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Bogaerts nears return, but Sox won't rush him

Shortstop to see doctor Thursday, could be in Friday's lineup
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

TORONTO -- Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts was supposed to play a second Minor League rehab game for Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday, but rain ruined those plans. His next game could be for the Red Sox on Friday night at Fenway Park against the Rays.

But before making that determination, Bogaerts will have a follow-up visit with a doctor on Thursday and then speak again with manager Alex Cora.

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TORONTO -- Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts was supposed to play a second Minor League rehab game for Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday, but rain ruined those plans. His next game could be for the Red Sox on Friday night at Fenway Park against the Rays.

But before making that determination, Bogaerts will have a follow-up visit with a doctor on Thursday and then speak again with manager Alex Cora.

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Bogaerts suffered a small fracture in the talus bone of his left ankle on April 8 after starting the season as Boston's hottest hitter.

"One thing I want to make sure is that he's ready to play -- that he's not playing because he feels that he has to play," said Cora. "I do feel that he's in a good spot, the way that he talked to me. We have to make sure that's the case, that [whether] it's Friday or Saturday or Sunday, that there's no doubt in his mind that he can perform at this level. That's what's going to happen. That's where we're at."

Last July, Bogaerts suffered a deep bone bruise in his right hand after being hit by a pitch and returned to the lineup two days later. He wasn't the same for the rest of the season. Back in February, Bogaerts admitted he rushed back and probably should have taken more time off.

"That's why I called him last night," said Cora. "I called him this morning. I'll probably call him tonight again to see where we're at. I want him to make sure that there's no rush here. Although we need him -- obviously, we're talking about an elite shortstop who hits in the middle of the lineup, he hit a home run yesterday -- but we have to make sure that he's ready to play. That's the most important thing."

The PawSox are off on Thursday. If Bogaerts feels he needs some more action in the Minors, Cora won't stand in the way. Bogaerts homered and doubled for Pawtucket on Tuesday. 

Watch: MiLB Video

 "I think [Tuesday], he was great. Six innings. The way he moved, I was looking, I was watching [on video], he looked good," Cora said. "If he needs to play one, two, three more games, well, he'll do it because it's not that easy. If he needs more time just to make sure he's OK, he'll have it. There's no rushing."

Cora's bond with Hanley

While everyone knows that Cora and Dustin Pedroia were teammates with the Red Sox, it is an easily forgotten fact that Boston's manager also spent time in the same clubhouse as Hanley Ramirez in 2005.

At the time, Ramirez was the Red Sox's top prospect, and he was a September call-up that year.

The day Ramirez played his first career game -- at Tropicana Field -- Cora was with him at a beauty salon earlier in the day with another player named Ramirez.

"I always liked the kid," said Cora. "I was there for his first game and it's funny now, but it wasn't funny when it happened, but that first day, we were with Manny and he took us to this beauty salon to do his hair. All of a sudden we look up and it's 3:40, 4 o'clock and Hanley is there.

"At that time, there's no Ubers. It's either car with Manny or wait for a taxi, and me and Hanley, we walked in a little bit late for his first big league day and I know [Tim Wakefield] mentioned it to him and I was telling him the story the other day and I was like, 'Man, that was unreal. Manny put me in a bad spot.' For me, he's always been great. I always got along with him. I don't know if it goes back to that day that he remembers I was there with him."

Nearly every time Ramirez has been asked why the Red Sox are playing so well and having so much fun this season, he starts his answer by crediting Cora.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Xander Bogaerts