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07/22/12 12:35 PM ET

Valentine opts to rest Middlebrooks, Crawford

BOSTON -- The Red Sox had two key players out of the lineup on Sunday, as Carl Crawford and Will Middlebrooks both got a day to rest.

Middlebrooks missed the last six games before the All-Star break with a hamstring injury, then started the first nine games of the second half. Nick Punto started at third, batting ninth.

"This is a day game after a night game where it might be tested, so I don't want to test it," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine.

Crawford made his season debut on Monday and played in six straight leading up to Sunday. Daniel Nava took his place in left field, batting second.

"Yeah, Carl's going to have to some of these days [of rest] coming back and this is one of them," said Valentine.

Jacoby Ellsbury didn't play on Saturday, but Valentine thinks he'll be able to play a more rigorous schedule than Crawford.

"I don't know how much Jacoby is going to need," Valentine said. "Again, Carl didn't have Spring Training and Jacoby did. Jacoby had one [Saturday]. I don't know that he's going to need a whole bunch more."

Bailey about week away from rehab assignment

BOSTON -- Andrew Bailey, who has yet to throw a pitch for the Red Sox in a game that counts, is roughly a week away from starting a Minor League rehab assignment, according to Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine.

The righty, fresh off a solid bullpen session, will throw batting practice before Boston's game at Texas on Wednesday.

Bailey underwent right thumb surgery on April 4, the day before the season started.

Another key reliever is also on the mend. Righty Scott Atchison, who was probably the most consistent pitcher on Boston's staff in the first half, will start a Minor League rehab assignment on Friday. Atchison went on the disabled list on July 15 with tightness in his right forearm.

Valentine isn't sure where Atchison will pitch that day. Triple-A Pawtucket and Double-A Portland are both on the road on Friday, but Class A Lowell has a home game.

It sounds like Atchison should be ready to return to the roster around the time the Red Sox open their next homestand -- on July 30 against the Tigers.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.