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Cameron inches a little closer

The Yankees’ Randy Winn keeps his foot on the bag, depriving third baseman Adrian Beltre of a putout in the sixth inning. The Yankees’ Randy Winn keeps his foot on the bag, depriving third baseman Adrian Beltre of a putout in the sixth inning. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff)
By Amalie Benjamin
Globe Staff / May 8, 2010

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After weeks of not having a timetable for either Mike Cameron or Jacoby Ellsbury to come off the disabled list, there finally seems to be a return date for one of them. Cameron has clearly progressed faster from his hernia than Ellsbury has from his fractured ribs, and might be heading out for a rehab assignment by the time the Blue Jays come to town Monday.

“The one thing I kind of stressed to Cam was that he has to feel good about playing, and he understands that,’’ said manager Terry Francona. “We want him to be able to react without playing with concern, and he’s done a really good job of pushing.

“He hasn’t quite hit that last gear yet. That’ll be the last thing, and then repeating it, seeing how he wakes up after playing. We’re getting closer, which is really good. But we want to make good decisions. We don’t want to be patient, then lose patience. But he’s so easy to talk to about it. He’ll give you a good answer, an honest answer, so I don’t think we’ll have a problem doing the right thing.’’

Cameron took batting practice and shagged some fly balls yesterday, then was examined by the Sox’ medical staff.

“Basically it’s still based on a kind of touch-and-feel type of situation with myself,’’ Cameron said. “I seem to be getting a little better every day. Don’t feel great every day, but my body’s getting better every day.

“I’m just trying to keep my primary focus on what can I do, what I’m capable of doing. That sort of thing. Makes it easier. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself basically. It’s uncharted territory for me, so I’m just trying to listen to what my body’s telling me. Try to do what’s necessary.’’

One thing that has been holding Cameron back is his inability to run full speed, especially in a game-type situation. That’s cause to be cautious, according to the manager.

“We don’t want him to go through the rest of the season at 90 percent,’’ Francona said.

There is no return date for Ellsbury, however. He got yesterday off, “just ’cause I think he feels like when he takes a blow every once in a while he bounces back better,’’ Francona said.

Mixed message
In the sixth inning, on a pitch to Nick Swisher, Jason Varitek and Josh Beckett got crossed up. As Varitek looked primed for a pitch low or in the dirt, the baseball hit him on the left forearm. Though he finished the inning, Varitek ultimately departed the game with a left forearm contusion.

“He was checked out and he’s sore,’’ Francona said. “He’s got a pretty good bruise.’’

Beckett took all the responsibility for the mix-up. “We switched the signs a little bit. That was completely my fault. I saw something that wasn’t there.’’

Francona said it was just a coincidence that Varitek left the game at exactly the same time that Tim Wakefield entered. Victor Martinez came in to catch the knuckleballer.

The Sox have talked about Varitek catching Wakefield in his relief outings this season, though he has caught Wakefield in only one inning since 2005.

Martinez went 2 for 2, both singles. He is 8 for 19 (.421) with five RBIs over his last five games, raising his average to .267. Prior to last night’s game, Martinez was hitting .429 with a 1.162 OPS batting righthanded and .187 with a .509 OPS as a lefty.

Nice timing
Projected as the fourth outfielder this season, Jeremy Hermida already has 64 at-bats this season, starting in left field last night and going 0 for 4. And he’s been extremely productive, especially with two outs.

Hermida was tied for the most two-out RBIs in the majors with 14, two fewer than his season total.

Posada almost ready
Jorge Posada, who has a strained right calf, took batting practice and ran some sprints but was out of the New York lineup for the third straight game. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he was “leery’’ of playing Posada until he is fully healed. “It has only been four days,’’ Girardi said. “You can never really equate running a controlled sprint with what you have to do in a game. He said he feels good and we’ll talk again [today].’’ Posada said he plans to be in the lineup today . . . Closer Mariano Rivera, who has missed a week with stiffness on his left side, was cleared to pitch but wasn’t needed in the Yankee rout . . . Derek Jeter played in his 2,165th game, breaking a tie with Lou Gehrig for second-most among Yankees. Mickey Mantle is the franchise leader with 2,401 . . . The Yankees optioned outfielder Greg Golson to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and called up righthanded reliever Romulo Sanchez . . . Sox players were loving the fact that Boston lost to New York, 20-13, in yesterday’s annual media game at Fenway Park. “Where’s the run prevention?’’ Dustin Pedroia shouted in the clubhouse. Cameron took the time to interview two members of the Boston media about their lackluster performance, cackling at the answers. The teams get a rematch next week at Yankee Stadium.

Peter Abraham of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

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