bats through the weekend [at Triple-A Pawtucket]," said manager John Farrell. "He's playing left field [on Saturday] and hopefully [will play] a full nine innings in left field. As we talked on Thursday, we felt like everyday at-bats through the weekend was a good point in time to re-assess and see where we go from there."

Third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who had some recent swelling in his recovering right index finger, was able to play defense again for the PawSox on Friday.

"Will is DH-ing today, and played third base yesterday. He's continuing to make [progress], as well," Farrell said.

Right fielder Shane Victorino could re-start his Minor League rehab assignment by mid-week.

"He's improving. The running, the agility work, the number of swings in BP all continue to increase," said Farrell.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.