Erik Bedard to start on Thursday

BOSTON -- Newly acquired left-hander Erik Bedard will make his first Red Sox start on Thursday at Fenway Park against the Cleveland Indians.

Manager Terry Francona laid out his starting rotation through the Red Sox's next off day (Aug. 11), saying the team would use six starters for the time being.

John Lackey is starting against the Indians on Monday night, followed by Josh Beckett on Tuesday, Tim Wakefield on Wednesday and Bedard on Thursday. Jon Lester has been pushed back a day in order to face the New York Yankees on Friday. Lackey will go on Saturday against New York followed by Beckett on Sunday.

Bedard, who recently spent time on the disabled list with a knee injury, will be limited to 75-80 pitches on Thursday, with Andrew Miller in the bullpen in order to piggyback Bedard if needed, Francona said. If Miller's not needed on Thursday, he'll start on Monday in Minnesota. If Miller does throw on Thursday, he'll be pushed back until Aug. 9 in Minnesota.

"We'll get to that off day and we'll probably mix and match and see what puts us in the best position, but for the time being they can all use an extra day," Francona said.

Francona said he spoke with Bedard a little on Sunday and told him what he should expect with the Red Sox.

"He was terrific and said he was looking forward to it," Francona explained. "We talked about his day to pitch so he can get himself settled. We're looking forward to getting him going. The one thing we have to recognize is that he hasn't pitched a lot in the last month, so we've got to kind of get him ramped up and get the most out of him.

"It's been explained to me that he could wake up at 3 in the morning and spin his breaking ball. He's also done it in the American League East. I've seen what he's done to us, so we're excited."

Francona said that Bedard's knee is not an issue, but because of his recent return from the DL, the Red Sox are prepared. Bedard pitched just 1 1/3 innings in his only start since being activated.

"If he doesn't have a good first start, the people in uniform and Theo, we're smart enough to know that it may take a couple of starts because he hasn't pitched that much," Francona said.

"The quicker he gets comfortable here I think it's easier, and the best way to get comfortable is to throw well.

"I think our clubhouse is an easy place to come in to. I've been in a lot of clubhouses and ours is pretty easy. The personalities in there, they do a good job. Once you walk in you're one of us. It doesn't take very long."

Bedard, traded from Seattle to Boston in a three-team deal just before the non-waiver trade deadline Sunday, is expected to join the Red Sox on Tuesday.

In a pair of moves on Sunday, Boston first sent minor league right-handers Stephen Fife and Juan Rodriguez and catcher Tim Federowicz to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for outfielder Trayvon Robinson. The Red Sox then traded Robinson to the Mariners with Double-A outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang for Bedard and Josh Fields.

Boston had acquired right-hander Rich Harden from Oakland last Saturday night, but the deal fell through when the Red Sox reviewed his medical records.

Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.