For the first time in three years, the Boston Red Sox are playing meaningful baseball games in September, and Andrew Benintendi seems intent on joining them.

Benintendi has been sidelined since Aug. 24 with a sprained left knee that sent him to the 15-day disabled list. The rookie outfielder is ahead of schedule in his recovery, though, and he took another positive step Friday by running the bases at Rogers Centre ahead of Boston’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

As The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham points out, Benintendi wasn’t exactly running at full speed and was wearing the new knee brace he received Tuesday in San Diego. But assuming his running session went well, the 22-year-old’s next step could be a rehab game with High-A Salem as soon as this weekend.

The Red Sox would love to get Benintendi back for the playoff hunt, as he was hitting .324 through 21 games before suffering the injury on the basepaths during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

On the other hand, Boston doesn’t have a dire need in left field with Chris Young playing well of late and Brock Holt available to spell him, so the team shouldn’t feel compelled to rush the rookie back before he’s 100 percent healthy.

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images