BOSTON -- The Red Sox had good news to report on two of their best all-around players. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia had an MRI on the right knee that has been bothering him since May 15, and everything came back clean.

Pedroia, coincidentally or not, has been in a hitting slump ever since injuring his knee. But the tests ruled out any significant damage.

"Pedey was checked out and everything came out real clean. That's good," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "We all see how he plays. The fact he can now go out there and see he's not hurting himself is real good."

As for Kevin Youkilis, he exited Thursday night's game in the seventh inning with back spasms and was replaced in the lineup by Mike Lowell on Friday. But it was just precautionary rest and Francona expects Youkilis will be back in the lineup on Saturday.

Hermida placed on DL with fractured ribs

BOSTON -- One week after his collision with teammate Adrian Beltre, Red Sox outfielder Jeremy Hermida learned that five of his left ribs were fractured. This after an MRI on Friday morning led to Hermida being placed on the disabled list.

If this whole story sounds a little familiar, it's because it is. Beltre had an eerily similar collision with Jacoby Ellsbury on April 9, and the leadoff man is currently on his second DL stint.

In both cases, Beltre's right knee powered into the left rib cage of his teammate.

"Guys have been talking -- we might have to get him on the UFC tour to see if he can take some of those knees to someone else," quipped Hermida. "But no, that's just one of those freak things, I'm sure he feels bad about it, too. It's just one of those things you can't avoid, and it's just a freak thing that I've never seen happen -- and unfortunately, it happened twice within a month and a half of each other."

The move of Hermida to the DL was part of a flurry of roster moves made by the Red Sox before Friday's game. Closer Jonathan Papelbon was activated from the bereavement/family medical emergency list. Righty reliever Joe Nelson, who had a 9.72 ERA in eight appearances, was designated for assignment. Righty reliever Scott Atchison was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Hermida had actually been reporting some improvement before learning of the fracture. The hope is that the injury won't keep him out much longer than the 15 days of his DL stint.

"I hope so, I hope so," said Hermida. "I'd like to keep that optimism throughout the whole time. I hope so. I'll just take it day by day and do as much as I can on that day, and as long as I'm not setting myself back and feeling worse the next day, I'll do as much as we possibly can every day."

Hermida missed four games following the collision, and he returned to the lineup Wednesday night. However, that was the only game he played before going on the disabled list.

"I was definitely feeling some significant pain from it, but I was willing to go through as much as I could as long as I wasn't setting myself back," Hermida said. "That's what I tried to do the other day. Unfortunately after playing the other day, it got a little bit worse, and that's when I felt the need to check it out a little more."

He admits that it is highly rare for the Red Sox to have two such collisions in the same season.

"To have that happen to two guys on the same team on the same play, saying that's a freak thing might even be an understatement," Hermida said. "I think you see that play happen a lot -- where nobody can really call it because you want to be sure you can get there -- and one guy goes high and one goes low. That's happened to me before. It's happened to almost every outfielder or corner infielder, I'm sure. Just what happened to both of us is just a freak thing. Accept it, move forward and try to do the best you can each day."

Papelbon returns to Boston's bullpen

BOSTON -- Closer Jonathan Papelbon reclaimed his seat in Boston's bullpen Friday after being away from the team the past four days to deal with a personal matter.

Papelbon knows that family comes first, but admits it wasn't easy being a spectator. His loss was felt on Thursday night when Daniel Bard couldn't convert the save in the bottom of the ninth.

"Yeah, it was [tough]," Papelbon said. "It was tough seeing it, and when you know that you have personal business that you need to take care of, which comes before anything else in your life. It's tough to see that your teammates are out there grinding it out and doing everything they can. You just wish you could be out there with them helping out. It's tough, but at the same time, you realize what's important in your life, and family comes before anything."

During Boston's four-game series in Cleveland, Papelbon came to Fenway Park and kept himself in pitching shape. He will be available if the Red Sox need him on Friday night.

"It's just like any other night," Papelbon said. "When you're put in a position where we're ahead, and I can come here and do my job, I'm always excited for that."

Righty reliever Nelson might retire

BOSTON -- With Jonathan Papelbon back on the roster on Friday, the Red Sox designated veteran righty Joe Nelson for assignment. Nelson (9.72 ERA in eight outings) admitted he knew the move was coming because of his ineffectiveness. Most recently, he gave up a grand slam to Travis Hafner in Wednesday night's loss.

"I was sitting in my chair pretty much the whole day waiting for Tito to come grab me," said Nelson. "I told him I would have done it two days ago. He was like, 'It's disappointing.' They like me as a person and like the way I go about my business, but it's about results. It's a results-oriented game, and I didn't throw good. I saw it coming. You hope it doesn't and if you don't perform, they'll find somebody who will."

The 35-year-old Nelson, a Minor League veteran who has also made 157 appearances in the Majors, said that his career might be over.

"I've got a flight at 7:15, and I'm going to Florida and in all likelihood, if I clear waivers, I've probably thrown my last pitch," Nelson said. "I don't anticipate myself going back to Pawtucket, but that's emotion talking right now and we'll probably reanalyze it when I'm not as disappointed. I had every opportunity and I didn't produce. The thought of going to Triple-A doesn't sound that great. We'll wait and see what options present themselves."