Steve Pearce took a small step forward in his recovery Monday.
The Red Sox first baseman has a lower back strain and has been on the 10-day injured list since May 31. He was cleared to resume baseball activities Sunday, and swung a bat for the first time since the injury Monday afternoon.
“Felt like I had a little more pep in my step today,” Pearce said.
Pearce said he’d swing off a tee, and he was still at least a step away from hitting actual pitches. He will likely go on a rehab assignment before he gets back into the Red Sox lineup.
Pearce told manager Alex Cora he felt numbness in his legs right after fouling out to first in the second inning against the Yankees May 31. He immediately left the game.
Pearce is batting .180 with one home run and 9 RBIs this season. The Red Sox have been using Michael Chavis and Sam Travis at first base with both Pearce and Mitch Moreland (quadriceps) hurt.
Pearce is on the injured list for the second time this season. He was on it for the first time at the beginning of the season after straining a calf during spring training.
Pearce hit .286 in the three weeks before he strained his lower back, significantly better than he’d been hitting earlier in the season, but with the 36-year-old also ironing out some mechanical issues, it’s likely his timeline will be on the conservative side.
Poyner called up
The Red Sox recalled lefthanded pitcher Bobby Poyner from Pawtucket in advance of Monday night’s game against the Rangers.
To make room on the 25-man roster, they optioned lefthanded pitcher Josh Taylor to Pawtucket.
Poyner has appeared in two games for the Red Sox this season, allowing two runs in one inning. He hasn’t given up a run for Pawtucket in six outings since May 25.
Taylor was called up May 29 and made five relief appearances in the first major league stint of his career. He gave up six runs in 5.0 innings, most recently giving up four runs in one inning of work in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader against Tampa Bay.
The Red Sox have moved the start time of Wednesday’s game against the Rangers from 7:10 p.m. to 4:05 p.m.
The change was made to avoid a conflict with Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Bruins and Blues are scheduled to play at 8 p.m. at TD Garden.
Gates will open at 2:35 p.m. at Fenway Park. Season ticket-holders and Red Sox Nation members will be able to enter at Gate C starting at 1:35 p.m.
One leading man
Only one Red Sox player — designated hitter J.D. Martinez — leads at his position in early online voting for the All-Star Game.
Martinez has received 491,955 votes, well ahead of Texas’s Hunter Pence. No other Red Sox player is closer than Rafael Devers, who is in fourth place among third basemen.
Mookie Betts, the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2018, is fifth among outfielders.
Angels outfielder Mike Trout leads all American League vote-getters with 951,002 votes.
The “Primary” period of voting ends June 21 at 4 p.m. The final election of the starters begins June 26 at noon and finishes at 4 p.m. the next day. The winners will be announced that night.
The rest of the roster will be revealed June 30. The All-Star Game is July 9 in Cleveland.