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09/09/08 8:32 PM ET

Time is running out for Lugo to return

Shortstop dedicated in rehab, but setback may be too much

BOSTON -- Julio Lugo continues to break a sweat each day and do everything in his power to rehab his troublesome left quad, which was severely strained on July 11.

As dedicated as Lugo has been, what it boils down to is that time is growing short for the Red Sox's shortstop.

The setback that occurred during an innocuous workout in mid-August might have been the dagger that ended Lugo's 2008 season.

No determination has been made yet, but the calendar shows less than three weeks to go in the season.

"He's got a ways to go," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "This is kind of fighting an uphill battle. It's not getting any easier, and that's not because of his effort. His effort's been great. It's getting a little tight. I think we knew that when he had the setback."

Rookie shortstop Jed Lowrie has decreased the impact of Lugo's injury by playing solid baseball offensively and defensively.

While Lugo's chances of returning this season seem iffy at best, right fielder J.D. Drew should be back in the lineup in the near future.

The left-handed-hitting Drew, sidelined since Aug. 17 with a lower back strain, could return to the lineup within the next couple of days.

"I don't know," said Francona. "I think we're getting close. Today, we don't go [outdoors for batting practice]. That doesn't help. I would be surprised if he doesn't play a game here pretty soon."

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