TORONTO -- Shane Victorino, who has been out since Thursday with lower back stiffness, swung in the cage and hit off a tee Tuesday for the first time since the injury.
The plan is for Victorino to ramp up the intensity Wednesday, and providing he responds well, the veteran will take part in batting practice Thursday. At that point, the Red Sox will then make a decision on whether to place him on the disabled list.
Manager John Farrell is optimistic the team will be able to get by with a short-handed bench against Toronto before getting Victorino back for Boston's weekend series vs. Texas.
"He's showing some improvement," Farrell said. "As we get toward the end of this series, we may have to consider some roster change. But based on the improvement that he's showing, we are still hopeful.
"We get through this series and find out where he's at. Depending on how many days are needed at that point, that's probably the threshold come Thursday where we might have to adjust."
Despite the progress Victorino continues to make, Farrell added that the 32-year-old has already experienced two flare-ups since the initial injury, so the Red Sox will take a cautious approach with the right fielder.
Victorino is batting .292 with a .358 on-base percentage and three stolen bases over 19 games.
Daniel Nava started his fifth consecutive game in right field for the series opener against the Blue Jays.
Hanrahan activated, but Bailey retains closing duties
TORONTO -- As expected, the Red Sox activated reliever Joel Hanrahan from the 15-day disabled list prior to Tuesday's game against the Blue Jays.
To make room for Hanrahan on the 25-man roster, reliever Daniel Bard was optioned to Double-A Portland following Sunday's victory against the Astros.
On the disabled list since April 16 with a right hamstring strain, Hanrahan made two rehab appearances with Triple-A Pawtucket. After allowing two runs in one inning last Friday, Hanrahan tossed a scoreless frame in his second and final rehab appearance Sunday.
While the Red Sox acquired Hanrahan from the Pirates in December to be their closer, Andrew Bailey will remain in that role for the time being. Hanrahan converted three of his four save opportunities before getting injured, but manager John Farrell elected to stay with Bailey, who has five saves and sports a 1.46 ERA.
Farrell spoke to both of them about his decision Tuesday.
"[Farrell] just came up to me and said with Joel coming back and being activated, we're going to keep things the same and I'll stay at closer," Bailey said. "We're excited to have him back. He's a big part of our team and bullpen. In here, it's awesome. We've got 25 guys on the same page. That's really all you can ask for."
Hanrahan told Farrell he was comfortable in whatever role he was put into and was just excited to rejoin the club. When asked if he still wanted to close, Hanrahan said that was something that can be addressed down the road.
For now, Hanrahan just wants to help Boston win in any capacity that he can.
"I'm not trying to stir any controversy -- there could have been some of that in December," Hanrahan said. "The way Andrew handled that at that time, that's kind of the approach that I want to take and just go out there and do my part. Bailey has been doing a heck of a job."
Farrell couldn't compliment the attitude of both of them enough.
"It's not an easy situation, because of how talented both he and Andrew are," Farrell said. "The one thing that Joel is, is a very good teammate. He's understanding and sees what has been happening here and how well Andrew has pitched. Hopefully there [are] opportunities for both guys to close out games."
Farrell said the plan is to ease Hanrahan into games in lower-leverage situations as he works his way back into the swing of things. A strong backend of the bullpen, Farrell said, allows him to do that.
Hanrahan voiced no displeasure with the decision, Farrell said, and the manager believes that speaks volumes about Hanrahan's character and willingness to put his ego aside for the betterment of the team.
"There is a special feeling going on inside of [the clubhouse] and guys are willing to sacrifice for one another," Farrell said.
Bard returns to Portland after allowing one run on one hit and two walks over one inning of work in two relief appearances for the Red Sox.
Chris Toman is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.