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Sports

Bobby Valentine glad to have Dustin Pedroia back

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was glad to finally have Dustin Pedroia back in the lineup for Thursday's game against the Chicago White Sox after the second baseman was activated from the 15-day disabled list (right thumb strain).

Pedroia was penciled into the No. 3 spot in the lineup. Mauro Gomez, who was called up Wednesday when David Ortiz was placed on the 15-day DL, was sent back down to Pawtucket to make room for Pedroia.

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"I'm anxious to see him out on the diamond,'' Valentine said. "You know, I've seen him running around the dugout the last couple of weeks and he's looked really out of place. But I'm sure he's going to look really in place once he's standing between first and second.

"He's everything, so hopefully he'll bring it all tonight.''

Asked if Pedroia drove everyone nuts in the dugout when he was inactive, Valentine said, "He gets a little frustrated by not playing, actually. I'm glad we're going to turn that page. He tries to do a lot of things and you just can't do them when you're not playing.''

In other clubhouse news:

* Pedro Ciriaco, who had been projected as the likely candidate to be sent down to Pawtucket, remained with the team because Gomez still had options, Valentine said. Ciriaco, as a result, found himself batting in the No. 9 spot as the designated hitter.

"I don't know if it was [a decision] to keep him over [Gomez],'' Valentine said. "It's not apples-to-apples [comparison]. Gomez has options.''

Asked about the interesting look Ciriaco would give the team at DH, given his speed, Valentine said, "He's hitting and he's hitting well and he runs around the bases well. Like I told you, you're not going to replace David Ortiz with David Ortiz, but he's going to help us score some runs.''

* Apprised that Ortiz planned to start hitting in the cage Friday, Valentine seemed to be surprised by the news. "Did he say that?'' Valentine said. Was Ortiz yanking somebody's leg? "He might do something where balls are just coming in and he does something more with upper body and in sync with his lower body, but it'll all be supervised and regulated, I'm sure. But just for the eye-hand [coordination], I could see that happening.''

* With Ciriaco batting as the DH in the No. 9 spot, Valentine was asked about the potential for having some dynamic speed at the Nos. 9, 1 and 2 spots, with Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford hitting at the top of the order.

"Well you know Mike [Aviles, the No. 8 hitter] has been able to run around the bases well, too, and steal some,'' Valentine pointed out. "If they get on, there is a dynamic quality to the grouping.''

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