Martinez could return Monday

Updated: July 24, 2010, 9:52 PM ET
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com

SEATTLE -- Boston Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez could be activated from the disabled list and return to the lineup Monday in Anaheim.

Martinez, who has been out since June 27 with a fractured left thumb, was able to catch Clay Buchholz's bullpen session Saturday afternoon at Safeco Field.

Martinez said he felt "great" after catching the bullpen session, and when asked if he would be activated in time for Monday's game against the Angels, he winked.

"We'll see," he said with a big smile.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said that Martinez could be penciled into the lineup Monday.

"I'd say it's a possibility," Francona said. "It's not in concrete, but it's certainly a possibility. I talked to Theo [Epstein] about it today, and because of the way [Martinez] is swinging the bat, when he's ready we'll let him play."

Because the club is on the West Coast, sending Martinez on a rehab assignment makes no sense. Plus, he has looked ready during all his workouts.

"I feel good," Martinez said. "It was a good test, catching Buchholz's session. The only thing I can say is I'm pretty close. So we'll see how it goes tomorrow."

Martinez deemed himself pain-free and said he has no concerns about the thumb after catching Buchholz.

He will stay in the bullpen during Sunday's game and catch the relievers when they're warming up.

"We've been pretty consistent with not getting guys back before they're ready because then you get the name but you don't get the production," Francona said. "That's not what we're shooting for. Victor is a really good player, but we want him to be healthy so he can be a really good player."

Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox and Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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