Dustin Pedroia returns to lineup

BOSTON -- Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia emerged from the batting cage in the tunnel behind the dugout Thursday afternoon and declared himself ready to go.

"I'm back," he said.

Pedroia has been activated from the disabled list and was in the lineup and batting third against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night. Mauro Gomez was sent down to Pawtucket to make room on the roster for Pedroia.

Pedroia told ESPNBoston.com this is the best he's felt all season and doesn't see his recent thumb injury as an issue moving forward.

Now that Pedroia is back, along with outfielders Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury, all the team needs is a healthy David Ortiz and the batting order will be complete.

Ortiz, the Red Sox's designated hitter, was placed on the 15-day DL on Wednesday with a right Achilles strain. Even though he's out, Ortiz is pumped that Pedroia is back.

"It's great, man," Ortiz said. "We need him. Dustin's been going crazy and driving everybody crazy not being able to play. That kid, he loves to be on the field. He's been getting antsy and wants to go back on the field and start playing the game. Right now, especially with myself being out, and a couple of guys coming in, it's working out kind of perfect."

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was also pleased to write Pedroia's name on the lineup card again.

"I'm anxious to see him out on the diamond," Valentine said. "I'm seeing him running around the dugout the last couple of weeks, and he looks a little out of place, and I'm sure he's going to really look in place once he's standing between first and second. He's everything, so hopefully he'll bring it all tonight."

On Thursday, Pedroia, who last played July 3, was 1-for-4 with a single and scored in the ninth inning on Cody Ross' three-run home run, which gave Boston a 3-1 walk-off win over the White Sox. For the season, Pedrioa is hitting .265 with six homers and 33 RBIs.

The Red Sox also received positive news regarding Ortiz, who admitted being frustrated over his injury but remained optimistic about returning as soon as he is eligible to be activated from the DL.

"I've been feeling better every day," Ortiz said. "I'm less sore. I'm going to be fine.

"I'll wait to get better and come back to action. I just want to make sure I get the best of the best out of it and make sure I'm back on the field as fast as I can."