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Koji Uehara takes another step toward return

Koji Uehara, rehabbing a hamstring injury, threw 25 pitches of live BP at the team facility in Fort Myers, Fla., Tuesday.File/Barry Chin/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

PHILADELPHIA — Red Sox closer Koji Uehara is getting closer to returning to the team.

Uehara threw 25 pitches of live batting practice at the team facility in Fort Myers, Fla., on Tuesday. He threw 30 warm-up pitches before facing some hitters in extended spring training.

The report was that Uehara looked sharp. He will leave Florida Wednesday and on Thursday will report to Single A Greenville to pitch in a simulated game.

If that goes well, Uehara would pitch an inning for Greenville Saturday against Augusta. The Red Sox hope to activate him for Monday’s home opener against the Washington Nationals.


Uehara is on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring and pitched only three games in spring training.

Getting started

The Red Sox minor league affiliates start play Thursday. Triple A Pawtucket is on the road and opens at home on April 16. Double A Portland hosts Reading at 6 p.m.

Rosters came out on Tuesday. Pawtucket has Matt Barnes, Keith Couch, Brian Johnson, Henry Owens, and Eduardo Rodriguez in its rotation. The top relief options are Brandon Workman, Dalier Hinojosa, major league veteran Dana Eveland, and Heath Hembree.

For now, the PawSox are carrying four catchers including Blake Swihart and Humberto Quintero. Garin Cecchini, Sean Coyle, Travis Shaw, and Deven Marrero are the top infield prospects.

Jemile Weeks, a 28-year-old who has played parts of four seasons in the majors, will play different positions in the infield.

The outfield has Jackie Bradley Jr., Bryce Brentz, and Rusney Castillo along with Quintin Berry.

At Portland, the top prospects on the roster are infielder Carlos Asuaje, outfielder Henry Ramos, righthander Justin Haley, and righthander Pat Light, who has been shifted to the bullpen.

At High Single A Salem, the pitching staff will include 2013 first-round pick Trey Ball and righthander Teddy Stankiewicz, a second-round pick that year. Outfielder Manuel Margot, first baseman Sam Travis, and second baseman Wendell Rijo are the top position players.


Low Single A Greenville will attract scouts with a lineup that includes former first-round pick Michael Chavis and fellow third baseman Rafael Devers. Middle infielders Javier Guerra and Mauricio Dubon also are well-regarded prospects.

Michael Kopech, a supplemental first-round pick last June, is the player to watch on the pitching staff.

Within a few weeks, Greenville also will receive second baseman Yoan Moncada, the Cuban star signed to a $31.5 million bonus in March. For now, he remains in extended spring training acclimating to baseball in the United States.

The Red Sox, as expected, will assign outfielder Carlos Mesa to the same roster as Moncada. At 27, Mesa will be one of the oldest players in the South Atlantic League. He was signed largely because of his relationship with Moncada.

Hanley vs. Harang

Hanley Ramirez hit two home runs, one a grand slam, against the Phillies Monday. He is 10 of 29 with five home runs against Aaron Harang, who starts for the Phillies Wednesday night . . . The Red Sox are 32-22 against the Phillies, 16-8 at Citizens Bank Park.

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.