Farrell optimistic Hanley could return soon

Farrell optimistic Hanley could return soon

TORONTO -- Hanley Ramirez was expected to take swings in the batting cage on Monday and could return to the Red Sox's lineup at some point during the club's four-game series against the Blue Jays, manager John Farrell said.

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Ramirez, who is day to day with a bruised left hand, was traveling to Toronto to join the club at some point during the series opener at Rogers Centre after an MRI in Boston showed no additional damage to his injured hand.

"We'll see how the next day to three days goes," Farrell said. "The optimistic view is that he'd be back in the lineup while we're here in the Toronto."

Ramirez hasn't played since he took a line drive off the hand while running the bases on Wednesday. Farrell said swelling had gone down over the weekend, providing Ramirez with some much-needed peace of mind as he begins to work his way back to the lineup. The Red Sox left fielder had a CT scan and X-ray last week, but he hadn't progressed as the team had anticipated, causing some uncertainty about how much time he'd miss and whether or not a disabled list stint might be necessary.

"He's dealing with some soreness with the bone bruise and maybe a little residual swelling that's there," Farrell said. "But I think more than anything, the little peace of mind that structurally he's good allows him to move through the hitting progression."

Alejandro De Aza has started in place of Ramirez for the past four games, and he was back in left field again Monday. He's hit well, going 6-for-15 with three homers over that span.

Worth noting
• Injured catcher Ryan Hanigan (right hand fracture) was due to play in both games of a doubleheader with Double-A Portland on Monday. Farrell said Hanigan would be behind the plate for Game 1 and slot in at designated hitter for Game 2.

"After today, we'll have a much better read on how quickly he returns to us, possibly on the first day he's eligible, [which is Wednesday]," Farrell said. "How he feels, particularly in the batter's box, not so much behind the plate, because catching-wise, I think he feels like he's ready to go. It's more timing and getting some at-bats."

• Shane Victorino (left calf strain) was off Monday and was scheduled to appear in back-to-back nine-inning games for the Sea Dogs on Tuesday and Wednesday.

• Farrell said Dustin Pedroia (right hamstring strain) was progressing well and could begin taking batting practice before the club returns to Boston.

"It's probably still too early to say that on Day 16 he's in the lineup, but that's hopeful," Farrell said.

Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.