Notes: Drew's back 'a little sore'
Right fielder runs into wall in third, leaves game in eighth
BOSTON -- The ball left the bat of Brandon Inge and, as Tim Wakefield said later, got caught up in the jet stream. Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew put on his own set of jets and hoped for an acrobatic catch. Call it bullpen wall 1, Drew 0.
The ball sailed into the bullpen for a solo homer in the third inning and Drew slammed his back against the wall. He stayed in the game until the top of the eighth, finally coming out with a lower back contusion.
"His back is a little sore," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona after the Red Sox lost to the Tigers, 7-2. "You saw it. He went up and hit the top of the wall with the base of his back, the part that is not padded. I think he actually hit his elbow, too. His lower back just got tight, and tighter as the game progressed. We'd much rather be safe than sorry. We'll evaluate him again [Wednesday]."
With lefty Mike Maroth pitching Wednesday's game for the Tigers, it would not be surprising to see Wily Mo Pena get the start in right field so that Drew can get another day of rest.
Drew was unavailable for comment after the game.
Kevin Youkilis could hear the thump of Drew slamming into the wall from his post at first base.
"He slammed it hard," said Youkilis. "Shoulder, back, it didn't look good. I don't think your body is meant to hit walls. The walls are what you call 'padded,' but they aren't really padded. Those things are hard as a rock. That's probably the hardest padded wall in the league."
Timlin resumes throwing: When a 41-year-old pitcher with 970 career appearances plays catch, it is generally not a newsworthy development. But for Timlin, Tuesday's flat-ground session was a significant event considering the disappointment he felt at the end of last week regarding the condition of his right shoulder.
Red Sox medical director Thomas Gill gave Timlin a much more favorable diagnosis on Monday night, which enabled the veteran to start throwing again for the first time since being placed on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis on May 3.
Timlin, who looked to be in far better spirits than he was a few days ago, estimated that he'll start throwing off a mound in "four to five days."
The setup man is eligible on Friday, but is doubtful to return to action that quickly.
The main concern for the Red Sox, who entered the night leading the American League East by 8 1/2 games, is that Timlin is 100 percent when he does return.
"His strength was improved, which, again, I know it was three days, but it was real good news," said Francona. "I think sometimes there might be a confidence factor. A guy feels a little better and now you can improve your strength because you're not waiting for that part to hurt."
Beckett continuing to heal: Though it's still too early to tell if he'll be able to make his start on Friday night against the Braves, the Red Sox are encouraged by the improvement Josh Beckett has shown in the two days since exiting his start on Sunday with an avulsion on his right middle finger.
He was examined by a specialist before Tuesday's game.
"He got a good report," Francona said following the game. "Same thing as before. Nothing different than earlier. Six more hours of healing."
Before the game, Beckett was able to get some work in.
"Beckett went out and played catch," said Francona. "He went out and played catch and even threw of the mound a bit, which is very encouraging. Now, again, other than that, there's really not an update to give. It's very encouraging how good he felt and how much this seems to be regenerating quickly, which is good. Regardless of whether he pitches on Friday, the news is good."
Odds and ends: How did Boston's 26-11 start ranking in the annals of club history? It tied the 1904 season for fourth best. The 1946 pennant-winning team (29-8) was the best after 37 games. The 1917 and 2002 Sox were 27-10 ... Left-hander Jon Lester will throw another side session before Wednesday's game. Lester has been sidelined from his rehab assignment since May 3, when he suffered cramping in his forearm ... On the four-year anniversary of when their sellout streak began, the Red Sox produced a capacity crowd Tuesday night for the 325th consecutive contest.
On deck: Right-hander Julian Tavarez (1-4, 6.60 ERA) faces Maroth (3-0, 4.69) in Wednesday's Game 3 of this four-game series against the Tigers at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.