Rask (abdomengroin) almost ready to return

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Rask (abdomengroin) almost ready to return

WILMINGTON, Mass. Tuukka Rask has admitted previously that this is his first go-around with a groin or abdomen injury.

As such, theres a little bit of a learning curve as he returns from the injury he sustained on Mar. 3. Rask has talked with teammates like Andrew Ference and Greg Zanon -- both of whom have experienced similar injuries -- and a couple of his friends who have gone through the rehab process.

But there is some unfamiliarity with it all so Rask took it as a cautiously optimistic first step when he made it onto the practice ice with his teammates on Monday morning at Ristuccia Arena.

It will be just about six weeks from the injury when the first round playoff series against the Washington Capitals opens Thursday night, and the Finnish netminder is hoping he can be ready.

Even if hes not ready by Thursday, it won't be long after that he returns to his role as Thomas backup.

At this point Rask feels no tightness or soreness in the area. Its a matter of building up strength without setbacks a process that could be undone if the 25-year-old tries to push it too hard.

Well have to see. Im not making any calls on that. Claude Julien is going to have to make that call when Im ready, said Rask. Its not easy. Its been five weeks and a couple more days. Its been tough trying not to push it too much because you miss playing, being out on the road and being with the guys.

One thing that wont be an issue: any mental block from the injury. Rask said hell be free, easy and athletic as he ever was when hes ready for game action. He looked pretty good with his first action on Monday.

Claude Julien said that Rask is in the day-to-day mode with Johnny Boychuk, and both could very easily be ready by the time the postseason puck drops.

Youre just trying to keep your head in it knowing youre going to get back in there, but make sure youre getting better at the same time, said Rask. Im just going to go out and try to stop the puck. I talked to a couple of guys that have had these injuries. You have to stretch it out and do all kinds of funny stuff, but you cant think about it.

If youre thinking about it too much then youre not ready. What I try to do is make sure Im doing all of the movements I need to without even thinking of getting hurt again.

Theres every possibility Rask could do all of the work to get ready to play, and not even see a single minute of ice time during the playoffs. But thats something hell gladly accept on his way to returning to his dutiful role behind Tim Thomas.

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

BOSTON -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-3 win over the Royals:

QUOTES

“I hadn’t really thought about it. Trying to win games. It’s late in the year . . . I don’t really have time to sit back and pat myself on the back for anything. We’re trying to win as a team.” - Dustin Pedroia on the importance of the 11-for-11 stretch in his career.

“It’s fun. It’s why you go to work in December, January, February. It’s all the work you put in up to this point. It feels good to go out there and get the results you expect to get, especially against a team like [the Royals] who is hot as they are right now.” - David Price on pitching meaningful games with a playoff-like atmosphere.

“Yeah, yeah we [knew about the streak] . . .  It was an awesome roll and it was fun to see . . . Every time I went up to hit, I let Salvador Perez know.” - Xander Bogaerts on Dustin Pedroia’s 11-for-11 streak.

“I think we’ve been able to handle velocity very well. We’ve got good bat-speed in out lineup, and we’re able to handle that.” - John Farrell on the offense thriving against good pitching.

 

NOTES

* David Ortiz played in his 1,000th game at Fenway Park, becoming the fifth player to do so.

* Ortiz also became the first player ever to play 2,000 games as the designated hitter.

* Mookie Betts scored his 100th run of the season off his 29th home run of the year, joining Fred Lynn, Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams as the only players to reach 100 runs before turning 24.

* The Red Sox hit back-to-back home runs for the fourth time this season with Betts and Hanley Ramirez going yard in the fifth.

* With his 2-for-4 day at the plate, Jackie Bradley Jr. improved to 34-for-94 (.362) batting ninth.

 

STARS

1) Dustin Pedroia

Pedroia finished 4-for-5, extending his streak to 11 hits in 11 at-bats, finishing one shy of tying the MLB record.

2) David Price

Price logged his fourth straight quality start with his six-inning, two-run start. He also dropped his ERA below 4.00 for the first time since his Opening Day start with Boston.

3) Salvador Perez

Perez finished 2-for-3 with two home runs. Saturday marked only the second multi-home run game of his career.