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RED SOX NOTEBOOK

Rafael Devers expected back in time for Tuesday’s Red Sox game vs. Astros in Houston

The Red Sox have struggled without their starting third baseman Rafael Devers the last 10 days.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

HOUSTON — Barring any setbacks, the Red Sox will reinstate Rafael Devers from the injured list prior to Tuesday’s game against the Astros.

Devers went on the injured list on Aug. 23 after feeling a tweak in his right hamstring against the Blue Jays the day prior. Devers recently took live batting practice against Michael Wacha and appeared healthy moving around.

The third baseman went to the IL batting .324/.379/.602 with 22 homers and .981 OPS. Devers was second to Trevor Story on the team with 55 RBI, and his 52 extra-base hits ranked third in the American League entering Friday’s play.

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In 10 games without the All-Star starter, including Monday’s 3-2 victory, the Red Sox have gone 4-6 and averaged just 3.6 runs per game.

Rich Hill activated, but won’t start in Houston

Rich Hill was activated off the injured list Monday, after spending most of July on the shelf following a left knee sprain he suffered on July 1 in Chicago.

Hill made just one rehab appearance, three innings for Double A Portland, in which the lefthander struck out five. He said recently that the team’s goal was for him to start Tuesday, but manager Alex Cora named Kutter Crawford and Brayan Bello to pitch the remaining two games against the Astros.

The Sox are still trying to figure out how they will utilize Hill during this series, with the possibility the 42-year-old is traded before 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Clubhouse murmurs

In the minutes before Christian Vázquez was dealt to the other dugout Monday, the longest-tenured Red Sox was in a group of players playing dominoes alongside Xander Bogaerts, the clubhouse quiet as Chaim Bloom began making moves.

“I’ve been saying all along throughout this losing streak or tough month, we show up, we prepare,” Cora said as part of an uncharacteristically short pregame meeting with the media. “We go out there and play hard and that’s what we have to do tonight.”

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Alex Cora keeps a close eye on the action during Monday's win over Houston.Bob Levey/Getty

During the ESPN broadcast, reporter Buster Olney said he was told privately by some Red Sox players that “they’ve been unsupported. Players wondering, what are we doing? Players wondering, are there more moves to come?”

J.D. Martinez, along with Monday starter Nate Eovaldi among the more likely Red Sox still to be dealt, told reporters after Sunday’s victory that he felt like the pressure of the team’s possible breakup contributed to its struggles.

“I think the pressure’s been like that since we came back from the All-Star break,” Martinez said. “Everybody feels like it’s kind of fighting for your life, fighting to keep the band together. I think it might be what’s hurt us, honestly. But, whatever. It is what it is.”

Paxton’s progression

James Paxton is still just throwing bullpens and has not advanced to participating in live batting practice as he continues his return from Tommy John surgery. Paxton suffered a slight setback in May before the Sox restarted his progression. Ideally, he would be further along by this point, but that hasn’t been the case. “You gotta be careful,” Cora said. “You know, this is not only for this year with him. We need this guy healthy to be part of the organization next year, so it’s important to do it right. And there’s gonna be a few bumps in the road to recovery and we’re gonna be very cautious about it” . . . In addition to adding Vázquez, Houston acquired Baltimore slugger Trey Mancini before the game in a three-way trade, sending speedy outfielder Jose Siri to Tampa Bay, and later lefty reliever Will Smith from Atlanta in exchange for starter Jake Odorizzi.

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Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.


Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @byJulianMack.