Jon Lester to return July 25

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester (lat strain) is scheduled to return from the disabled list and will make his next start on July 25 against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park.

Sox manager Terry Francona had said Sunday that Lester would return July 26, but corrected himself before Monday's game at Baltimore.

The left-hander will throw a side session on Monday and another "pretty significant" one on Wednesday, and another either Friday or Saturday before making the start the following Monday.

"He was actually aggravated because he wanted to pitch on Friday," Francona said. "That's good news for us because he must feel good. We need to give him a chance to go out and not be stuck on 60 pitches in his first outing back."

Lester was removed from his last start on July 5 after four no-hit innings with the injury and was placed on the DL.

"I think we caught it quick enough where he didn't go out and throw another inning or two and do some damage," Francona said.

Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.