BOSTON -- Felix Doubront's return to the Red Sox rotation is set, while Daisuke Matsuzaka's remains up in the air.
Doubront, on the 15-day disabled list with a right knee contusion, is set to start Sunday against the Royals at Fenway Park. The lefty hasn't pitched since Aug. 9 in Cleveland.
The righty Matsuzaka, meanwhile, will start on Monday, possibly for the Major League club against the Royals, but most likely for Triple-A Pawtucket.
"He'll pitch Monday -- not here, necessarily," manager Bobby Valentine said. "He has a bullpen [session]. [Aaron] Cook has a bullpen. We have [projected Saturday starter Josh Beckett] going out there. There's a lot of things going on. Unless we just want to start some stir on something, I don't think there's any reason to even talk about it. Last time I looked, Kansas City doesn't need it."
Valentine later added Dice-K would "probably" be in Triple-A. Dice-K hasn't thrown in the Majors since July 2. If he pitches for Pawtucket on Monday, it presumably would be his last Minor League start because his rehab clock expires Tuesday. He's coming back from a strained trapezius.
Valentine appeared confused -- possibly in jest -- by the level of attention reporters were paying to the rotation.
"Why is there such a ... who cares who's pitching?" he said. "Why is this such a big thing?"
Red Sox expect to welcome Papi back on Friday
BOSTON -- If there's a run left in the Red Sox, they're getting back the player who can find it.
Designated hitter David Ortiz is set to be activated from the 15-day disabled list Friday barring any last-minute discomfort. He ran the bases without pain Thursday, more than a month after he went on the DL with a strained right Achilles.
"It looked like David got through everything perfectly today," manager Bobby Valentine said Thursday. "He was running the bases. Today was the day he was going to run the bases, which he hadn't done yet. He had run sprints. Today he ran the bases. We're going to see how he gets through it. If he gets through, we're planning on hopefully activating him tomorrow. That's the update of updates."
Ortiz hasn't played since July 16, when he was hurt rounding second base as he tried to slow down on a home run. He's hitting .316 with 23 home runs -- still the most on the team -- and 58 RBIs in 89 games.
Crawford undergoes successful surgery on elbow
BOSTON -- Carl Crawford has taken a huge step toward a healthy 2013.
The Red Sox outfielder underwent successful Tommy John surgery on his left (throwing) elbow Thursday in Pensacola, Fla. Dr. James Andrews performed the procedure.
"We expect Carl to make a full recovery," the team said in a statement.
The decision to send Crawford for surgery was officially announced Monday, with the Red Sox teetering below .500. He missed most of the season because of the torn ulnar collateral ligament, and, earlier in the year, a surgically repaired left wrist.
In his second year with the Sox, Crawford finished with a .282 average, 10 doubles, three homers, 19 RBIs and five stolen bases in 31 games. The time he played with the Sox, he played in progressively worsening pain.
"I think it became clear over the last few days that surgery was going to happen, it was just a question of when," general manager Ben Cherington said Monday. "We felt like after talking about it more this weekend and with Carl, the right thing to do was to get it taken care of now. Give Carl credit. He played through the injury and played pretty well. But the symptoms, it wasn't getting better. The symptoms were getting worse. We just decided not to ask him to keep going out there. We decided to take care of it now and he agreed with that."
Valentine defends attendance for Pesky service
BOSTON -- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was firm Thursday when asked whether enough of his players attended Johnny Pesky's funeral.
The Boston Herald reported that four players -- Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, Vicente Padilla and Jarrod Saltalamacchia -- came to the service on Monday.
"I think it's very insulting to the Pesky family for people to be thinking that an organization that loved him so much did anything other than the right thing," Valentine said. "That's my answer to that."
Team president Larry Lucchino addressed the same issue in a radio interview with WEEI.
"I think the people who knew Johnny best came to it," Lucchino said Thursday. "Our players had the chance on Tuesday night to participate in the ceremony on the field. They all willingly and enthusiastically participated on that day and then there's going to be another memorial service, so I think it's unnecessary to focus on that issue."
Pesky, who spent 61 years in the Red Sox organization, passed away on Aug. 13. He was 92.
"We came back from New York very late and some of the guys probably had some things to do that day," Ortiz said Thursday. "That's probably the reason why some of the guys didn't show up.
"I can tell you why I showed up. I had a friend that just passed away and I wanted to be there."
Adrian Gonzalez DH'd on Thursday, his 122nd start in the Red Sox's 125th game. "Yeah, while we can, we might as well rest his legs a little," manager Bobby Valentine said. "He's such a warrior out there every day. He can just work on his swing and doesn't have to worry about playing that great defense he plays every day."
Gonzalez entered Thursday with 40 RBIs since the All-Sar break, four more than anyone in the Majors.
Valentine also feels Gonzalez is the "Gold Glove [winner] in the American League, I think without a doubt."
Jacoby Ellsbury entered the day hitting .220 in August, but Valentine feels the center fielder is close: "He's taking full swings as we're watching, taking full swings and either hitting just below the ball and it's going up or just a little off the end of the bat and it's going on the ground."