Most of us take summer vacations for granted. A chance to relax and take a dip. Maybe get out on the boat or play a little golf.

Baseball players don’t get summer vacations. They grind through the season, working six or seven days a week from winter to fall. An occasional day off is all that they get for a vacation.

That’s why the All-Star break is such an important part of the major league schedule. It’s a chance to get away from the daily grind and unwind.

“The All-Star break always comes at the right time,” said Boston Red Sox Manager Alex Cora.

At least one of Cora’s pitchers disagrees with his manager. Tyler Thornburg was activated July 4 and made his Red Sox debut four nights later in Kansas City.

It was his first big-league game since October 2016.

Thornburg was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers in December 2016 in a package that included popular third baseman Travis Shaw. The right-hander was expected to be a key piece of the Boston bullpen, a role he played to perfection with the Brewers in ’16.

That year he posted a 2.15 ERA in 67 appearances, limiting opposing batters to a .162 batting average. He struck out 90 batters in 67 innings, the fifth-highest strikeouts-per-nine-inning ratio in the National League.

Instead of beginning 2017 in the Sox bullpen, he began it on the disabled list. Thornburg eventually underwent surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition that required a rib to be removed.

On Friday, Thornburg made his Fenway Park debut for the Sox, throwing a scoreless inning against Toronto.

It was another step forward for a pitcher who has waited a long time to get back to where he is today.

“As hard as it is, I’m trying to trust the process and do all that stuff,” Thornburg said. “The curveball is one of those things that I knew was going to be the last thing to come along. (It was) arguably my best pitch in ’16 and I haven’t really had it so far. Velocity’s going to tick up a little bit. It’s nice to see I have a good change-up right now because that’s a pitch I didn’t really have in ’16.”

This is the time of year general managers look to improve their bullpens. Every team in contention wants relief help. Dave Dombrowski, the Red Sox president of baseball operations, will be front and center in that pursuit, but he might have an untapped option in his bullpen already.

“I feel like in the second half I should have a fresh arm,” Thornburg said. “Especially once things start coming around I think I could be a huge help to a lot of the guys who have eaten up a lot of the innings so far.”

Thornburg spent over a year rehabbing his right shoulder. He put in months of physical rehab in the relentless sun of Fort Myers, Florida, before making two long rehab stints in the minors.

Now he’s back and ready to go … just in time for the team’s summer vacation.

“I haven’t exactly had any off days,” Thornburg said. “Even when the team has been on the road or had an off day I’ve been coming in and getting treatment. It’s going to be nice to actually get a mental break. It’s been a while that I’ve been grinding physically and mentally, and all of that. It will be nice to go see the parents and just relax.”

The Red Sox bullpen has been showing signs of fatigue coming into the break. Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes – both stalwarts in the back end of the bullpen – had rough weekends. Thornburg could be just the jolt of energy the bullpen needs over the unofficial second half.

He’s rested and ready to go. He just has to endure a few more days of rest to get back to work.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.