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Ellsbury is on the go during first rehab start

By Mike Scandura
Globe Correspondent / May 18, 2010

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PAWTUCKET, R.I. — Before Jacoby Ellsbury stepped onto the field at McCoy Stadium yesterday for his first rehab game, Pawtucket manager Torey Lovullo posed a question.

“I asked him, ‘What are your thoughts on playing the game wide open?’ ’’ Lovullo said. “He said, ‘I don’t know any other way.’ ’’

That was evident in the sixth inning, when Ellsbury scored on a sacrifice fly, and in the seventh, when he scored from first on a Josh Reddick triple.

“I’ve stayed in pretty good shape,’’ Ellsbury said after going 1 for 3 with a walk and an RBI batting leadoff as the designated hitter in Pawtucket’s 5-4 loss to Syracuse. “I haven’t really been able to do too much with my upper body. But as far as running, throwing, and doing what I could in the cage, I’ve stayed in shape. Our main objective was once I got back I’d be ready to go.’’

Ellsbury hasn’t played since April 11, when he collided with Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre at Kansas City and suffered four fractured ribs on his left side.

The Red Sox placed him on the disabled list and he has been idle for 35 days, but Ellsbury said he won’t be pain-free any time soon.

“I think it’s one of those things where it’s going to be there probably for the remainder of the year,’’ he said. “Going into the offseason, it’s probably going to heal and next year it’ll be 100 percent. I’ll have to deal with it, but it felt pretty good today.’’

Ellsbury grounded to shortstop in the first, grounded to second in the fourth, and lined a first-pitch single to left that scored Niuman Romero in the sixth, all against J.D. Martin. When the ball eluded Syracuse’s Leonard Davis for an error, Ellsbury raced to third and scored on Reddick’s sacrifice fly to left.

“I was kind of happy to get hit by the ball in the back,’’ said Ellsbury, who got nailed on Davis’s attempt to throw him out at the plate. “That’s baseball. I felt like I was back when the ball hit me.

“As for my ABs, the first two you’re just trying to get your feel back. The bat feels really light. The third AB, I locked in a little bit and found my swing.’’

With two outs in the seventh, Ellsbury walked on a full count against lefthander Atahualpa Severino.

Reddick followed with a sinking liner to right that went for a triple (he was thrown out trying to stretch it).

“Performance-wise, he was outstanding,’’ Lovullo said about Ellsbury. “Two ground balls with full swings his first couple of at-bats and he gets down the line. Then, he gets a big base hit into left.

“Watching him go from first to home was pretty impressive. He was running full speed without any limitations. He was taking full swings without any limitations. The results aren’t anything we’re concerned about. It’s just what he’s doing to get to that point.’’

Ellsbury’s next step is to play the outfield today at Double A Portland (the PawSox are on the road). He’s scheduled to be evaluated tomorrow in Boston.

“I’m used to playing so it’s hard to watch,’’ Ellsbury said. “But it makes you that more appreciative once you get out there and start playing again.’’

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