Jon Lester comes off DL, Clay Buchholz makes progress for Boston

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The American League’s best team seems poised to get a little better.

The Red Sox activated Jon Lester from the disabled list in advance of his start Monday against the Royals.  He’s slated to throw 80-85 pitches tonight, manager Terry Francona told CSNNE.com.

Lester missed three weeks with a left lat strain.

“Kind of stating the obvious that we’re really excited to have him back,” Francona said. “The only limitation we have tonight is probably a pitch count and that’s just because of common sense. But he feels good and there’s no restrictions pitching physically. There’s no issues there. Hopefully get back in a rhythm and get him back where he was in and turn him loose. Our guys have done a great job filling in for him but you need guys like Lester.”

As expected, J.D. Drew was placed on the DL to make room for Lester on the roster. Kyle Weiland was shifted to the bullpen for now.

But Lester’s return wasn’t the only good news for Boston today.  Clay Buchholz, out five weeks with a strained back, threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session and said it’s the best he’s felt.

“I think this is the biggest step in the right direction so far in this process,” Buchholz said. “I don’t feel like there was any hitch in the delivery. It was what I wanted to go out there and do.”

There is no timetable for Buchholz’s return.  From what he was telling the Boston Globe, he’s still a few weeks away.

“I want to be ready to go,” he said. “If it’s the middle of August, that’s good. If it’s September, that’s good, too. I want to try to come back and help this team get to the postseason and work our way from there.”

Orioles re-sign Jace Peterson

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Because baseball teams have to have 25 guys — and because someone has to be that 25h guy — the Orioles have re-signed utilityman Jace Peterson. It’s a minor league contract so he may not be the actual 25th man but, c’mon, he’s gonna be the 25th man. Let’s get real here.

Peterson hit .195/.308/.325 in 200 at-bats for the Orioles last season. That’s not good, but he can play multiple positions in the infield and outfield. He can’t play them particularly well, but you know that thing Casey Stengel said about how catchers are important because without them there are a lot of passed balls? Same goes for third base and stuff. Again: Orioles.

I was going to add that he was the only player in MLB history named “Jace,” but Jace Fry exists, so he doesn’t even have that distinction anymore, and that’s kind of a bummer.

Happy Thanksgiving.