LOS ANGELES - J.D. Drew returns home to Dodger Stadium tonight. But he probably won't be in the Red Sox lineup.
Drew didn't play the two "official" games against the Oakland A's in Japan because of tightness in his lower back. He may not play much in the three exhibitions this weekend, either. He's shooting for the next "real" game, Tuesday in Oakland.
"I would like to get some at-bats at some point this weekend, but I want to make sure everything is good and sturdy in there before I go out and start taking some hacks," Drew said before yesterday's voluntary workout at Dodger Stadium.
"My ultimate goal is to be ready for the first game in Oakland."
Drew was on fire when he tweaked his back running sprints before the season opener in Japan. He hit a three-run homer and a grand slam in two exhibitions against Japanese teams, then yielded his spot to Brandon Moss minutes before the start of the regular season.
"I was joking that my body is geared for April and we were trying to play in March," said Drew. "I feel a lot better today. I've still got some stiffness in there, but as far as the flight goes and everything, it went really well. If it makes as much progress in the next few days, I'll be all right. I'm going to try to play here and take some swings, but one thing I don't want to do in exhibition games is do something stupid and not be able to play next week."
"It all depends on how he feels," said manager Terry Francona. "He says he feels a little better. We'll see how he does."
Beckett breezesJosh Beckett
(back) pitched four innings against Twins minor leaguers at the Sox minor league complex yesterday. Beckett allowed one hit and no walks, striking out six. He threw 47 pitches, 34 for strikes. Francona said Beckett will pitch Tuesday in Florida, then join the Sox in Toronto. He could start the final game of the trip against the Blue Jays April 6 . . . The Sox will have 40 players available in Los Angeles. A charter aircraft, carrying the Single A Lancaster roster and some additional equipment, flew from Florida to California. Twenty-year-old Sox first baseman Lars Anderson
- considered one of the organization's prize hitting prospects - may get a chance to hit against the Dodgers . . . Righthanded reliever Bryan Corey
is crossing his fingers as the next roster deadline nears. "I've been in that mental state from Day 1 of spring training," said the veteran. "I know what it takes for me to stay here. I don't take anything for granted. I know there's still some decisions to be made. They haven't said anything to me. I just hope I make the trip to Oakland." . . . Mike Timlin's
status is unclear. He has a cut on one of his pitching fingers and the Sox have not ruled out having him on the disabled list when the season resumes. "I haven't thrown," Timlin said yesterday. "They won't let me throw. They haven't given me anything to go on. I'm trying to find out." . . . Jon Lester
, who is scheduled to start the second game in Oakland, said he felt fine in the wake of his start in Tokyo Wednesday . . . Bartolo Colon
, who had a root canal in Florida, starts against the Dodgers tonight. Jose Vaquedano
and TJ Large
are also scheduled to pitch. Tim Wakefield
starts tomorrow . . . Maestro Dr. Charles Steinberg
has plenty of surprises in store this weekend and noted that Frazee Paint is one of the official sponsors of the Dodger-Sox series. In keeping with his Mighty Wind Tour, Steinberg has Marilyn McCoo
of the Fifth Dimension performing tomorrow night at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
and Ellen Pompeo
have asked for tickets for the Coliseum game, which is expected to draw close to 115,000 fans. The Sox will get in uniform in Dodger Stadium, hop on a bus to the Coliseum at 2:30 in the afternoon, then walk into the Coliseum with the Dodgers. There could be a lot of waiting around after that. The game doesn't start until 7:40 (10:40 EDT) . . . Bill James
will be featured on "60 Minutes" Sunday night . . . The Dodgers played the Angels in Anaheim last night. Nomar Garciaparra
has a fracture in his right hand and may start the season on the disabled list . . . Francona made his managing debut at Dodger Stadium, a Phillies victory with Curt Schilling
as the winning pitcher. "It looked easy and from there it was sort of downhill," remembered the skipper.
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