- Associated Press - Sunday, July 17, 2011

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. (AP) - Boston left-hander Jon Lester could rejoin the rotation in about one week, while left fielder Carl Crawford will be back in the lineup Monday.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said before Sunday night’s game with Tampa Bay that Lester, on the 15-day disabled list since July 6 due to a strained muscle in his back, is scheduled to pitch one week from Tuesday against Kansas City.

Crawford, sidelined by a strained left hamstring, will return for the opener of a three-game series at Baltimore.

Lester, 10-4 with a 3.31 ERA this season, will have the first of three bullpen sessions Monday.

“He was actually aggravated,” Francona said. “He wanted to pitch Friday, so I think that’s good news.”

Crawford, placed on the DL June 18, signed a $142-million, seven-year deal with the Red Sox during the offseason. He is batting .243 with six homers, 31 RBIs and eight stolen bases.

“His batting average might be lower this year than we’re used to, but if he comes back for the last couple months and is, you know, the guy that causes havoc, what a lift,” Francona said.

Crawford completed a two-game minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket Saturday.

“He didn’t swing the bat great, but he was real healthy,” Francona said. “No issues physically. Felt really good, so that’s great.”



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