Red Sox activate C Varitek, OF Nixon and SS Gonzalez

BOSTON (Ticker) - The Boston Red Sox got some much-needed good news in an otherwise tough final stretch of the season.

The Red Sox on Sunday activated catcher Jason Varitek, right fielder Trot Nixon and shortstop Alex Gonzalez from the 15-day disabled list, prior to the finale of a four-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays.

In the wake of a devastating five-game sweep by the New York Yankees from August 18-21 that all but eliminated them from American League East, the Red Sox have seen top sluggers David Ortiz (heart palpitations) and Manny Ramirez (knee) sidelined due an irregular heartbeat.

In addition, lefthander Jon Lester was diagnosed with cancer, fellow rookie closer Jonathan Papelbon suffered a right shoulder injury and ace Curt Schilling injured his right shoulder and will miss his next start.

The emotional leader of the Red Sox, Varitek has been sidelined since August 1 after needing surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee. The 34-year-old is hitting .243 with 11 home runs and 50 RBI in 85 games this season.

Nixon, 32, has been out since July 31 because of a strained right biceps muscle. Part of a platoon in right field with Wily Mo Pena, Nixon is batting .294 with seven homers and 47 RBI in 92 games.

In his first season with Boston after signing as a free agent in the offseason, Gonzalez had been out since August 22 with a right oblique strain. The 29-year-old is hitting .270 with nine home runs and 43 RBI in 96 games.

With Saturday’s 6-1 loss to the Blue Jays, the Red Sox (73-63) sit 6 1/2 games behind the Chicago White Sox in the American League wild card and are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.


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Updated Sunday, Sep 3, 2006