Red Sox retool rotation for Yanks series

BOSTON -- With the luxury of off days Thursday and Monday, Red Sox manager Terry Francona has been able to rework his starting rotation so that his top three will be facing the Yankees in New York next week.

Jon Lester, who will be pitching on seven days' rest, will open the series next Tuesday night. He will be followed by Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett, each of whom will be pitching on their normal four days of rest.

In another bit of rotation news, the Red Sox are hoping to plug John Lackey back into a spot for Sunday in the homestand finale against Oakland. Lackey, on the disabled list since May 16 because of elbow woes, threw a rehab start for Pawtucket on Tuesday night. He went 5 2/3 innings, allowing three hits and one run.

If all goes well and Lackey returns to Boston's rotation, either Alfredo Aceves or Tim Wakefield will leave the rotation and return to the bullpen. Francona said the decision hasn't been made yet as to which pitcher would go back to the bullpen.

Aceves, who started Tuesday night's game against the White Sox, and Wakefield, who will pitch Wednesday's matinee against Chicago, have each been pitching well in replacing Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka (elbow) in the rotation.

Matsuzaka, meanwhile, was to examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Red Sox manager Terry Francona said after Tuesday night's loss that "there is nothing new diagnostically" to report on Matsuzaka's condition.

Francona said that Dice-K would be flying back to Boston on Wednesday, but indicated it's possible Matsuzaka wouldn't be around during the day game the Red Sox and White Sox will be playing.

When he does arrive, Matsuzaka and the medical staff will meet to "go over everything and try to get a better handle on where to go, how to go and the timing of it," said Francona without elaborating.

Infielder Marco Scutaro (oblique) has been cleared to resume baseball activities and may be sent out on a rehab stint beginning this weekend if all goes well, Francona said.

Shortstop Jed Lowrie was back in the starting lineup after missing Monday night's game because of a stiff left shoulder.

Steven Krasner is a regular contributor to ESPNBoston.com.