ST. PETERSBURG -- The Red Sox will activate veteran reliever Mike Timlin from the 15-day disabled list in time for Thursday's opener of a four-game series at Yankee Stadium.

Though Timlin has struggled mightily this season, the Red Sox could use a fresh arm considering the way the bullpen has been roughed up in the first five games of this 10-game road trip.

Timlin had been out since June 17 with left knee tendinitis. In three rehab outings at Triple-A Pawtucket, he didn't give up a hit.

The Red Sox hope that is a sign of things to come. Timlin is 3-3 with a 7.06 ERA in 24 outings this season.

In order to make room for Timlin on the roster, the Sox will option right-hander Chris Smith to Pawtucket. Smith went 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in three outings for Boston.