Cameron back in Red Sox lineup

BALTIMORE -- Red Sox outfielder Mike Cameron returned to the lineup Sunday and plans to add two things.

"Sexiness and color," he said with a big smile.

He went 1-for-3 with a run while walking twice and striking out twice in the Red Sox's 11-inning loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

Cameron had not played since a three-game stretch last weekend at Fenway Park that did a number on his body, including the abdominal tear he's been dealing with for the majority of the season.

"It's going to be kind of cool," he said before the game. "I get a chance one more time to run out here and see if I can play some baseball."

Cameron is hoping he'll be able to play more consistently as long as his injury holds up. If it were up to him, he would be playing through the discomfort, but Red Sox manager Terry Francona does not want to push him.

"If you look at the list of what I've been through in baseball, being hurt is the last thing I think about," he said. "Whenever you get your brain rattled or your face broken, having a little strain or tear doesn't concern me"

Since Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre has already injured two left fielders (Jacoby Ellsbury and Jeremy Hermida) chasing after fly balls, Cameron said he plans on staying away from shallow left field.

"I told him that I will never run into him. The ball will either drop, or I'll punch him," Cameron said jokingly. "They carried me off the field on a stretcher one time and I said it would be the last time they carried me off the field."

That incident he spoke of occurred when he was playing for the Mets in August of 2005 and was involved in a nasty collision with then-teammate Carlos Beltran.

Fast forward to the present.

Francona spoke with Cameron late Saturday night and the outfielder said he was ready to play. Francona wanted to wait until Sunday morning to make a decision.

"We kind of talked about playing for the right reasons," Francona said. "I said, 'Take our equation out of it.' He's worried about us being beat up. I told him, 'If you're ready to play, that's when it's right.' He feels good and looks excited."

Both Francona and Cameron haven't figured out how it's going to work moving forward, but they'll take it a step at a time. There's also some concern if Cameron can't be effective due to the injury, he could decide to have the surgery to repair his sports hernia.

"That could be down the road, but I can't be concerned with that," Cameron said. "I'm happy about the opportunity I'm getting today."

Cameron believes he's to a point where he's comfortable enough to play, but he's also being realistic if there's another relapse.

"I've gotten two strikes already, but it's hard to say," he said. "That's a medical question that I don't have the right answer for. That's something that will come in a discussion, but to say that would be looking at it as a negative impact in my mind. I'm all about the positive and the good vibe. Can you feel it?"

Joe McDonald covers the Bruins and Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.