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07/25/10 8:19 PM ET

Red Sox likely to activate Victor on Monday

Left thumb tests out; backstop should see action vs. Angels

SEATTLE -- Their offense struggling to score of late, the Red Sox will likely get slugger Victor Martinez back in the lineup on Monday night in Anaheim.

The final test came in the late innings of Sunday's game, when Martinez warmed up Boston relievers in the bullpen. Martinez felt no ill effects with his injured left thumb, and he should be behind the plate when Clay Buchholz pitches the opener of a three-game series against the Angels. The club will make the move official on Monday.

"I actually think he's probably going to be ready," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said before Sunday's game. "It seems kind of silly to make the decision today. He's going to catch some more guys and if he comes in and says, 'Hey, I'm hurting,' we're not going to do it. I think all things point to him being ready to go."

For a Boston team that entered Sunday scoring four runs or fewer in 10 of the last 11 games, this is welcome news.

For Sunday's game, Francona tried to liven up his offense by putting J.D. Drew in the No. 2 hole.

"Just trying to, you know, get some guys on base hopefully for the guys in the middle of the order," said Francona.

Francona appreciates Red Sox's character

SEATTLE -- Whether it is Jason Varitek hopping into the dugout on crutches, or Dustin Pedroia sitting on a folding chair outside the batting cage so he can watch batting practice with his walking boot on, Red Sox manager Terry Francona is full of appreciation for the character of his team.

"They've all been good," said Francona. "I don't think people realize how extraordinary what we have going here is. You don't see this. I've been a lot of places. You don't see guys standing around the cage in a chair. You don't see guys on crutches trying to play. It doesn't happen. This is an extraordinary group right now. Sometimes I think that gets lost. It's amazing."

For Francona, it makes coming to work every day more enjoyable.

"It makes me love my job," Francona said. "It's not always very easy. [There are] some nights where you come in, like last night, with your heart broken. It's a good feeling. It's hard to explain. When you lose, it like, rips your heart out. You bounce back, and to do it with guys that you know care means a lot. The losses hurt more when teams care. But that's a good way to do it."

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