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Damon should be back soon

MRI on shoulder showed no structural damage

An MRI of Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon’s left shoulder today showed no structural damage. “The report was as good as could be,” said manager Terry Francona prior to tonight's game in Toronto.

Francona, who didn’t want to get into specific medical terminology, added “I think he bruised that area. He’s got some swelling. He’s going to stay back today and tomorrow and I think the hope is that he can play on Thursday, but even if he can’t, the news is good. He’s going to be okay.”

Francona intimated that when Damon does return it will be in center field rather than serving as the team’s designated hitter. “He needs to (play in the outfield), he knows that, because David is our designated hitter. I’d rather give a guy an extra day’s rest and keep our lineup intact than do that.”

Damon had the MRI at 9 this morning in Boston then visited with the team’s medical director Dr. Thomas Gill. Damon, who sat out for the second time in three days last night, injured his left shoulder sliding into second base last Sunday and received a cortisone injection Friday night.

Jonathan Papelbon, who pitched the ninth, 10th, and 11th innings last night, won’t be available for tonight’s game in Toronto. Francona said it was an easy decision to send him back out for the third inning. “He’s still probably capable of going more than that,” said the manager. “He’s been a starter, he’s not been overused.”

Tonight’s Red Sox lineup:

1. Tony Graffanino, 2B

2. Edgar Renteria, SS

3. David Ortiz, DH

4. Manny Ramirez, LF

5. Jason Varitek, C

6. Kevin Millar, RF

7. Kevin Youkilis, 1B

8. Bill Mueller, 3B

9. Gabe Kapler, CF

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