ST. PETERSBURG — Boston LHP Jon Lester could rejoin the rotation in about one week, while LF Carl Crawford will be back in the lineup tonight.
Manager Terry Francona said before Sunday's game against the Rays that Lester, on the 15-day disabled list since July 6 with a strained muscle in his back, is scheduled to pitch one week from Tuesday against Kansas City.
Crawford, sidelined by a strained left hamstring, will return for the opener of a three-game series at Baltimore.
Lester, 10-4 with a 3.31 ERA, will have the first of three bullpen sessions today.
"He was actually aggravated," Francona said. "He wanted to pitch Friday, so I think that's good news."
Crawford, placed on the DL June 18, left Tampa Bay to sign a $142 million, seven-year deal during the offseason. He is batting .243 with six homers, 31 RBIs and eight stolen bases.
"His batting average might be lower this year than we're used to, but if he comes back for the last couple months and is, you know, the guy that causes havoc, what a lift," Francona said.
Crawford completed a two-game minor-league rehab assignment Saturday at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Astros: Manager Brad Mills was ejected for the fifth time this season, this time for arguing balls and strikes during an at-bat by Jeff Keppinger in the third against the Pirates. Houston trailed 2-1 when Mills was ejected, but Keppinger hit a two-run homer two pitches later.
Blue Jays: Jose Bautista, the majors' home run leader, missed his third consecutive game with a twisted right ankle, leaving the team's offense sputtering. Without its star slugger, the team has scored just three runs the past two games. He hit off a tee Sunday and could return Tuesday.
Cubs: Manager Mike Quade gave struggling closer Carlos Marmol another day off. Marmol, who has allowed six runs and walked six batters over his past 1⅔ innings, is working with pitching coach Mark Riggins to iron out mechanical issues.
Indians: OF Grady Sizemore bruised his right knee while sliding into second on a double. Sizemore, who was replaced by Ezequiel Carrera, is day-to-day.
Mets: SS Jose Reyes (strained left hamstring) will make a rehab start for Class-A Brooklyn today before being activated from the DL, possibly Tuesday.
Nationals: LHP Tom Gorzelanny limped off with a twisted right ankle after scoring against the Braves and was later replaced by RHP Henry Rodriguez. Gorzelanny collided with C Brian McCann while scoring from first on a triple.
Orioles: DH Vladimir Guerrero was placed on the DL with a broken bone in his right hand. He has not played since being struck on the hand by a pitch July 10. Manager Buck Showalter said he hopes to have Guerrero back July 26.
Padres: SS Jason Bartlett, a former Ray, went on the paternity leave list. He and his wife, Kelly, are expecting their second child.
Twins: RHP Scott Baker was put on the DL with an elbow strain, one day before he was scheduled to start the day game of a doubleheader today against the Indians. Manager Ron Gardenhire said Baker wasn't feeling right, so the team placed him on the DL rather than risk a long-term injury. LHP Scott Diamond, up from Triple A, is scheduled to start the night game, with Anthony Swarzak moved up to pitch the day game.