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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, July 17th (All times eastern)

Chicago White Sox (49-40) at Boston Red Sox (46-44), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Chicago - Philip Humber (3-4, 6.01) Boston - Jon Lester (5-6, 4.49)

(Sports Network) - The Chicago White Sox welcome Philip Humber back to the mound tonight when they continue a four-game set with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Humber, of course, tossed a perfect game back on April 21 in Seattle, but since then has been anything but. In fact in his 10 starts since the perfecto, Humber has gone 2-4, while pitching to a 7.47 ERA.

However, he hasn't pitched in more than a month because of an elbow flexor strain and is 3-4 on the year with a 6.01 ERA. Humber appeared in a rehab game for Double-A Birmingham on Thursday, allowing one run on two hits and no walks in six innings.

"I feel like my arm is responding well to what we've been doing," Humber told the Birmingham Barons' official website. "I feel like I'm in good shape."

Humber was shelled by the Red Sox in his start after his perfect game back on April 26, allowing nine runs and eight hits in five innings. He is 1-2 in three starts against them with an 8.83 ERA.

Boston drew first blood in this series on Monday, as Adrian Gonzalez's three- run home run broke a tie game in the eighth and carried the Red Sox to a 5-1 win.

Gonzalez's blast spoiled the return to Fenway Park of Kevin Youkilis, who was greeted with a loud ovation and chants of "Youk!" in his first game in Boston since being traded to Chicago on June 24. He did not disappoint in his return, going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a run scored.

"The place was pretty loud and rocking," Youkilis said. "It was really cool. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone. I just wish it could have ended better and wish we could have won the game."

Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford also returned to Fenway on Monday after missing the first three-plus months of the season on the disabled list. Crawford, who hit second, recorded a hit in his first at-bat back and scored twice, including the winning run on Gonzalez's homer.

All the news was not good for Boston, as David Ortiz left the game with an Achilles injury. He will undergo an MRI on Tuesday, but does not expect the injury to be serious.

"I think I'll be all right," Ortiz said. "I didn't hear a pop so that's good."

Tonight, Boston will turn to lefty Jon Lester, who is 5-6 on the year with a 4.49 ERA. Lester lost his final start before the All-Star break to the New York Yankees, surrendering five runs (4 earned) and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings.

"Uncharted water for me," Lester said. "I've just got to keep grinding it out. I can't give up, I've just got to keep working. That's all I can control. Just keep showing up every day and working hard, and things are going to turn around."

He beat the White Sox earlier in the year with seven scoreless innings and is 4-3 lifetime versus them with a 4.56 ERA in eight starts.

Boston had lost seven in a row at home to the White Sox before winning Monday's opener. The Red Sox are 4-1 overall in the series this season.

07/17 10:36:23 ET