The Red Sox injury merry-go-round keeps on thrilling and chilling Boston fans.
The team welcomed back Manny Ramirez, Jason Varitek and Trot Nixon on Monday against the Chicago White Sox. Shortstop Alex Gonzalez returned on Sunday, and David Ortiz has targeted Tuesday as his comeback day.
But the prognosis for pitcher Curt Schilling, who missed his scheduled start on Monday with a strained latissimus dorsi muscle on his right side, wasn't as upbeat.
"I don't think it looks very encouraging," manager Terry Francona told the Boston Globe before Monday's game.
Schilling could miss his start next weekend against the Kansas City Royals.
Although this season has slipped away with a horrible August, Red Sox Nation awaits word on two very important pieces for the future.
Left-handed rookie starter Jon Lester will begin treatments for a form of lymphoma in the near future. And according to ESPN's Wendi Nix, closer Jonathan Papelbon had his scheduled MRI on his ailing right shoulder pushed back to Tuesday because of Monday's holiday.
Papelbon, according to Tuesday's Boston Herald, said he intends to return to the mound.
"I don't think we're out of this thing," Papelbon said. "To me, that's not out of it. If the MRI shows I'm not really hurt, I'll come back and throw."
If that wasn't enough, center fielder Coco Crisp was not in the lineup on Monday, still struggling with a balky shoulder after a spectacular diving catch in Oakland.
Ramirez had missed 10 of the previous 11 with a sore right knee.
Ramirez, hitting a team-leading .326 with 34 homers and 100 RBI,
was in his usual cleanup spot and playing left.
"He said he can play," Boston manager Terry Francona said.
"That's good enough for me. He worked on the treadmill
aggressively the past couple of days."
The team may just have to wait one more day for slugger Ortiz.
Ortiz, who suffered heart palpitations twice in August -- the
second time a week ago -- wore a heart monitor over the weekend,
with hopes of returning Monday. He hasn't played the last seven
but said before the game that he would like to return Tuesday.
Ortiz was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital for tests
last week, and he said Saturday that the doctors told him his heart
"I don't know if that's realistic or not," Francona said of a
return Tuesday. "He's going to [take batting practice] today."
Boston's lineup was also bolstered by the return of Varitek and
Nixon, but it may not come in time for the slumping Red Sox.
"It's nice to have Manny healthy," Francona said. "You write
in Manny. Then you write in Trot and [Varitek] behind him."
Varitek injured his left knee and had surgery on Aug. 3. Nixon
has been sidelined since straining his right biceps on July 31.
Boston, which was tied for the AL East lead on Aug. 1, went
9-21 in month to fall out of the division chase. The Red Sox
entered Monday's game nine games behind the division-leading New York Yankees.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.