Thornburg progressing after Triple-A outing

Right-hander rehabbing from thoracic outlet surgery in 2017

May 1st, 2018

BOSTON -- Early signs in 's Minor League rehab assignment are as encouraging as they could be.

Making his first appearance on Monday night for Triple-A Pawtucket, the right-hander allowed one hit and struck out three in one inning.

Considering Thornburg hadn't pitched in any kind of regular season game -- Minors or Majors -- since 2016, it was an impressive opening.

Thornburg will pitch again for Pawtucket on Wednesday and continue a gradual progression from there.

"It was good. Especially since it hadn't exactly happened in a while," Thornburg said. "It was a cold and rainy night and I'm used to pitching in 80-degree weather. About as good as I could've hoped, honestly. So not bad at all. I guess we'll see what happens in the second and third [outings] and so forth."

Thornburg had surgery to repair thoracic outlet syndrome in his right shoulder in May 2017.

He could become a key component in Boston's bullpen when he returns.

"He's another different look, 95 with the breaking ball and a changeup," manager Alex Cora said. "That's another guy that we can match up with whatever we feel we're comfortable. We're trying to patch up 27 outs, and he's going to be a part of it."

Timetable?

"That's hard to predict," Cora said. "With him, we know how hard the road has been, and I don't want to put a timetable. For me, go tomorrow, do your thing, and we'll go from there. We'll go on a daily basis, but he has to go through a few steps. Back-to-back days. Traffic. Coming in in the middle of an inning. But his first step, it was a big one, and it was great. That was fun to watch."

Mookie to return Wednesday

Right fielder , who missed the past two games with tightness in his right hamstring, was healthy enough to start on Tuesday. But with a day game looming on Wednesday, Cora decided to hold him out one more day, though Betts was available to pinch-hit.

"With Mookie, he wasn't going to play back-to-back days -- you know, day game after night game -- so I decided, for us, it's better for him to start tomorrow," Cora said before Tuesday's game. "There's a lefty on the mound, so I didn't want too many lefties in the lineup. He's ready to play. It's just a matter of which one he was going to play, and I just decided to play him tomorrow."

Pedroia re-starting laser show

had another productive day at extended spring training, at least judging by the text the second baseman sent to his manager.

"Pedroia, and I quote, 'Three innings, four great plays at second base, 1-for-2 with a laser.' He played today so he feels good," Cora said.

Kelly returns Wednesday

The Red Sox will get a key piece of their bullpen back on Wednesday, when Joe Kelly's six-game suspension ends.

"Yes, he threw yesterday -- an up and down, one of those bullpens, and he's ready to roll," Cora said.