Three years ago, when David Ortiz was enmeshed in a staggering slump to open the season, his relationship with his age and time started to assume an ominous prominence.

Was time catching up to him? At 33, was he done as an elite hitter?



The Blue Jays battered the Red Sox for nine runs on 13 hits, including three home runs, en route to a rain-delayed 9-6 victory at Fenway Park. The Red Sox dropped back into a tie with Toronto for last place in the stacked American League East with the loss, just the team's second in the last nine games.

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said that Josh Beckett, who threw a bullpen session on Monday afternoon, could return from the disabled list as soon as Friday, depending on how he feels on Tuesday.

Beckett landed on the DL with right shoulder inflammation on June 16 (retroactive to June 12), and so he would be eligible to come off the DL as soon as June 27 (Wednesday). Valentine said that he was reluctant to have the pitcher make his first start on the first day of a West Coast road trip, but that he might be a consideration for a start on Friday in Seattle.

Free agent outfielder Marlon Byrd was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Byrd was released by the Sox earlier this month. 

The Red Sox acquired Byrd from the Cubs on April 21 in exchange for Michael Bowden, but his struggles at the plate made him expendable when Daisuke Matsuzaka was ready to be activated. After hitting .270/.286/.320 with one homer and seven runs batted in over 34 games, the Sox released him on June 12. 

Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks was named the American League player of the week Monday. 

Middlebrooks, 23, went 10-for-16 with three homers, three doubles and 11 runs batted over the six-game span. He played Sunday's game as the team's designated hitter, but the trade of Kevin Youkilis allows for him to be the team's every day third baseman. 

On the season, Middlebrooks is hitting .326/.365/.583 with nine homers and 34 RBI.

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Mike Aviles, who has played all but one game this year for the Red Sox, will get a rare day out of the starting lineup against the Blue Jays and starter Henderson Alvarez. In his place, Nick Punto will get the start.

Felix Doubront (8-3, 4.31 ERA) will aim for a team-high ninth victory. He's 1-0 with a 4.31 ERA in two starts this year against Toronto.

For complete batter vs. pitcher matchups, click here.

The emergence of Will Middlebrooks was a major factor in the Red Sox trading Kevin Youkilis, as the three-time All-Star was shipped to the White Sox Sunday in exchange for Brent Lillibridge, Zach Stewart and cash considerations. Middlebrooks, batting .326 with nine home runs and 26 RBI this season, weighed in on Youkilis on Twitter late Sunday night.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington was a guest of the Dennis & Callahan show on Monday morning, a day after the Sox traded Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox in exchange for Zach Stewart and Brent Lillibridge. Cherington said that the Sox were not looking to deal the veteran infielder -- the subject of countless recent trade rumors -- until late last week.

David Ortiz sat slumped in front of his locker late Sunday afternoon, not exactly portraying the picture of a player whose team had won a rousing 9-4 win over the Braves.



After the Red Sox' 9-4 win over the Braves, David Ortiz -- the only current member of the Red Sox to play with Kevin Youkilis for the infielder's entire career -- talked to WEEI.com about the difficulty of seeing Youkilis traded to the White Sox Sunday.

"It was emotional," Ortiz said. "He's my boy. I've been playing with Youk forever. To see him go like that is not easy. It's part of the game. It's like I told him, 'Go out and do your thing.' "