One of the two missing pieces in the Red Sox outfield is on his way back.
Center fielder Mike Cameron, out since April 18 with an abdominal strain, will begin a rehab stint at Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday. Cameron will serve as the designated hitter but may see some action in the outfield Tuesday.
"I'll go and really play the game, try to get some hits and dive back to first, but still be cautious enough to know that," Cameron told reporters in the Red Sox clubhouse before Sunday's game against the New York Yankees. "You're rehabbing and trying to get back to the big leagues. I need to see where I'm at more than anything else."
The 37-year-old Cameron, signed this offseason in a highly publicized outfield shuffle that moved Jacoby Ellsbury to left, was hitting just .233 (7-for-30) with no homers and no RBIs in 11 games before he went on the disabled list.
He made a notable error in the first inning of a loss to Tampa Bay on April 17, missing a liner hit right at him. The injury may have been an issue on the play as Cameron looked stiff.
He played just one more game before going on the DL. Cameron also missed two games after passing a kidney stone April 15.
Ellsbury, who went on the DL the same day as Cameron, is still taking batting practice and progressing slowly toward a return from four cracked ribs suffered in a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre on April 11 in Kansas City.
Manager Terry Francona said Sunday afternoon that no timetable has been established for Ellsbury's return.