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Plenty of pre-game news from Texas

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  August 22, 2011 05:17 PM

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Here's the latest from Terry Francona:

• Andrew Miller will pitch here on Thursday with Tim Wakefield going on Friday back home against Oakland.

The immediate benefit is giving the other starters an extra day of rest. It also will allow the Sox to have John Lackey, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester pitch against the Yankees in the series that starts Aug. 30.

"Going forward, that gives everybody a little bit of [extra] rest. … Everybody feels kind of good about it," Francona said.

• Jacoby Ellsbury should be able to play tomorrow. He came in early and did some hitting in the cage today and was feeling better.

"Jacoby’s doing OK. He came in early and he hit, which is good," Francona said. "Think we’re pointing for tomorrow. I think he’s good with that."

Ellsbury told Francona he was willing to play today but admitted he was still a sore. Francona took the decision out of Ellsbury’s hands, saying he would sit out at least one more game.

“I think if we do that, he’ll be in good shape tomorrow,” Francona said.

Ellsbury took some swings in Kansas City on Sunday but took some more aggressive cuts today.

“He did better. If he keeps improving like he has, he’ll play tomorrow. He’ll be sore but he’ll be able to play," Francona said.

• J.D. Drew will play for Single-A Lowell on Friday and Saturday. Then he'll work out with the Sox on Sunday before taking Monday off. Games with Class AAA Pawtucket will follow on Aug. 30 and 31 and he'll be activated on Sept. 1.

• David Ortiz will take regular BP today as he continues to make progress. The earliest he would play, at least by the way it sounds, is Wednesday and that may be a stretch.

• Clay Buchholz is at the fourth step of a five-step rehab program on his back. He hopes to get cleared to start playing catch again during the next homestand.

Buchholz is optimistic about playing again this season. But the calendar is against him at this point. He has not pitched in a game since June 16 and his last bullpen session was about a month ago.

It would be uncharacteristic of the Red Sox to rush him back, so the best Buchholz maybe can hope for is is building up enough arm strength to be a reliever close to the end of September. Even that may be a long shot.

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