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KC@TB: Hellickson holds Royals to one in season debut

Jeremy Hellickson has started two times since making his first Major League start of the season on July 8. Those two starts, however, came in the Minors.

Hellickson (0-0) allowed one earned run in 4 1/3 innings in a Rays win against the Royals before getting optioned to the Minors to get a couple starts on regular rest while the Rays were on the All-Star break. On Saturday, he'll try to help Tampa Bay extend its season-best eight-game winning streak.

"I felt great last game. I feel good now. I think it was very beneficial to go down there and keep throwing," Hellickson said. "I wanted to go down there and just work on my command a little bit, and I think I accomplished that."

Boston will send John Lackey (11-6) to the mound as the Sox try to climb back into the playoff picture.

Neither team is quite in the hunt yet -- they occupy the bottom two spots in the American League East -- which makes the series important for both teams to try for a late-season push.

"Animosity? I don't know that that word comes to mind," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We've got to get back on the right track ourselves and it's always been a very competitive series against Tampa. We respect them. I would think that feeling is in return. We're looking forward to three strongly-played games here this weekend."

Rays: Myers takes first swings since injuring wrist
Wil Myers has started swinging a bat for the first time since fracturing his right wrist against the Red Sox in May.

The Tampa Bay outfielder took swings on Thursday, alternating between a "Shelty Stick," his bat and a lighter fungo bat. A day later, he hit off a tee with a fungo bat.

"When I first got my cast off, I could barely move my wrist and now I was able to hit off the tee today with the fungo," Myers said. "Still has some soreness in it, but I guess that's to be expected right now."

The next step is taking coach's batting practice, which will happen in the near future. Myers hasn't played since May 30 and still thinks he's on track for a mid-August return.

Red Sox: Ortiz doesn't need day off
Despite a nagging back injury, David Ortiz started for Boston against Tampa in Friday's series opener.

"He called me once we got to the hotel and said, 'Make sure you don't count me out for tomorrow quite yet,'" Farrell said.

Ortiz exited Thursday's loss to the Blue Jays due to back spasms. He went 1-for-4 with an RBI single on Friday.

Worth noting
• Tampa manager Joe Maddon said on Friday that rehabbing catcher Ryan Hanigan, who is on the disabled list with a left oblique strain, is nearing a return, but he doesn't yet have a specific date targeted. Hanigan did some catching and baserunning drills Friday afternoon and caught starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi's bullpen session.

• Boston would rather not have outfielder Shane Victorino playing on turf during his entire first week off the DL, but he's passed every test so far and could play on Saturday despite playing the day before.

"We'll look at tomorrow and see where we are," Farrell said on Friday. "It's a unique scheduling thing."

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