By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
KANSAS CITY Ryan Lavarnway admits he felt "relief" after collecting his first big-league hit in the Red Sox' 7-1 win over the Royals Friday night.
The rookie catcherdesignated hitter, who was called up to the Sox on Thursday, went 0-for-4 in his debut, then left the bases loaded in each of his first two at-bats Friday night. But he singled his third at-bat -- with his parents, sister and college friends watching from the stands at Kauffman Stadium -- and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez retrieved the ball and saved it for him.
It was a little bit of a relief, said Lavarnway. It was a little more elusive than I thought it would be, but it wont be my last hit. Im pretty happy.
Alfredo Aceves has a pair of saves this season and has pitched 3 23 innings in each of the two save situations the first time the Sox have recorded a save of more than three innings since 2003. Aceves is now 8-1 with a pair of saves in a utility relief role.
The Sox right-handed credited the teams nutritionist, Tara Mardigan, with helping him lose 20 pounds, and with his brother for helping him keep the right frame of mind.
My brother always says that the best defense is to go out there and be aggressive, said Aceves of his brother Jonathan, a catcher in the Mexican Leagues. The best defense is the attack. I think its really true and it works. It makes sense for a pitcher. Instead of saying defense, defense in my head I just say attack, attack.'
With Mike Aviles and Jed Lowrie ready to play, the Sox have enjoyed the luxury of not needing to rush Marco Scutaro back into the lineup while he battles with a cranky lower back.
Scutaro sat out again Friday night, the seventh game in the last eight that he's missed, and manager Terry Francona thinks the rest has helped him enough that he'll be ready to return Saturday night.
Scutaro said his back finally began loosening up Tuesday and hes been making steady improvement while taking batting practice since then.
Hes okay. Hes doing really well, said Francona.
The Sox are anxious to get Scutaro back in the lineup. He's hit .318.371.409 since the All-Star break.
J.D. Drew (left shoulder) is feeling good taking batting practice and fielding his position in right field, and it appears he's getting close to a rehab assignment. He's been on the disabled list since July 20.
He hit Friday early. He hit real well, said Francona. Hell keep on doing that for a little bit and well see where we stand. He went out and shagged balls, and actually did really good.
I dont know if we know when Drew will go on rehab. We just need to keep increasing the reps and intensity, but hes actually doing a pretty good job.
Bobby Jenks (back) made 20 throws in his first bullpen session and got out to 120 feet in long toss at Bostons minor-league complex in Fort Myers, and is on the path toward a potential activation to the Sox roster in September.
Hell throw another side Saturday and the next throwing session would be a simulated game either Monday or Tuesday, said Francona.
Josh Beckett won his 10th game of the season on Thursday night in Kansas City, and also became a 10-5 guy in the Major Leagues, which means hes spent 10 years in the big leagues and five years with the Sox. That means, per the collective bargaining agreement, that Beckett has full no-trade rights if the Sox ever attempted to move him over the duration of his contract.