Dustin Pedroia set to return from DL

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox might be just a few days away from having their full lineup for the first time all season.

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said Monday that second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who is on the disabled list with a hyperextended right thumb, is on track for a return Thursday, the day he is eligible to be activated.

Valentine said Pedroia told him Monday afternoon he feels great and added that the second baseman has recently had the best batting practice sessions he's seen from him in months.

When Pedroia went on the DL earlier this month, he was expected to keep the thumb immobilized in a cast and said he expected to miss a "few weeks." He came out of the cast early and appears to have ramped up earlier than expected.

Pedroia would be the third major cog to return to the Red Sox lineup since the All-Star break. All-Star center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was back Friday and Carl Crawford will make his season debut Monday night against the Chicago White Sox.