Thursday September 02, 2010 | 06:19 AM

As the Red Sox hold onto their slim hopes (7 games back, 29 games to go), they are beginning to expand their roster in September. Catcher Jarrod Saltamacchia and utility man Eric Patterson returned from their rehab in Pawtucket, and reliever Dustin Richardson is back in Boston.

Pitcher Michael Bowden and outfielder Josh Reddick are expected when the PawSox season is over.

How about first baseman Lars Anderson? He went 2-for-4 Wednesday with his 10th home run. He's batting .265, but .307 since June. Anderson, who turns 23 this month, is eligible for the Rule V draft in the off-season so he could be gone if the Red Sox don't put him on the 40-man roster.

If/when the Red Sox decide they are definitely out of the race, there is no use in using Mike Lowell and/or Victor Martinez much at first base. Boston needs to make a decision with Anderson and, with Anthony Rizzo developing quickly, the Red Sox should take a major league look at Anderson.

Anderson first jumped on the radar when he batted .316 with five home runs and 30 RBI in 41 games with Portland at the end of the 2008 season. He had a .436 on-base percentage and .526 slugging percentage (.962 OPS).

Similarly, catcher Ryan Lavarnway is making a splash in Portland. He went 2-for-2 with two walks and a RBI Wednesday. In 39 games with the Sea Dogs, Lavarnway is batting .293 with eight home runs and 33 RBI. His on-base percentage is .408; with a slugging percentage of .529 (.937 OPS).

About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases

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