SEATTLE -- Remember Bartolo Colon? It's been easy to forget about the big right-hander, who has been on a slow and tedious trek back to the mound since straining his lower back on a hard swing in Philadelphia on June 16.

Finally, it seems, a return is in sight for Colon. If all goes well, Colon will throw a side session at Fenway Park during Thursday's off-day. It will be the first time Colon has stepped on a mound since going on the disabled list.

Before Tuesday's game in Seattle, Colon will extend his long toss between 120 and 150 feet.

"He's been feeling great," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "That's good. Sometimes, when it starts stretching out, you can't just let a guy -- even though he feels good -- let him go too fast. Same thing is going to happen. We're trying to ride herd on him a little, but he's doing good."

Colon is 4-2 with a 4.09 ERA. Because of his experience, the Red Sox hope Colon can play an important role in August and September.