ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Fans are worried.

They are worried about the Red Sox. They are worried about the team's bullpen. And, perhaps most of all, they are worried about Daniel Bard.



ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Following the Red Sox' 6-5 loss to the Rays, Sox manager Terry Francona said that reliever Hideki Okajima was unavailable due to a bad back he has been battling. Francona noted that the lefty threw a bullpen session Monday and should be available for duty Tuesday. Okajima declined the opportunity to talk to the media following the Sox' loss. The Red Sox used Ramon Ramirez in what might have been Okajima's spot Monday night, leading into set-up man Daniel Bard.

After jumping out to a four-run lead after four innings, Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Red Sox let the Rays creep back into the series-opener at Tropicana Field Monday night with two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings. Tampa Bay would come all the way back when reliever Ramon Ramirez allowed back-to-back singles to begin the seventh inning, ultimately resulting in a Jason Bartlett game-winning sacrifice fly to give the hosts a 6-5 win over the Sox. Highlighting the Red Sox' offense were two home runs from Eric Patterson.

In his first game in roughly four months, Red Sox infielder Jed Lowrie went 1-for-2 with a single and two walks for the Lowell Spinners of the Single-A Short-Season New York-Penn League in the first game of his rehab assignment. Lowrie batted third and served as the designated hitter for the Spinners.

 

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Josh Beckett will take another step toward pitching again on Tuesday, when he throws to Gulf Coast League hitters in his first rehab assignment since going on the 15-day disabled list on May 19 with a bad back.



Heading into Monday night's series opener with the Rays, Kevin Youkilis led the American League in runs (64). He was third in on-base percentage and fourth in slugging.



KIRK MINIHANE

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Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis trails Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher in voting for the 34th spot on the American League All-Star team, according to MLB.com. The other candidates for the spot -- which will be determined by fan voting on MLB.com -- are Rangers third baseman Michael Young, White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko and Twins left fielder Delmon Young.

 

ST. PETERSBURG -- Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, who was named to the American League All-Star team on Sunday, said that he would take part in the Home Run Derby during All-Star Weekend if asked by Major League Baseball.

 

"If they ask me, I probably will," said Ortiz.

 

Ortiz last participated in the Home Run Derby in 2006, when he made it to the second round of competition. He also took part in the 2005 and 2004 competitons. Entering Monday's games, he is tied for seventh in the American League with 17 homers.

 

ST. PETERSBURG -- Left-hander Felix Doubront will start on Tuesday against the Rays in Tampa Bay, the Red Sox confirmed. The 22-year-old made a fill-in start for the Red Sox in June, picking up a win in his big league debut against the Dodgers while allowing five runs (three earned) in five innings. He is 7-2 with a 2.45 ERA in the minors this year, including 3-2 with a 2.36 ERA this year for Triple-A Pawtucket. He pitched twice against the Tampa Bay Rays in spring training, recording five shutout innings against Tampa Bay.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Red Sox will begin their three-game series against the Rays and starter Matt Garza with the following lineup: Scutaro SS, Patterson LF, Ortiz DH, Youkilis 1B, Beltre 3B, Drew RF, Hall 2B, Cameron CF, Cash C, Matsuzaka P. Beltre has hit fifth 14 times this season compared to the 34 occasions he has manned the sixth spot. For more see the Red Sox team page at weei.com/redsox.