BOSTON -- Adrian Gonzalez's temporary move to right field took another step on Saturday night, as he started there in Fenway Park for the first time.
The case can be made that Fenway is the most challenging right field in the game, when you combine the distance to straightaway right (380 feet) and the odd corner in front of Pesky's Pole (302 feet).
With the Red Sox depleted in the outfield, this gives manager Bobby Valentine a chance to still put out a formidable offense that has Gonzalez playing right, Will Middlebrooks starting at third and Kevin Youkilis playing first base.
"I think Adrian is as capable as anyone," said Valentine. "For sure, there could be some balls that go over into Pesky's corner there and go out into the triangle that can allude him. I think that part of the baseball field is the same as everyone else. There is that part of right field that is the same and he'll cover that area very well -- I think."
The more Valentine has spoken with Gonzalez, the more comfortable he feels playing him in right.
"I don't think there's injury risk, talking to him," Valentine said. "I think it's more dangerous at first base as far as injuries. I see more people getting hurt at first base than right field. As far as the competitive balance and the defense that he's going to provide, I think it's close to neutral."
If you want to know about some rag-tag outfields, Valentine has some stories from his years with the Texas Rangers.
"I played Pete Incaviglia in the outfield," said Valentine. "Some people referred to one outfield I had in Texas as the [second coming] of Catch-22, because that's what they did when 100 flyballs were hit to them."
Crawford resumes swinging; not throwing yet
BOSTON -- The old saying is that you must be able to walk before you run. In the case of Carl Crawford, the left fielder has to hit before he can throw.
Following an appointment with the medical staff on Friday, Crawford was given clearance to start hitting. For the past two days, he has taken swings off a tee.
"Yeah, he swung a little yesterday, he felt good," said manager Bobby Valentine. "He's swinging more today. He's excited and feeling good."
Crawford is recovering from a UCL sprain in his left elbow and had left wrist surgery in the offseason.
The key to Crawford making headway in his comeback is to be able to start a throwing program. Valentine estimated that Crawford could start throwing in about two weeks.
Crawford has spent the entire season on the disabled list.
Returns for Sweeney, McDonald imminent
BOSTON -- Outfielder Ryan Sweeney passed his MLB-mandated concussion test and could return soon.
He resumed baseball activities on Saturday, taking batting practice for the first time since sustaining a concussion on a diving catch a week ago.
Sweeney is eligible to be activated from the seven-day disabled list Monday.
Darnell McDonald (right oblique strain) is also close to a return. McDonald took a day off on Saturday after starting his Minor League rehab assignment for Triple-A Pawtucket. He will play again for the PawSox on Sunday and Monday.
If all goes well, McDonald could be activated by the Red Sox on Tuesday.
Kalish opens rehab assignment with Salem
BOSTON -- If Ryan Kalish has faded from your memory, he might be close to re-entering it.
Besieged by injuries that have kept him from playing for the Red Sox since 2010, Kalish opened a Minor League rehab assignment for Class A Salem on Saturday.
The left-handed hitter started at designated hitter in his debut and was expected to play five innings.
"Take it one little step at a time," said manager Bobby Valentine. "It's great to have him back in uniform and on the field. So, you know, we like him to have success, obviously, but the first step is to play pain free, be healthy and then start putting up some numbers."
Kalish was an everyday player for the Red Sox the final two months of the 2010 season. He went back to the Minors for the start of '11, following Boston's signing of Carl Crawford. Kalish had a nasty collision while playing at Pawtucket last April that led to a variety of injuries.
Dice-K strong in second rehab assignment
BOSTON -- Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka had a strong performance in his second Minor League rehab assignment, firing five shutout innings on Saturday night at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Matsuzaka gave up a hit while walking one and striking out two. He threw 56 pitches, 38 of which were for strikes.
The Red Sox had to stop Matsuzaka's first rehab assignment following his start on May 17 because of an injury to his right trap muscle.
Per terms of the 30-day rehab clock, Matsuzaka must be activated by the Red Sox by June 25, provided he doesn't have another setback.
Matsuzaka last pitched for the Red Sox on May 16, 2011. He underwent Tommy John ligament transfer surgery last June.