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09/08/08 7:22 PM ET

Drew activated before Sox face Rays

Outfielder could be eased back into action with lefty on deck

BOSTON -- The recent return to health of the Red Sox continued on Monday, when right fielder J.D. Drew was activated prior to a pivotal three-game series against the Rays.

Drew did participate in batting practice and outfield drills, but he didn't start. With nasty lefty Scott Kazmir pitching for Tampa Bay on Tuesday, it's possible Drew won't be in the lineup until Wednesday, when the Red Sox face Andy Sonnanstine.

The left-handed-hitting Drew last played for the Red Sox on Aug. 17, when he suffered a strained lower back.

After the Red Sox acquired Mark Kotsay from the Braves, there was less urgency to rush Drew.

Kotsay made the start in right field Monday night and led off for the first time since joining the Red Sox on Aug. 27.

Drew was one of three roster additions for the Red Sox. Catcher George Kottaras and infielder/outfielder Chris Carter were promoted from Triple-A Pawtucket, giving manager Terry Francona a 32-man roster.

Kottaras is the fourth catcher, so his playing time figures to be minimal. In a way, his promotion had more to do with development than helping the 2008 Red Sox.

"In most instances, you're not going to use four catchers in a game," said Francona. "I certainly understand that. But I think with [catching instructor] Gary Tuck here, it gives him three weeks to spend with George, which I think is exciting. How he gets into games or if he gets into games, I really don't know that part of it. Hopefully it will be a very good work situation."

Kottaras was acquired by the Red Sox on Aug. 31, 2006, in a trade for David Wells.

Depending on what happens with free agent catcher Jason Varitek, Kottaras could factor into the team's plans for next season.

What kind of reports did Francona get on the 25-year-old catcher's development?

"Pretty good," Francona said. "He's hit some home runs. He's running the game. He's improving on that aspect of the game, which they wanted him to -- his leadership. It will be fun to watch him, even if it's working in the bullpen with Tuck. It's an exciting time for him."

As for Carter, he had a brief stint for the Red Sox earlier this season, going 2-for-3 in his lone appearance.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.