Red Sox manager John Farrell said that if Kimbrel does not experience discomfort or swelling on Thursday, the right-hander will pitch Saturday for the PawSox and may only need that one appearance before reuniting with his teammates on the West Coast.
"It could be as few as one [appearance]," Farrell said. "It will just be dependent upon physically how Craig feels, and if he feels like just the one appearance to get back into a game environment puts him in a good spot to rejoin us out on the West Coast. That would be the most optimistic scenario."
Kimbrel also completed fielding drills off the mound on Wednesday.
"He came through today's bullpen, I think, in good shape," Farrell said.
The fireballer's recovery has been speedier than the Red Sox initially expected after the operation to repair torn cartilage in his left knee. The club announced at the time that Kimbrel was likely to miss three to six weeks.
If Kimbrel were to return to the team on Sunday in Anaheim, he would beat even that optimistic three-week projection.
With Kimbrel and right-hander Koji Uehara (right pectoral strain) sidelined, Boston traded for Arizona closer Brad Ziegler on July 9. Ziegler has not allowed a run and has surrendered just one hit in six appearances since the deal.
Kimbrel has a 3.55 ERA and 17 saves in 19 chances.
• Right-hander Brandon Workman will throw a simulated game for Class A Short-Season Lowell on Thursday before beginning to pitch in regular games, Farrell said. Workman is recovering from Tommy John surgery in June 2015.
• Righty Sean O'Sullivan (left knee tendinitis) is slated to pitch three innings in a start for Pawtucket on Thursday.
• Farrell said left-handed prospect Brian Johnson was "somewhat tentative" in a start for the PawSox on Sunday in which he allowed four runs in three innings. The 25-year-old was placed on Pawtucket's temporary inactive list May 21 to seek treatment for anxiety.
• Catcher Ryan Hanigan is dealing with flu-like symptoms. He was available in an emergency situation Tuesday and again Wednesday.
Aaron Leibowitz is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.