CLEVELAND -- The Red Sox have signed veteran outfielder Scott Podsednik to a Major League contract, a week and a half after trading him.

At the non-waiver Trade Deadline on July 31, the Sox dealt Podsednik and reliever Matt Albers for Craig Breslow, but Arizona recently released Podsednik after he declined to accept his assignment to Triple-A Reno.

To make room for Podsednik on the active roster, the Sox will option outfielder Ryan Kalish to Triple-A Pawtucket, according to The Boston Globe.

The 36-year-old Podsednik hit .387 with a home run and seven RBIs in 19 games for the Red Sox this season. Kalish was 3-for-19 with a double in seven games since being recalled on July 31.

Papi could return to lineup this weekend

CLEVELAND -- David Ortiz told reporters earlier in the week he could return from his right Achilles injury on Sunday against the Indians. On Thursday, manager Bobby Valentine confirmed that was a possibility.

"I could see that, maybe," Valentine said. "That would be on schedule with what [the medical staff] talks about."

Ortiz did some agility work on the field before Thursday's game and also took batting practice indoors. Valentine said the designated hitter will likely run the bases on the field prior to Friday night's game, and he will be reevaluated afterward.

"Then we should know where he really is," Valentine said. "Yesterday, he said [there was no] stiffness, felt he could do a lot of things."

Ortiz hasn't played since July 16, and the Red Sox are just 9-13 in his absence. He's hitting .316 with 23 home runs and 58 RBIs in 89 games this season.

Bailey takes step forward, close to returning

CLEVELAND -- Injured reliever Andrew Bailey pitched well in back-to-back appearances for Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday and Thursday, and he may be nearing a return to the big leagues.

Bailey allowed one hit and struck out two in a scoreless inning of work on Thursday afternoon. He pitched a 1-2-3 frame and struck out one in his appearance on Wednesday. Bailey consistently worked in the low 90s on Thursday, but he touched 94 mph. He is scheduled to pitch again for Pawtucket on Sunday.

"He had good velocity," manager Bobby Valentine said of the evaluation he received. "They liked his cutter, he threw a curveball or two. ... That's pretty good."

Bailey hasn't pitched this season after suffering a right thumb injury on a freak play during Spring Training. Bailey, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the A's, was projected to be Boston's closer this season, but when he was hurt, the job went to Alfredo Aceves.

"I feel real close," Bailey told Boston radio station WEEI. "I'm just kind of going along with the process here. ... It's been a long season, and it's not over yet. We've got some ballgames to win. I can't wait to join the guys and get some W's."

In five rehab appearances for Pawtucket and Double-A Portland, Bailey has allowed only one run in five innings, while striking out nine and walking one. Valentine said he would look at the data collected during Bailey's appearances after he pitches on Sunday before making a decision on whether to call him up.

Bailey had a 3.24 ERA and 24 saves in 42 appearances for Oakland last season.

Pedroia makes first career start as designated hitter

CLEVELAND -- Manager Bobby Valentine had a hard time talking Dustin Pedroia into an off-day. Valentine thought his second baseman needed some rest. Pedroia wanted to stay in the lineup. So the two came to a compromise of sorts -- half of a day off.

For the first time in his career, Pedroia was in the lineup as the Red Sox's designated hitter for Thursday night's game against the Indians. Pedro Ciriaco was penciled in at Pedroia's spot at second base.

"About four days ago, there was a little consensus that it was time," Valentine said of resting Pedroia. "I talked to him, and he always kind of talks you out of it. Then he had a good game, and then he felt good the next day, so this is just catching up on it."

Full-time DH David Ortiz is still on the disabled list with an ailing right Achilles, so Valentine felt like this was the best time to give Pedroia a defensive day off.

"While David is not here, to make the best use of that opportunity is prudent at this time," Valentine said.

Ciriaco hasn't gotten much playing time during his stint in the big leagues, so he was kind of surprised to see his name on the lineup card, especially at second base.

"But I'll be ready to play whatever they want me to play," he said.

Worth noting

• Valentine confirmed that left-hander Franklin Morales will start Saturday's game against the Indians, and left-hander Jon Lester will go on Sunday.

• Valentine said right-handed reliever Clayton Mortensen would likely not be available Thursday night after he pitched three innings in Wednesday's 10-9 loss to Texas.

• Josh Beckett didn't have any pain in his back or shoulder after his start on Wednesday afternoon, said Valentine, who added that Beckett's legs felt strong throughout the outing.