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09/06/08 8:07 PM ET

Aardsma, Drew face off, eye returns

Pair participates in short session on Saturday, report progress

ARLINGTON -- David Aardsma threw to hitters on Saturday, one of whom was J.D. Drew, which had manager Terry Francona interested in both ends of the matchup.

Aardsma has been on the disabled list since Aug. 23 with a strained right groin and could be sent on a rehab assignment Monday or Tuesday with Class A Lowell during the club's New York-Penn League playoffs. When he does, Francona will get a better idea of how Aardsma is throwing.

"If you want to know how hard he was throwing, I couldn't tell you, but he looked fine throwing," Francona said of Aardsma's Saturday session.

Aardsma's stuff may have been hard to judge, but the status of his groin was not.

"No twinges, no tightness, no pain at all," Aardsma said.

Aardsma pitched to Drew, Sean Casey and Jeff Bailey in a short session, but the pitcher said he planned to turn up the intensity of his sessions every time he goes out.

Aardsma sounded hopeful that he would return to Boston's bullpen sooner than later.

"It felt good," Aardsma said. "I'd love to get back out there, but that's their decision and I understand they want to be patient. I probably still have some fine-tuning to do."

As for Drew, the status of the herniated disk in his lower back is in a bit of a holding pattern.

He said he feels better than he felt on Friday, but didn't expect to return from the disabled list until the Red Sox's homestand starting Monday at the earliest.

"I hope," Drew said. "You can only do so much when your body guards against it. Mainly, it's just running at full speed that bothers me."

Francona said Drew also felt discomfort when he was batting.

"He said he still feels it, especially on balls inside," Francona said. "But he's progressing."

But with both Aardsma and Drew nursing delicate injuries, the fact that neither player suffered any setbacks had to be considered a positive.

"[Drew] swung at a couple, but it was his first time out there, too," Aardsma said. "He said he was a little tentative and I was, too, on some pitches."

Shawn Shroyer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.