Barnes is scheduled to make a rehab appearance for Triple-A Worcester on Wednesday and is expected to be activated from the COVID-19 injured list Friday, Bill Koch of The Providence Journal reports.
Barnes initially appeared on tap to return from the IL ahead of Wednesday's series finale in Seattle, but the Red Sox will instead have him pitch in a tune-up outing in the minors before he rejoins the big club. Assuming Barnes feels fine physically following the outing, he should be ready to take on a late-inning role with Boston over the weekend. Before testing positive for the virus Aug. 30, Barnes was already on the ropes as the Red Sox's closer after blowing his last two save chances and allowing 10 earned runs across his last 10 appearances. Adam Ottavino, Hansel Robles and Garrett Whitlock have all picked up saves while Barnes has been sidelined, though none of the three has truly run away with the closer's gig.