CHICAGO -- Despite a slow start to the season offensively, Jonny Gomes has still managed to be a key contributor for the Red Sox in his first few weeks with the team.
With aggressive baserunning, timely defensive plays or subtle things like a game-winning sacrifice fly, Gomes has been a key ingredient -- and that's without even mentioning his strong personality in the clubhouse.
"He's been involved in something all the time," said manager John Farrell. "In his current situation, I think the [.190] batting average is a little misleading. I look at the on-base [percentage]. He gets on base. He's got a high number of walks, and it's been both against righties and lefties -- even though his career strength is against left-handed pitching.
"But he finds himself in the middle of some kind of rally. He'll break up a double play at second base. I think he brings a little bit of an intangible and an edge to his game that you feel, and that plays out on the field. He's done what we expected in this role, and we know based on track record, those performance numbers will start to come into line a little bit more as we get deeper into the season."
The beauty of a player like Gomes is that he knows his role and he's not going to complain about it -- and he's ready for any situation.
"It's like saying you're taking a young starting pitcher and trying to transition him to the big leagues," Farrell said. "There's a transition that a young everyday player goes through to become a role player so they understand their routine, what works well for them, particularly mentally, when you're going to sit for a couple of days and know that when your time is coming or sense it. And you prepare for that. It's invaluable."
Bailey won't be overused in return to closer's role
CHICAGO -- As excited as the Red Sox are to have Andrew Bailey back in the bullpen -- the closer was activated for Monday's game with the White Sox -- manager John Farrell will be careful not to overuse him at the outset.
At least for the next few days, don't expect Bailey to pitch on back-to-back days, or three times in a four-day span.
Bailey will move right back into the closer's role and is expected to pitch the ninth if a save situation presents itself.
"Well, he makes our bullpen better," said Farrell. "Everyone will slot back in to a similar role that they've had when Andrew was still with us before the injury, so he'll go back into the closer's role. We will have to monitor just the workload and whether back-to-back is a good thing for him right now. That will all be a day-to-day situation."
After his one-game Minor League rehab stint, Bailey was excited to be back. He last pitched for the Red Sox on April 28 before being shut down with a right biceps strain.
"Obviously this is where you want to be -- healthy and with the team," said Bailey. "I'm just looking forward to being back out there."
Though Bailey understands why the Red Sox might be a little conservative at first, he feels ready to take on a standard workload.
"I feel 100 percent, ready to go," Bailey said. "If there were any issues, I wouldn't be here. That's behind me. I got the one outing in and feel ready to go."
Farrell feels for Oklahoma City community
CHICAGO -- The powerful tornado that hit just outside of Oklahoma City on Monday saddened manager John Farrell, who played and coached at Oklahoma State.
"Yeah, it's a tragedy when you see a national disaster like that take place," said Farrell. "People are certainly affected -- if not directly by injury or possibly by loss of life."
The situation brought back memories for Farrell, who was living in Oklahoma during a similarly powerful tornado in 1999.
"Having been through something similar back in  that had very similar damage, it's a scary situation," Farrell said. "Our thoughts are with all the people affected."
Ross making strides in recovery from concussion
CHICAGO -- By Monday, Red Sox catcher David Ross had made significant progress in his recovery from a concussion. In fact, he could be ready to be activated in a few days.
The Red Sox return to Fenway Park on Thursday for the start of a homestand, and that's the soonest Ross would return.
"He was cleared by the impact testing -- symptoms have resolved. He threw today," said manager John Farrell. "He rode a bike for 30 minutes -- no repeat of symptoms. We'll look to repeat the intensity of the work tomorrow, so he's turning the corner. So baseball activities will start to come into play a little bit more. By the end of this road trip, what we've got to figure out is whether it's better off for him to go get a game or two just to see some game speed. He's moving in the right direction."
Ryan Lavarnway has been holding down the fort as Jarrod Salatalmacchia's backup during the absence of Ross.
• For a couple of members of the Red Sox, Monday night represented a homecoming. Boston pitching coach Juan Nieves was the bullpen coach for the White Sox the last five seasons, and a member of their organization for the last 14 years. He has earned rave reviews early in the season with Boston.
"It's not surprising. He's a good communicator, positive, and he's very intelligent," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Nieves. "He just has a good way of relaying information, having been there before. Even for us, we had a lot of rookie guys out in the bullpen thriving with him, so it's not a surprise to us that he's doing well."
It was also a reunion of sorts for Red Sox right-hander Ryan Dempster, who pitched across town for the Cubs from 2004-12.
• Shortstop Stephen Drew was back in the Boston lineup after missing two games with back stiffness.
"He was ready and available yesterday in an emergency off the bench," said Farrell. "Less stiffness today, so we fully expect him to be full go."
• The increasingly popular Futures at Fenway game will return on July 27. The Portland Sea Dogs will play the Harrisburg Senators in a noon ET contest.
Tickets go on sale this Wednesday at noon at redsox.com.
For the first time at Fenway Park, fans can bring their dogs to the ballpark (free of charge). Sections of the seating bowl will be available to owners and their pets where rest areas, water bowls and activities will be provided. There will also be a photo station for dogs and their owners and the opportunity to participate in a pregame dog parade around the warning track.