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Francona: Ellsbury 'really tender'

Posted by Mike Whitmer, Globe Staff  May 27, 2010 04:47 PM

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Jacoby Ellsbury has played just three games since his collision with Adrian Beltre on April 11, and with the pain in his ribs not subsiding, further evaluation is required before the club decides if another trip to the disabled list is necessary.

Meeting with the media this afternoon before tonight's home game against Kansas City, Red Sox manager Terry Francona didn't sound optimistic that Ellsbury would return anytime soon.

"He's really tender. He's been examined, we've looked at the pictures, all the medical people are trying to look at everything," Francona said. "We've got to get to the bottom of this; we're not at the bottom of it. We don't want to rush into putting him on the disabled list, but at the same time he's not ready to play because of the way he feels."

Ellsbury was activated off the disabled list last Saturday and has appeared in three games since, going 1-for-14. Francona said team doctor Thomas Gill would be arriving shortly to hopefully meet with club officials again.

Francona said he hopes Victor Martinez can be back in the lineup tomorrow night, when knuckleballer Tim Wakefield is scheduled to pitch. Martinez injured his left big toe when he fouled a pitch off Monday night and hasn't played since, although he's been available.

"He did a lot [Wednesday] during BP, did some throwing, did some receiving," Francona said. "We'd really like to catch him tomorrow because of [Wakefield], but if he's not ready we won't do it. I think he'll be ready to catch."

When will Josh Beckett be ready to pitch? The right-hander injured his back May 18, and is scheduled to throw a bullpen side session tomorrow. But because of the team's early-morning (4:35) arrival from Tampa after sweeping the first-place Rays, Francona said things were getting backed up, which could delay Beckett's session.

"If he throws his side tomorrow, everything has gone really well," Francona said. "If we need to back up another day, we will."

With so many injuries, developing depth has been key this year, a big reason the Red Sox have been able to overcome their rough start. Francona singled out two contributors.

"The guys that have stepped in have done great. Darnell McDonald, I don't want to say he's come out of nowhere, that's probably not fair to him, but he's done a pretty good job put in a situation where he's playing a lot," Francona said. "[Jeremy] Hermida's got a lot of big hits for us. We're going to continue to need that depth; [Mike Cameron] is not ready to play every day, and Jacoby's certainly not ready to play every day."

Hermida is in the lineup again, batting seventh and playing left field.

Francona's press gathering wasn't all injury-related. He was asked about Joe West, who is part of the umpire crew for the Red Sox-Royals series. West made news yesterday by ejecting White Sox pitcher Mark Buerhle and manager Ozzie Guillen. West called two balks on Buerhle.

Asked if West has a shorter fuse than other umpires, Francona said, "I think you'd be better off asking Ozzie. Our goal is to win today and if possible make it through nine innings. I'd rather not lose, and I'd rather not get suspended."

Francona also took some playful jabs at former Red Sox Kevin Millar, who has joined the broadcast team at NESN and was sitting today with the media.

"I shouldn't be speechless, I just don't know what to say," Francona said, glaring at Millar and trying not to laugh. "I don't know if I'm embarrassed for television, I'm not really sure where to go with this."

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