BOSTON -- Zach Stewart took the mound on Tuesday afternoon and got in three innings of simulated work against teammates, helping him tune up for his next start, which is expected to be Sunday in Baltimore.

"He hasn't pitched in a game since Sept. 5," said manager Bobby Valentine. "He's been throwing bullpen [sessions], so he threw today to some hitters, three innings. Felt good. Looked good. Looked really good."

There was nothing good about the first time Stewart pitched for the Red Sox. That game took place in Anaheim on Aug. 29, and the righty produced one of the worst debuts in team history, giving up 10 hits and nine runs over three-plus innings.

Stewart was the prospect the Red Sox got from the White Sox in return for Kevin Youkilis back in June.

He will have a chance to redeem himself in Baltimore.

"Oh, absolutely," said Valentine. "I didn't want that to be his only taste of pitching for the Red Sox."

Ellsbury still sidelined, but could return Wednesday

BOSTON -- For the fifth consecutive game, manager Bobby Valentine produced a lineup card that did not include Jacoby Ellsbury.

However, the nagging injury that has kept the center fielder out of the mix the last few days seems to be subsiding, and Ellsbury could be back in there as soon as Wednesday night's Fenway finale against the Rays.

"He felt good enough to play, and then the training room thought another day would be best, so he's doing fine," said Valentine.

At the request of Ellsbury, Valentine hasn't publicly disclosed what the injury is. Ellsbury had been bothered by a groin issue in August, so it could be a recurrence of that.

"It's not a big injury," Valentine said. "It's just something we don't want to get any worse -- that's for sure."'

Does Valentine expect to have Ellsbury back for Wednesday's game?

"Well, I'm not going to make out the lineup now, but he's close to playing, yeah," Valentine said.

Che-Hsuan Lin got the start in center on Tuesday, his second career start. Lin also started a game for Boston on May 21 in Baltimore. Known for his defense, Lin made a spectacular catch -- one of the highlight-reel plays of the season for Boston -- on May 23 when he came in as a defensive replacement at Camden Yards.

Bard simulates an inning, should pitch again in '12

BOSTON -- Considering how Daniel Bard has allowed a run in each of his five outings since his return from the Minors, few eyebrows would be raised if the righty didn't pitch again in 2012.

However, neither Bard nor the Red Sox are thinking along those lines.

Prior to Tuesday's game against the Rays, Bard threw a simulated inning.

"Daniel threw an inning. Had a little blister, it looked like, when he came off. He needed [the work]," said manager Bobby Valentine. "He hasn't thrown in a little while."

Bard's last outing was Wednesday against the Rays, when he was touched up for one hit and three runs while walking three in just one-third of an inning.

Both the Red Sox and Bard would like for him to pitch again in a game so he can perhaps get a little better taste in his mouth going into the winter.

"I really would, yeah -- and I know he wants to pitch," said Valentine.