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 TOKYO (AP) -Coco Crisp is getting better, Mike Timlin is getting worse and Red Sox manager Terry Francona still has some roster decisions to wrestle with before Tuesday's opener against the Oakland Athletics.
Both teams must set an active roster of 25 players by Tuesday. Boston brought 31 players on the trip to Japan on Thursday, including Curt Schilling, who is on the 60-day disabled list with a shoulder injury.
Crisp was limited to two major league exhibition games in Florida because of a groin injury that cut short his competition with rookie Jacoby Ellsbury for the center field job.
``His last two days were so good that at least we think he's probably available,'' manager Terry Francona said Friday.
The Red Sox play exhibition games Saturday against the Hanshin Tigers and Sunday against the Yomiuri Giants before facing Oakland on Tuesday and Wednesday. They resume the regular season in Oakland on April 1 and complete the series the next day.
``When we get to Oakland I'm hopeful that kind of all bets are off,'' Francona said. ``Like, `OK, let's go play baseball.''
Crisp told Francona on Thursday that he felt rusty but ``unless he feels something (wrong physically), he'll probably have to be active.''
Timlin is one of the relievers Francona expected to have on the 25-man roster before he hurt his finger in an exhibition game Wednesday in Fort Myers, Fla., between minor league teams of Boston and Minnesota. A ball hit to him caused a cut in the ring finger of his right hand that needed two stitches, Francona said.
He didn't say if Timlin would be able to play in Japan.
The Red Sox can activate all 30 players for the exhibition games but only 25 for the games against Oakland.
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