BOSTON -- Mike Cameron's three-week stint as a spectator will come to an end on Monday, when the outfielder starts a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket.
Boston's starting center fielder, who has been down since April 19 with a lower abdomen strain, will DH in Pawtucket's home game, which starts at 6:15 p.m. ET at McCoy Stadium. Assuming there are no setbacks, he will play center field on Tuesday. The Red Sox have a day game on Wednesday, so Cameron will come to Fenway that day and consult further with the club on how much more time he needs.
"I'm going to DH tomorrow and just get a true feel for where I'm at, and run around and go play the game," said Cameron. "Once the game starts, I'll have to go full speed. Just athletically and with natural baseball reaction, I need to go see where I'm at -- run around, dive and kind of see what the field is like, where I'm at. I just have to be brutally honest with myself and brutally honest with the staff."
How many games will Cameron need before he is activated by the Red Sox?
"It's all based on what's going to take place," Cameron said. "I feel good. My body feels good. It's been responding to back-to-back days of constant pounding. Other than like general soreness, I've got to let it go. It's probably the next step I need to take as far as, can I play big league baseball the way I feel like I need to be able to play?"
The Red Sox have not only been without Cameron, but also starting left fielder and leadoff man Jacoby Ellsbury, who hasn't played since April 11 because of a chest contusion and hairline fracture in four left ribs.
Manager Terry Francona said that Ellsbury is making progress, but not quite ready to play in games yet.
"It's about kind of like we said -- he's not quite ready to do that but he's getting a lot closer," Francona said. "Ells is doing a lot better. He's getting there. He's just not quite ready to go play."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.