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Sprained finger delays Drew’s return

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / September 2, 2011

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The Red Sox were planning to activate J.D. Drew off the disabled list before last night’s game against the Yankees. But it will be at least a week before that happens.

Drew’s left shoulder is feeling fine after six weeks of rest and rehab, but while playing for Pawtucket Tuesday, he sprained a knuckle on his right middle finger.

According to Drew, a sliver of bone pulled off the ligament. That caused swelling and a lot of pain.

“I came up for my second at-bat,’’ he said, “and a guy threw me a fastball middle in and I just fouled it off and somehow when I finished my swing, my bottom hand slipped off the bat and it just jammed my finger against the knob of the bat and kind of bent it back and sprained it pretty good.’’

Drew stayed in the game but couldn’t swing a bat properly the next day and was sent for X-rays.

According to Red Sox manager Terry Francona, doctors have said Drew can play “as tolerated.’’

Drew doesn’t expect that to be any time soon.

“I think it’s going to be a little longer than a few days,’’ he said. “But hopefully once it calms down the swelling gets out of there, we can make some progress.’’

No determination has been made on when Drew can start hitting again.

“Unfortunately, it’s my bottom hand,’’ he said. “If it was my top hand, it might be a little bit different, but being the bottom hand is the power hand and the hand that has to stay on the bat. Hopefully, four or five days from now we’ll have a better idea of where we’re at.’’

Francona said there was a chance Drew might need more minor league games before he’s activated.

“It’s just one of them fluke things that pops up in this situation. I honestly didn’t think it was going to be as bad,’’ Drew said. “It’s aggravating because you get yourself in a situation to play and I was getting ready to roll and getting amped up.’’

Jackson in the house Conor Jackson, acquired from Oakland Wednesday night, was on the roster for the game. The 29-year-old outfielder and first baseman was given No. 36.

Jackson found out he had been traded at 11:45 p.m. while sitting in the dugout in Cleveland.

“It’s exciting,’’ he said. “I’m coming from a team that was 15 games out to a team that’s in the middle of a pennant race.’’

Jackson hit .249 with four homers and 38 RBIs this season with Oakland. The former first-round pick has become a journeyman utility player, the Sox being his third team in the last 14 months.

“Whatever they need. It’s probably going to be a bat off the bench here and there playing against lefthanders,’’ Jackson said. “Whatever my role is going to be, I’m going to be ready for it.’’

Jackson has several friends in the Red Sox clubhouse. He and Dustin Pedroia were Team USA teammates in college. He also took a college recruiting visit to Miami with Adrian Gonzalez and has worked out in the winter with Carl Crawford and Kevin Youkilis.

His view of the Sox from afar?

“Best team in baseball, hands down,’’ Jackson said.

Francona said he had no idea how much Jackson would play. For now, the plan seems to be to use Josh Reddick against righthanders and Jackson or Darnell McDonald against lefthanders.

“Some of it is probably going to be determined on how they swing the bat,’’ said Francona. “There’s no getting around it.

“How you figure that out and how you let a guy get hot enough where they can swing the bat will be our challenge.’’

Doubront on board Lefthander Felix Doubront was the only minor leaguer called up when the rosters expanded. He will be used out of the bullpen.

The 23-year-old has had a rough season, pitching only 77 1/3 innings in the minors because of injuries and posting a 3.96 ERA. But when healthy, he has been effective, and he feels good now.

“My arm feels great, everything is fine now,’’ said Doubront, who was used in relief last night, working 1 1/3 innings (no hits, no runs, one walk, two strikeouts). “I’m ready to go and help the team.’’

Francona said other minor leaguers would be added over time.

With Pawtucket headed for the International League playoffs, the Red Sox would prefer their prospects play for now.

Youkilis on deck Youkilis is scheduled to be activated today. He went on the disabled list Aug. 18 with a lower-back strain. Youkilis was 2 for 8 with a home run in two games for Pawtucket this week. Francona said Youkilis is healthy enough to play every day . . . Clay Buchholz made 35 throws from 60 feet, 10 more than he did Tuesday. His back felt fine. Buchholz, who has been out since June, hopes to build up enough arm strength to rejoin the team before the end of the season . . . Tim Wakefield is scheduled to start on Wednesday at Toronto. If he doesn’t pitch out of the bullpen in the interim, that would be 11 days between starts . . . Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira left in the seventh inning with a bruised right knee, the result of being hit by an Alfredo Aceves pitch in the sixth . . . The Yankees packed the already cramped visitors’ clubhouse by calling up six minor leaguers. Along with heralded 21-year-old catcher Jesus Montero, they added pitchers Lance Pendleton, Scott Proctor, and Raul Valdes along with infielder Brandon Laird and outfielder Chris Dickerson.

Michael Vega of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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