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Ellsbury is set to rejoin team

He’ll play against Phillies tomorrow

By Amalie Benjamin
Globe Staff / May 21, 2010

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It has been 39 days since Jacoby Ellsbury played for the Red Sox, before Adrian Beltre caught him square in the chest with his knees and knocked him onto the disabled list with four fractured ribs. In that time, the Sox lost another outfielder and a whole bunch of games, though they have seen their results turn around lately.

Last night, there was more good news. Ellsbury is heading on the road with the Sox to Philadelphia, and is expected to play tomorrow.

Ellsbury, along with rehabbing outfielder Mike Cameron, played for Portland yesterday, and the results were good.

“Ellsbury had a real good day, 3 for 4, stole a base, slid a couple times, dove back into first a couple times,’’ manager Terry Francona said. “Lot of good things happened. I think he felt good about himself.’’

He did. One of the last steps for Ellsbury was the ability to dive back into a bag, to see how much pain that would cause his ribs. While Ellsbury believes he’ll have to deal with some discomfort, it’s not enough to keep him out of the lineup. He’ll just have to live with it.

“I still feel it right now,’’ Ellsbury said. “It’s going to be one of those things, it’s going to be there for a little while.’’

He has been out of the lineup since April 11, when he was hurt in Kansas City. The Sox initially thought the injury was bruised ribs, and only discovered that the ribs were fractured when Ellsbury requested that they take an MRI.

General manager Theo Epstein spent time with Ellsbury during last night’s win over the Twins, as the Sox determined that bringing him to Philadelphia was in his best interest. He won’t play tonight, as the Sox want him to take a day off to rest his legs.

Ellsbury did not seem worried that he would reinjure himself, whether on offense diving back into a bag or on defense running down a ball in the outfield.

“He gives us a different element,’’ Francona said. “It gives us that game-changing speed. It gives us the same headaches we have when we have to face guys like Carl Crawford.

“He gives us a certain look when he’s in there that we don’t have when he’s not in there.’’

As for Cameron, he will play center for the Sea Dogs again today, and seems unlikely to be back for this weekend’s series.

One and done
It was a single pitch that landed Josh Beckett on the disabled list. His plant leg came down wrong on a slippery Yankee Stadium mound Tuesday night, and the next day the Red Sox righthander was getting more time off than he wanted.

“It’s just frustrating,’’ Beckett said before last night’s 6-2 victory over the Twins. “Basically, that one pitch cost me two starts.’’

He had already missed a start because of back spasms he suffered while taking batting practice in preparation for interleague play. But when he came back against the Yankees, he lasted just 4 2/3 innings before throwing an off-speed pitch to Alex Rodriguez that caused him to reinjure his back.

“When your back’s not 100 percent and something like that happens, you can put yourself in a lot of danger,’’ Beckett said. “It’s the same thing [as last week], basically.

“As far as it being crippling, I don’t think Day 1 was quite as bad as Day 1 was last time. But it’s pretty much the same thing.

“It’s uncomfortable, and when I get into torquing motions and stuff like that, it gets a little more uncomfortable than just standing here.’’

Beckett said the previous back spasms weren’t bothering him Tuesday night — at least until that pitch to Rodriguez.

“I’ve gotten pretty good, on the days when I pitch, of convincing myself that nothing’s wrong,’’ Beckett said. “And literally, and I told [pitching coach] John Farrell this that night, I didn’t think about it one time until I slipped. It wasn’t bothering me, it wasn’t fatigued, it wasn’t tightening up. It’s just one pitch.’’

When asked about his previous back injuries, such as the one that caused him to miss a chunk of the 2008 season, Beckett said, “It’s kind of in the same spot, but they’re telling me it’s something that’s totally different. I can’t start worrying about that. It’s still a little early for me to be worrying about further down the road.’’

Scutaro improves
Marco Scutaro said his elbow was feeling good enough to likely allow him to play tonight. It was sore Wednesday from the cortisone shot but was better yesterday. The shortstop started feeling discomfort in spring training, resulting from too much swinging of the bat, he thought. He was unable to lift weights, in particular, and was hampered with the bat, though less so in the field. “I’ve got no strength, nothing,’’ Scutaro said. “Can’t do a pushup.’’ . . . Francona said he wrote Scott Schoeneweis a note after the reliever was designated for assignment Wednesday, a day before the one-year anniversary of his wife’s death. “That’s unfortunate,’’ Francona said. “As much as we try to be aware of personal things, I don’t know how you make a baseball decision [with that in mind]. You can’t ask Scutaro to have a shot two days later. It’s not going to work.’’ . . . The Associated Press reported that Major League Baseball denied the protest the Yankees filed after a loss to the Red Sox Tuesday in New York.

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