ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey has been cleared by his surgeon to start throwing next week.
Bailey was checked out by Dr. Thomas Graham earlier this week. The righthander has been out all season after having surgery on a torn thumb ligament.
"Boy, he's been working," Bobby Valentine said. "He's one of the guys, I'm sure we're going to have to hold him back."
As to other matters:
• Kevin Youkilis will get three at-bats as the DH for Pawtucket tonight, get the day off on Thursday and then play the field (third base) on Friday. He will be evaluated at that point.
• Daisuke Matsuzaka is scheduled to pitch for Pawtucket on Thursday and again on Tuesday. His 30-day rehab assignment clock ends on May 23, a week from today.
"I don't think he's all that close. He might be but I don't think he is," Valentine said. "I don't think he's all that close to pitching in the major leagues."
Valentine acknowledged that the rehab assignment period will end. "There has to be something else we can do," he said. "It just means we started it too soon. You can't say, 'Hey the 30-day clock is done. Now the guy has to get into a major league game and get whacked.' That doesn't sound right to me."
Valentine said he has spoken to Matsuzaka and believes he is still searching for a proper delivery following his Tommy John surgery.
"That's why I don't think he's close," Valentine said. "I'm not sure he's put his elbow situation behind him yet. I don't think he totally understands where he is with his elbow, which is very important."
• Felix Doubront was checked for a concussion after getting conked in the head by a ball during batting practice on Tuesday. He's fine and will start on Thursday.
• Rich Hill was hit by a ball in BP today. He appeared to be fine but came off the field to get checked out.
• Carl Crawford could return to swinging a bat once the team returns from the road trip. He has been out all season with left wrist and subsequent left elbow issue. He had a PRP injection in his elbow in late April.
• Valentine isn't crazy about Ryan Sweeney batting leadoff. But it's working for the team so he's sticking with it. Sweeney is .174/.208/.174 as a leadoff hitter in five games this season (his last five games). He's in an overall 12 of 52 slump (.231) in his last 14 games.
Mike Aviles has a .292 OBP, which is why he was dropped out of leadoff.