BOSTON -- Dustin Pedroia is on track to come off the disabled list on Thursday against the White Sox, the first day he is eligible.

Pedroia's return comes at just the right time for the Red Sox, who placed slugger David Ortiz on the DL on Wednesday with a strained right Achilles tendon. Pedroia has been on the DL since July 6 with a strained right thumb.

"He said he was ready about four days ago," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "He's such an important part of our team, so much fun to watch play, that for his psyche as well as ours I hope he gets back in tomorrow."

In Pedroia's absence, the Red Sox welcomed back outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford from injury. Since Crawford's season debut on Monday, he's hit second behind Ellsbury in three straight games.

Pedroia has batted second in 61 of his 74 starts this season.

"I don't know that we'll have a lineup every day that's the same since we haven't had a lineup that's the same since the beginning of the year and we're second in the league in runs scored," Valentine said. "I don't think you need to worry about where someone is hitting in the lineup."

Still, Valentine could keep Ellsbury and Crawford at the top of the order.

"I don't know if it's tempting, but it seems logical," the manager said. "We'll see."

Monday's injury sends Ortiz to disabled list

CWS@BOS: Papi pulls up lame on Adrian's homer

BOSTON -- David Ortiz is the latest key player for the Red Sox to go on the disabled list in an injury-marred season.

Ortiz was placed on the 15-day DL Wednesday with a strained right Achilles tendon. The designated hitter did not rupture or tear the tendon, a second MRI confirmed. The move is retroactive to Tuesday.

"It's probably going to be a week to 10 days before he's ready to go and take a little batting practice," said manager Bobby Valentine. "We'll give him a little extra time on the outside so he's ready to go when he comes off."

The Red Sox called up Mauro Gomez from Triple-A Pawtucket to fill Ortiz's spot on the active roster. Gomez, who can play first base and third, is in his third stint with Boston this season. On Wednesday, he started at DH against the White Sox. In his first eight games with the Red Sox, Gomez went 8-for-26 (.308) with three doubles and three RBIs.

"It seemed like he was the guy that was going to fill the bill and once David left, we really had no backup first baseman," Valentine said.

Ortiz sustained the injury while rounding second base on Adrian Gonzalez's homer in Monday night's 5-1 win over the White Sox. He said he felt "lots of pain" but didn't feel a pop.

The slugger leads the Red Sox with a .316 average, 23 homers, 58 RBIs and a .414 on-base percentage. Ortiz is the latest key player to spend time on the DL, a list that had included Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz and Cody Ross.

"We're definitely going to miss him," said Crawford, who made his season debut only Monday. "It's a big disappointment for us. He's a bat that we'll definitely miss in the lineup. It's kind of unreal how many injuries we've had. I don't really know why it's happening. We have to pick up the slack."

Ortiz had at least one walk and one hit in his last 10 games, a franchise record.

Cherington: Crawford trade rumors baseless

BOSTON -- Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford is the subject of trade rumors just two days after making his season debut.

On Wednesday, multiple reports had Crawford as the key piece in proposed deals with the Miami Marlins. USA Today reported one scenario involving Crawford and a Red Sox prospect being shipped to Miami for infielder Hanley Ramirez and closer Heath Bell. FOX Sports reported Crawford could be dealt to Miami for either Ramirez or shortstop Jose Reyes, with other pieces involved.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington denied the reports.

"We have not offered Carl to a single team," Cherington told USA Today. "We have not pursued anything on Carl Crawford. Carl is our left fielder."

Said Crawford: "I hadn't heard too much about it but there's really nothing to say about it. I just have to be ready to play everyday because those kinds of things come up. I just shrug it off."

Crawford added that he was "still surprised right now" that his name came up. The non-waiver Trade Deadline is July 31.

Manager Bobby Valentine was not surprised by the rumors but doesn't think it will affect Crawford's performance.

"I just heard them, I'm not surprised at anything with the way stuff is made up and blown up," Valentine said. "I'm never surprised. I think Carl is tough, he'll be fine."

The left fielder said he has not been approached by anyone in the Red Sox organization about the validity of the rumors.

On Monday, Crawford played his first game with Boston this season. He missed 89 games with a UCL sprain in his left elbow that likely will require Tommy John surgery in the offseason. In two games, Crawford is 4-for-7 with three steals, four runs and one RBI.

"It's not the first time I've been involved in that before, so I know how to handle that," Crawford said. "I'm not going to try to do like anything extra."

As for the Marlins, they too were caught off-guard by the rumors.

"I just found out today," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "One of my kids asked me about it. I don't know anything about it. The front office never said anything about it."

Like Valentine, Guillen believes he can still perform despite the trade speculation.

"I don't think it should be a distraction, because when we are in the position we are, there are going to be rumors," he said. "They're going to try to add better players, and we've got some good players who can help. But it's all rumors."

Officer who allegedly slurred Crawford is disciplined

BOSTON -- Carl Crawford is doing his best move past an incident that occurred during his Minor League assignment earlier this month.

On Wednesday, town officials in Leominster, Mass., placed veteran patrol officer John A. Perrault on paid administrative leave after an internal police investigation determined he directed a racial slur toward Crawford on July 6 during a Minor League game in Manchester, N.H. A full hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday.

"I really don't want to comment on that," Crawford said. "I'm just trying to put that stuff behind me and move forward."

Perrault allegedly slurred Crawford as the left fielder signed autographs before a rehab game with Double-A Portland against the Manchester Fisher Cats. Crawford was in the Minors rehabbing an elbow injury. He made his season debut with the Red Sox on Monday.

Crawford received an apology from Perrault, Leominster town officials and the Fisher Cats organization.

"It surprised me he was a police officer, it's disappointing," Crawford said. "But I just want to put that stuff behind me and not even worry about that anymore. I don't really know how I feel about that. It's just disappointing that it had to happen. It's just one of those things you have to let go.

"You would think as a nation we would have grown past that kind of stuff, so it's one of those things where hopefully that's the last time something like that happens."