By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON Manager Terry Francona has set his rotation for the three-game series in Minnesota starting Monday. Tim Wakefield will open the series, followed by lefties Erik Bedard and Jon Lester. Andrew Miller, who last started July and who threw 71 pitches in relief Thursday against the Indians, is expected to make his next start during the three-game (two-day) series against the Rays at Fenway on Aug. 16 and 17.
Andrew threw a lot of pitches last night and well give him some down time, Francona said. We may ask him to cover in the bullpen a little bit and then well get him prepared for a start when we come back. Itll be one of those games most likely against Tampa. Thats three in two days, want to kind of see how were kind of situated there but thats pretty logical landing point.
Bedard, who missed just over a month with a sprained knee, has pitched just 6 13 innings, throwing total of 127 pitches, in two starts since being activated from the disabled list. He is not fully stretched out yet, Francona said.
He pitched really well, Francona said. We want to keep on this guy. We want him to continue to get stronger, not pitch four days from now. Were certainly going to try to up the workload as he goes. But well keep an eye on him.
Francona is not concerned with having too many potential starters, including Josh Beckett and John Lackey.
I think in the past and we said this the other day, if you ever get to the point where youre aggravating somebody, its probably a good thing, Francona said. Because in the past we got, in 06 when we ran out of pitchers and our season got derailed, thats no good. Right now, supposedly we have six but we used Andrew last night. I think he threw 70-something pitches. Hes not available for a while. We have some days off coming up so we use those to our advantage. Bedards not stretched out. Theres always Id rather have too much pitching. if thats an issue, that come at the end of the year someone says, Boy, you sure had too much pitching, were ok.
Jed Lowrie could be activated Monday. He is expected to serve as the designated hitter for Triple-A Pawtucket tonight, play shortstop Saturday and take Sunday off. If he checks out fine, he will be activated Monday.
The at-bats are good but just getting out there and playing, Francona said of what Lowrie needs most. He hasnt played in a while. so Id like him to play a full nine-inning game. just think three days or four days is pushing it a little bit. give him the weekend. he can come back and feel like hes got a chance and we feel better about it, too.
Reliever Bobby Jenks, on the DL since July 8 with left back tightness, is expected to throw a side session Sunday. If that goes well, he will travel to the teams complex in Fort Myers, Fla., while the Sox are on the road, before joining the PawSox for a rehab assignment.
We well map that out as we go, Francona said. The biggest thing is, obviously the most important thing is he feels good Sunday when he throws.
This is Jenks third stint on the DL this season. He missed 27 games in May with a right biceps strain and 17 games in June with left back tightness.
Francona on playing nine games between today and Sept. 25 agaisnt the Yankees:
Theyre really fun games. Saying that, we dont redo our pitching rotation, things like that, because theres games when the Yankees leave here we go to Minnesota, we go to Seattle. We better paly those guys, too. But they are fun to play. We respect how good they are. I think theyre exactly tied with us. So theyll be fun games. Theyll be long but theyll be fun.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen