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07/28/10 9:59 PM ET

V-Mart talks his way into Boston's lineup

Backstop plays in third consecutive game since being activated

ANAHEIM -- So much for Victor Martinez's scheduled day off on Wednesday afternoon. When the Red Sox were in the midst of their conga line victory handshakes following Tuesday night's victory, Martinez pulled manager Terry Francona aside and told him he badly wanted to play the finale of this 10-game road trip against the Angels.

Martinez was so intent on it that he mentioned it again to Francona in the clubhouse after the game and reiterated that desire Wednesday morning.

With J.D. Drew out of the lineup with a left hamstring strain, Francona was pleased how badly Martinez wanted to play. And there the catcher was, batting fifth.

The reason Francona was going to hold Martinez out initially is because he just returned on Monday after being on the disabled list for a month.

"I feel good," said Martinez. "I think I've had plenty of off-days. Like I say, it's not fun to watch the game from the bench. I just want to be part of it and I'm just trying to help the team somehow. I just want to play no matter what."

Francona was not one to argue. Not with his team entering the day seven games behind the Yankees in the American League East and five in back of the Rays in the AL Wild Card standings.

"With J.D.'s bat not in the lineup, it's nice to have that bat," Francona said.

Papelbon, Bard get day off in Anaheim

ANAHEIM -- The Red Sox had a daunting task for Wednesday afternoon. They were hoping to win the finale of their three-game series in Anaheim without their two most trusted relievers -- Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard.

Before Wednesday's game, manager Terry Francona said his 1-2 punch would not be available in any situation. The Red Sox are off on Thursday, so both key righties will be fresh when the club opens a homestand against the Tigers on Friday night.

Papelbon notched a four-out save on Monday and also earned the save Tuesday night. Bard recorded two outs on Tuesday night, and he had pitched in six of the previous 10 days.

"We used Bard, Pap, kind of hoping that we would win that game [Tuesday]," said Francona. "Knowing that, with the quick turnaround, we would stay away from them today and would have tomorrow off. [It's] a little bit of a gamble, but when you win, it helps."

As for available closing candidates for Wednesday, Francona didn't have an obvious candidate. It would probably be Manny Delcarmen, Ramon Ramirez or Hideki Okajima, depending on matchups.

Drew's injury doesn't appear serious

ANAHEIM -- The left hamstring strain that kept J.D. Drew out of Boston's lineup for the past two games of the three-game series at Anaheim does not appear serious.

Drew was examined by the Angels' medical staff on Wednesday, and the early diagnosis is encouraging.

"Yeah, [it's a] very mild hamstring [strain]," manager Terry Francona said after Boston's 7-3 victory. "When I say mild, they didn't see any bleeding, which is real good. Now again, the disc or whatever, we sent it to [Red Sox medical director] Tom [Gill] and those guys back in Boston, but the preliminary reports are very encouraging."

The Red Sox are off on Thursday. Francona isn't sure if Drew will be back in the lineup on Friday night for the start of a homestand against the Tigers.

"I don't know," Francona said. "I think it all goes on how he feels. I just don't know. Hopefully he'll come back and feel good tomorrow and has a day off and everything, but I really don't know. We can just go on what they say. The MRI looks very encouraging, but if it hurts, you have to wait."

Worth noting

Mike Lowell continues to pound the baseball in his rehab for Triple-A Pawtucket. One day after belting three homers, Lowell came back with a double, a homer and three RBIs on Wednesday. Manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Epstein will huddle on Thursday to discuss when Lowell will be activated ... Though outfielder Jeremy Hermida has struggled at the plate since being activated, Francona said he is feeling fine. ... Bill Hall got the start at second base Wednesday, with Jed Lowrie getting a rest. ... Jacoby Ellsbury will play nine innings in the Gulf Coast League on Thursday and perhaps be moved to Pawtucket after that. ... Just minutes before game-time, the Red Sox learned that they were facing Scot Shields, normally a reliever, instead of right-hander Joel Pineiro, who was scratched with a left oblique strain.

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