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Injury updates and other pregame fun

Posted by Daniel Malloy, Globe Correspondent  September 3, 2007 04:27 PM

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We'll start with Manny, the most important banged up Red Sox at the moment. Suffering from a strained left oblique muscle, he's out indefinitely. According to Terry Francona, he's working hard to get back -- and he's doing it on the machine that millions of middle aged women across the country use every day.

"He's in there on the elliptical," Francona said. "I think there's improvement, from talking to the medical people. I think where it improves enough to where he can think about playing he's going to come quick because he's been working so hard. He's doing everything, probably more. It's got to heal. He's doing a good job. He's been here earlier now than when he was playing, because he's not playing. He's got his schedule and he's done a good job."

The next injury case is Tim Wakefield. He was a late scratch Friday night, after having a sore back. Red Sox fans are eternally greatful for the missed start, though, since it moved Julian Tavarez up a day and created a space for a kid named Clay Buchholz, who pitched a decent game Saturday night. It seems that Wake, who threw for the first time this afternoon, is back on track to start Thursday at Baltimore.

"He''ll throw a side day tomorrow and hopefully be right on target for Thursday," Francona said. "Obviously we reserve the right to, if he goes through his bullpen and it's not perfect, to do something different, but I don't think anybody thinks that's not going to happen."

Eric Gagne has been battling a sore shoulder, apparently tweaked when he was working too hard in a side session to recover from a rough start in Boston. He, too, appears to be improving.

"Better," Francona said when asked how Gagne's doing. "He's not ready to pitch. When you've had a little bit of a layoff like he's had, there will have to be some throwing involved before we get him in a game. When that happens, we'll let you know where we're at."

Matt Clement also is set to throw a simulated game Wednesday, the first of three he's scheduled to throw, as he is still recovering from right shoulder surgery he had last September.

In other news: Doug Mirabelli is away from the team tending to a family issue, but he is back healthy and would be available Thursday to catch Wakefield, if he is back with the team by then. ... Lefty reliever Craig Breslow was optioned back to Pawtucket after being called up Sept. 1. They had him in the bullpen in case Hideki Okajima's hip kept him out, but with Okajima feeling fine again, Breslow is back down.

I shall return with in-game updates later.

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