Lester set to return; Drew to DL?


BOSTON -- The banged-up Red Sox rotation will get some help on Monday when Jon Lester (10-4, 3.31 ERA) returns to the mound after being on the disabled list since July 6 with a lat strain.

According to Sean McAdam of Comcast SportsNet New England, the Red Sox will open a roster spot for Lester by placing J.D. Drew on the disabled list with a shoulder impingement. Such a move would allow the Sox to keep Kyle Weiland in the bullpen. Weiland, who made two starts in Lester's absence, warmed up in the bullpen during Sunday's win over the Mariners.

A team source told ESPNBoston.com Sunday evening that a final decision on Drew hadn't been made yet, but a source close to Drew said he wouldn't be surprised if the outfielder was placed on the DL.

Lester will face Kansas City’s Kyle Davies (1-9, 7.32) as Boston begins a four-game series against the Royals at Fenway Park. The last time Lester pitched, he was removed with the injury after four no-hit innings and five strikeouts against the Blue Jays on July 5.

“The biggest thing will be watching his workload,” Francona said. “He’s come through this about as well as you can hope. He was completely pain-free when he started throwing and that’s what we wanted. Now it’s just about building up endurance where if you go out and let a guy throw 120 [pitches] his first time out he’ll be sore, so you don’t want to do that. You try to balance winning the game and bringing him along where he can get on a roll.

“When that bell rings, he’s going to forget about being down for a couple of weeks. He’s going to go out and fire and try to win. That’s good, but we have to keep an eye on him.”