BOSTON -- Carson Smith visited the Red Sox clubhouse Wednesday, checking in with the coaching staff and medical staff, eager to be activated early next week. Smith has missed the first 3 1/2 weeks of the season after being diagnosed with a flexor strain in his right forearm.
"Slow and steady,'' said Smith of his progress. "But I'm feeling good right now. I'm confident, I'm healthy and ready to get back. It's great (to be back with his teammates); I've been watching these guys on TV for the last month. It's been tough, watching down there in Florida and wanting to be part of it, but it's good to be around the guys here and good to be back in Boston.''
Smith has thrown a handful of bullpens and live batting practice sessions, along with a couple of appearances in extended spring training games.
"I'm very confident I'm ready to go,'' said Smith. "The velocity is there, the movement's there, so I'm happy.''
Missing the last month has been tough for Smith, but in the big picture, he feels grateful that it wasn't something more serious. When he walked off the mound in Jupiter on March 21, he feared he might have incurred a more serious elbow injury.
"It's a big relief,'' said Smith. "When you have elbow problems, I think any pitcher can say that's the biggest scare, hearing all the Tommy John stories. I'm glad I'm healthy now and I'm glad I dodged that bullet.''
Smith will play catch Wednesday from a distance of 90-120 feet, with a short side scheduled for Thursday.
On Friday, Smith will join Double A Portland for an inning, and as long as there are no setbacks, will pitch again Saturday with eye toward being activated prior to the start of Tuesday's road trip in Chicago.