TORONTO -- It shouldn't come as a surprise to suffering Boston Red Sox fans that Bobby Valentine sees plenty of room for improvement when he looks at his roster right now.
Still, it might be a surprise just how bad the manager sees it.
Valentine didn't mince words Friday when asked whether there was a particular area of his last-place team he'd most like to improve.
"Are you kidding? This is the weakest roster we've ever had in September in the history of baseball," he said. "It could use help everywhere."
After trading Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Gonzalez and injuries to David Ortiz and Ryan Sweeney, the Red Sox lineup Friday featured just three players who started on Opening Day: Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Aviles and Cody Ross. Aviles was hitting third Friday, up from ninth on Opening Day.
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia should rejoin the team sometime this weekend, Valentine said. Pedroia left Wednesday's game and missed Thursday's as he and his wife welcomed their second son. The child's name has yet to be released.
Without Pedroia, Aviles made his first start of the season at second base. Ivan De Jesus was the only infielder on the bench.
Ellsbury and Friday night's starter, Daisuke Matsuzaka, are among the Boston players who have missed extended periods this year. In all, 27 players have made 34 trips to the DL.
Valentine said beaten-down Boston might add "one or two guys" from Triple-A Pawtucket in the coming days. The PawSox claimed their first International League title since 1984 on Thursday night, taking the Governors' Cup with a 4-1 victory over Charlotte. Up next for Pawtucket is a winner-take-all showdown in Durham, N.C., on Tuesday against either Reno or Omaha, who entered Friday deadlocked 1-1 in the Pacific Coast League finals.
Despite Pawtucket's success, Valentine doesn't plan to raid the Triple-A roster to add depth to his own squad.
"If there are people who could be brought up, we should bring them up," he said. "But I don't know that there's a lot of guys left."
The PawSox have six players on Boston's 40-man roster who aren't already in the majors: pitchers Pedro Beato, Drake Britton, Stolmy Pimentel and Zach Stewart, infielder Danny Valencia and outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin. Of that group, Britton and Pimentel spent most of the year at Double-A and aren't yet major league-ready.
Valentine congratulated PawSox skipper Arnie Beyeler for his "spectacular" work this season.
"He's a good baseball man, I'm really proud of what he's done," Valentine said. "He never complained, always gave excellent reports about people he was sending up, always put his nose to the grindstone down there."
Both Beyeler and pitching coach Rich Sauveur are expected to join Boston's staff following Tuesday's decisive game.
Pitcher John Lackey, who has not pitched this season following elbow surgery last year, felt good after throwing 25 pitches in a live batting practice session Thursday. Lackey was scheduled to throw on flat ground Friday and might throw another live BP before the end of Boston's four-game series at Tampa Bay next week, or possibly once the Red Sox return to Fenway for their final homestand of the season.
The short-term target for Lackey remains the chance to pitch in a game situation at Instructional League, probably a two-inning stint, according to Valentine.
"I think it would be good for him," the manager said. "That's what his plan has been all summer."