ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona said before his team's game with the Rays Sunday night that Jon Lester, who is rehabbing from an injured left lat muscle, is slated to return to the starting rotation July 26 when the Sox play the Royals at Fenway Park.
"He'll throw a side tomorrow. He'll come back Wednesday and throw a pretty significant side, and then Friday or Saturday he'll throw a smaller side. Then he'll pitch (a week from Tuesday," Francona said.
"He wanted to pitch Friday, so I think that's good news for us that he must feel good. But weaned to give him a chance where he can go out and not be stuck on 60 pitches in his first comeback."
Francona noted that the Red Sox were most likely fortunate that they caught the injury when the did -- taking Lester out of his July 5 after four innings despite not having given up a hit.
"I think we caught it quick enough where he didn't throw another inning or two and do more damage," the manager said.