Boston ace back even earlier than expected

BOSTON -- Boston Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez will return to the rotation on Monday, four days after he was scratched from a start with a sore throat and fever.

Martinez's next start was scheduled for Tuesday, but the Red Sox announced that he was sufficiently recovered to pitch a day earlier in the series finale against the Seattle Mariners.

The announcement was made before Sunday night's game after the clubhouse was closed, and Martinez was not available for comment.

The schedule also would put Martinez in line to face the New York Yankees on Saturday at Fenway Park. The Red Sox entered Sunday night's game 5½ games behind the Yankees in the AL East and a half-game behind the Oakland Athletics in the wild-card race.

Martinez is 9-3 with a 2.32 ERA.

Martinez missed his scheduled start Thursday when he was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with severe pharyngitis -- inflammation of the throat. He was given medication for the fever and the sore throat and spent the next two days in bed.