After going through a series of running tests for over 10 minutes and taking live batting practice on Thursday afternoon at Fenway Park, David Ortiz is on schedule to make his return on Friday against the Royals, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine announced Thursday afternoon. Ortiz has been on the disabled list since July 17 with an injured right Achilles, suffered while running the bases on an Adrian Gonzalez homer the night before.

Bobby Valentine came out swinging today at critics who say the Red Sox embarrassed themselves by having only four player representatives at the funeral for legend Johnny Pesky on Monday morning. Midway through his pre-game press briefing with reporters, Valentine was asked what he thought of only four players attending the funeral services.  

"I think it's very insulting to the family, the Pesky family, for people to be thinking an organization that loved him so much did anything other than the right thing. That's my answer to that," Valentine said. 

Speaking on the Dennis & Callahan Show Thursday morning, Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino defended the players who did not attend Johnny Pesky's funeral. The Boston Herald reported Thursday that only four players were in attendance. 

Former Red Sox infielder Alex Cora joined Kirk Minihane and Rob Bradford Thursday to express his surprise that only four Red Sox attended the funeral of Johnny Pesky on Monday. 

According to the Boston Herald, only four Red Sox players attended Johnny Pesky's funeral on Monday in Swampscott. 

The report states that the Red Sox hired buses to take players and other team staff from Fenway Park to the church, but that only David Ortiz, Clay Buchholz, Vicente Padilla and Jarrod Saltalamacchia were spotted at the funeral. 

Red Sox CEO/president Larry Lucchino, in an appearance on the Dennis & Callahan Show, discussed the reasons for the dismissal on Monday of pitching coach Bob McClure. Lucchino focused on the struggles of the pitching staff (the team has a 4.32 ERA that ranks 23rd in the majors, with the rotation now carrying a 4.89 ERA that is 26th in the big leagues).

History lesson: The Red Sox have made one white-flag trade since 1998, a move that signaled that they had given up on the season. That came on Aug. 31, 2006, when the team looked in the mirror, saw no hope of contending and dealt left-hander David Wells to the Padres for catcher George Kottaras.

Clay Buchholz was tagged for seven runs and a season-high 12 hits as the Angels handed the Red Sox their third straight loss, 7-3, Wednesday night at Fenway Park. Buchholz, who has been the clear ace of the Red Sox staff this season, gave up seven runs for the second time this season and the first time since allowing eighth hits and seven runs in his first start of the season on April 8 in Detroit.  

Asked about his reaction to the 50-game suspension handed out to Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon on Wednesday, Bobby Valentine gave insight to how he feels players in the clubhouse should best be handled by the field manager. 

One game after experimenting with Jacoby Ellsbury in the third spot in the lineup, the Sox will move Ellsbury to second with Dustin Pedroia back hitting third as they face the Angels at Fenway Park. Scott Podsednik is back in left field and Ryan Lavarnway will handle the DH duties. Here's the rest of the lineup behind Clay Buchholz:

Podsednik LF
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ross RF
Saltalamacchia C
Lavarnway DH
Aviles SS
Ciriaco 3B