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Ellsbury in the leadoff spot

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  August 28, 2009 06:00 PM

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As expected, Sox manager Terry Francona didn’t hesitate to put Jacoby Ellsbury back in the leadoff spot after the speedy center fielder sprained his ankle sliding into home plate in the fifth inning of Thursday night’s 9-5 loss to the White Sox.

Francona said after the game that he didn’t think it was that serious, even though Ellsbury walked off the field stretching and shaking his leg after sliding hard into the shin guard of White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski. He sounded the same when updating Ellsbury’s status this afternoon.

“Ellsbury’s fine and he’s in the lineup,” Francona said. “He’s OK, he just had a bit of a tweak last night. Last night I said we were taking him out for precautionary reasons and that we hoped he’d be in the lineup and that’s what happened. In a game like that where we’re getting beat up, he wanted to stay in and it didn’t seem like it made a lot of sense.”

Dice-K’s start pushed back to Sunday

After a strong showing in his first rehab start with Fort Myers, the plan was for Daisuke Matsuzaka to make his next start Saturday for Double A Portland against New Hampshire. With heavy rain forecast, his start has been pushed back a day.

The teams have a doubleheader schedule for Sunday, with Matsuzaka scheduled to start the opener at 4 p.m.

Lowrie to play tomorrow

Sox shortstop Jed Lowrie worked out at Fenway today and will begin playing with Pawtucket Saturday in the second game of a three-game set at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

“What we’ll try to do is just let him do what he can do,” Francona said. “We can’t force the issue and he understands that, but we’ve got to try to get an honest read on where he is to make decisions.”

Lowrie, who originally had surgery on his left wrist in April and went back on the disabled list Aug. 8 after aggravating the injury, was supposed to make a rehab start Wednesday night with Pawtucket, but felt a sharp pain while trying to check a swing.

“He took a check swing, and he felt a -- I don’t know if zinger’s the right word – but in an area like that where there are a lot of little things, if there’s any kind of swelling or any kind of irritation, that’s going to happen. I think the biggest thing is he knows that when it happens, he’s not hurting himself. So there’s some mental side of it also.''

Etc …

Francona said it is unlikely Billy Wagner will pitch on consecutive nights at this point. “Last night’s a good example,” Francona said. “He wanted to pitch, but we told him after his side, he wasn’t pitching. We’re not going to make changes on the fly or emotionally where we can get into a bind. That’s where you make mistakes … With the National Weather Service predicting a 100 percent chance for rain Saturday, Francona said he’s already talked to pitchers about all the possibilities. ""We’ve sat and talked multiple times today about multiple scenarios. You try taking into consideration weather, health, production and put them all together and have plans A through about F, which we do."

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