Justin Grimm has been looking forward to his chance to play at Fenway Park for a while. The right-hander was selected by the Red Sox in the 13th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of high school and even threw a bullpen session for Boston manager John Farrell at Fenway his senior year.
Well, Grimm's time has finally come, but he will be in the opposing dugout on Tuesday when the Rangers open a three-game series against Ryan Dempster and the Red Sox.
"It's a good atmosphere, I know that much," Grimm said. "It's going to be pretty cool to pitch at Fenway. I'm expecting a good crowd. I'm expecting to show up ready to go, ready to compete and be aggressive with them, and go after it. If I do that, it's going to be a good game."
Grimm is 5-3 through nine starts for the Rangers with a 3.93 ERA. He has won his last three starts with a 3.32 ERA. In his five wins, Grimm has pitched 32 innings, allowing 36 hits and only two walks.
He'll have his hands full with the Boston batters, who have one of the highest team averages in the American League.
"You kind of got to look at them like a Detroit," Grimm said. "They're a good swinging ballclub. They've got a lot of good names on their team. I'm excited to pitch in Fenway."
Boston held a three-game lead in the AL East after a rain-shortened 3-0 victory over the third-place Yankees on Sunday night.
"They're healthy," Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "They have a lot of young guys. They seem like they actually have real good chemistry, something they haven't had the past few years. It's going to be great to face those guys. They're one of the best in the American League and those are the guys you want to face."
Dempster really struggled during the month of May. He logged a 5.51 ERA with 28 strikeouts and 14 walks following a 3.30 ERA with 43 strikeouts and 14 walks in April. However, he pitched well against the Phillies in his last start, a tough-luck loss to Cliff Lee. Dempster gave up six hits and two runs over seven innings, striking out four.
"Just worked hard in between starts and tried to get it back," Dempster said. "I'm still not quite there, but better. … I've been doing this long enough where you're going to hit some bumps in the road, you're going to have some stretches where you pitch really great.
"I just tried to make my pitches in my last start, and I'll get back out there again and try to do it on [Tuesday]."
Rangers: Texas set to face former teammate
The Rangers will get their first crack at former teammate Dempster. The 36-year-old spent two months with Texas last season.
"He was a great teammate," Andrus said. "He loved to have fun -- that was something extra about him that I didn't know. He's a great competitor. He's going to go out there and try to get you out. He's got great stuff. It's going to be good to face him again. The one thing I knew being behind him is the way he works, so that's going to always be something good to have."
Dempster played in 12 games for the Rangers, going 7-3 with a 5.09 ERA. This season with the Red Sox, Dempster is 2-6 with a 4.45 ERA through 11 games.
Red Sox: Bradley settling in
Jackie Bradley Jr. was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday and is making a good impression in his second Major League stint.
In the five games since his return, Bradley has four hits and three runs in 12 at-bats. Overall, Boston's No. 2 prospect has played in 17 games with the Sox -- amassing seven hits and eight runs scored. He also has three RBIs.
• The Red Sox hope to get outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (left groin tightness) back for Tuesday's game. Ellsbury missed the entire three-game series against the Yankees.
• The Red Sox will try to avenge the sweep they endured in Texas from May 3-5. Since the start of the 2009 season, the Red Sox are 12-28 against the Rangers.
• The Rangers lead the AL with a 3.43 team ERA.
• The Red Sox rank second in the AL for extra-base hits.
Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.