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Pedroia could rejoin lineup Tuesday

Red Sox interim manager Lovullo 'cautiously optimistic'

BOSTON -- Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia continues to advance in his recovery from a strained right hamstring and could return as early as Tuesday, according to interim manager Torey Lovullo.

Pedroia ran the bases at Fenway Park before Sunday's series finale against the Phillies and will rest up Monday, then be re-evaluated by the Red Sox's medical team Tuesday.

"We're very optimistic," Lovullo said Sunday morning. "Cautiously optimistic, because we're not going to put him in a bad situation, but we're very excited about where he's at. It's looking like it could be sooner than later."

Pedroia was placed on the disabled list July 25 with the same hamstring injury that forced him to miss a month of action around the All-Star break.

With Boston's Minor Legaue affiliates wrapping up regular-season play Monday, Pedroia will not have a traditional rehab stint. And while he could theoretically take live batting practice against a teammate, Lovullo said that is not the plan.

"We played around with that thought, but we want to be fair to everybody," he said. "If we have somebody throw on that day, he's going to be eliminated from potentially pitching in the game, and we don't want to do that to anybody."

Lovullo suggested that, if doctors clear Pedroia on Tuesday, his return to the lineup could be imminent.

"If he were to play Tuesday or Wednesday without having taken an at-bat, I think he would be just fine," Lovullo said. "He's been taking mental at-bats, he's been doing everything behind the scenes. He's doing as much as he can with the exception of hitting off a live pitcher."

The Red Sox plan to give Pedroia regular rest once he returns. According to Lovullo, Pedroia will likely play one game, take a day off, play two more games and then get another day off.

Pedroia is on board with that plan, Lovullo added.

"Without any stimulus, when you sit down and you talk to him, he's on board with that," Lovullo said. "We try and get him when he's not engaged in a game and have him understand what his schedule is."

Even if Pedroia has a few good games and does not want to come out of the lineup, Lovullo said he will stick to the schedule.

• Boston third baseman Pablo Sandoval missed his third straight game Sunday with mid-back tightness. After the 6-2 win, Lovullo said Sandoval will be re-evaluated Monday and likely play in Monday afternoon's series opener against Toronto at Fenway. 

Aaron Leibowitz is a contributor to
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