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8/19/2013 10:50 P.M. ET

Red Sox roll with unusual travel schedule

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Red Sox didn't finish their Sunday night game against the Yankees until after midnight ET.

By 9 a.m. Monday, they were back at Fenway Park packing onto the bus for a cross-country flight that departed Logan Airport at 10:20.

After landing in San Francisco at about 1 p.m. PT on Monday, most Sox players took a bus straight to AT&T Park for the 7:15 game against the Giants. Six or seven players went to the hotel first.

Such was the unique circumstance presented for the Red Sox by having a Sunday night game in Boston, followed by a game in San Francisco the next night.

"It's kind of all just a blur from last night," said third baseman Will Middlebrooks. "It's all kind of just meshed together. Got about four hours sleep, jumped on the plane, tried to get a little bit of sleep on the plane."

Middlebrooks was with the much more crowded bus that went straight from the airport to the ballpark.

"We had plenty of time to relax here," said Middlebrooks.

When faced with the same travel logistics in the past, the Sox had spent the entire night flying rather than going out on the day of the game.

Manager John Farrell was a big proponent of the modified travel plan because he still remembers the experience the Red Sox had in 2007 when they had a Sunday night game against the Yankees followed by a game in Oakland the following night.

"It's a little bit different because you're traveling the day of the game, but we went through a similar schedule situation coming out to Oakland, and for three days we walked around feeling it," Farrell said. "We wanted to avoid that. Thankfully the Red Sox organization took on an added expense to address what we felt was a pressing need."

Monday starter Jon Lester flew to San Francisco a day early, along with Tuesday starter Jake Peavy and catcher David Ross, who was activated from the disabled list.

Red Sox get valuable piece back in Ross

SAN FRANCISCO -- Monday was a big day for backup catcher David Ross, as he was back on Boston's roster for the first time in over two months.

Ross suffered his second concussion of the season June 14 and went through a lengthy recovery.

The Red Sox were thrilled to have him back, given his status as a highly respected clubhouse figure and a solid catcher.

"He's a guy that has handled our pitchers very well. He brings a lot of energy to our clubhouse, to the dugout," said manager John Farrell. "He's got a lot of history here in the National League with the teams we're going to go up against. He's a guy we had the intention catching a lot of games for us, and unfortunately the two concussions have limited that. Thankfully he's gotten past those and is 100 percent ready to go. I think the 16 or 18 at-bats he had at Triple-A is getting him back in the flow of things. We're excited to have him back here with us, active."

Ross will likely start Tuesday's game against the Giants. His return should enable Jarrod Saltalamacchia to get some more rest.

"He's leading our team in doubles right now," Farrell said of Saltalmacchia. "He's made consistent progress from the right side of the plate, particularly of late against some lefties, and he's handled both sides of the game very well. There was a lot of talk about 'How much can he endure? What's his endurance behind the plate?' Offensively, it hasn't dragged him down one bit. He's been very much in the flow of everything we've done."

To make room for Ross on the roster, the Red Sox optioned Ryan Lavarnway back to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Villarreal joins Red Sox; De La Rosa back to Pawtucket

SAN FRANCISCO -- In need of a fresh arm for the bullpen, the Red Sox summoned right-hander Brayan Villarreal from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Villarreal was acquired from the Tigers as part of the three-team trade that brought Jake Peavy to Boston.

After coming off the disabled list, Villarreal pitched twice for Pawtucket, converting one save and not giving up a run.

"Given what we've gone through the last couple of nights out of the bullpen, we needed a guy that had some ability to pitch a couple of innings -- a fresh arm," said manager John Farrell. "Villarreal over the last couple of outings at Pawtucket has started to throw the ball consistent with where he was a couple of years ago. The thumb issue he dealt with in the past is behind him. It's a power arm that's got some success in the big leagues."

To make room for Villarreal, Rubby De La Rosa was sent back to Pawtucket.

"Rubby going down is more a matter of getting a fresh arm here," said Farrell.

Worth noting

• First baseman Mike Napoli was out of the lineup for a third straight game with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Farrell hopes he'll be ready to go Tuesday.

• With the addition of Xander Bogaerts to the roster and the demotion of utility infielder Brock Holt, the Red Sox don't have a backup second baseman behind Dustin Pedroia. Farrell said that Will Middlebrooks would play that spot in the event of an emergency.

• Farrell doesn't mind managing under National League rules for the next six games. Pinch-hitting for the starting pitcher can take the difficulty out of the decision-making.

"I think there are times in the American League you've got to know your personnel better on how much left they have, particularly a starter in those middle innings," Farrell said. "I'm not saying this is easier here but there's things that become a little more clear that direct your decisions."

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.