A Jacoby Ellsbury sighting?
Yes, it's true. Terry Francona said there's a possibility - and we emphasize a possibility - Ellsbury could be rejoining (and that doesn't mean playing) the team in Toronto over the weekend, but only if he's at the point in his lengthy rehab from cracked ribs, where he can participate in baseball activities.
Today, Jeremy Hermida, who fractured five ribs in a similar outfield collision with Adrian Beltre, took four rounds of batting practice in the cage and is likely to follow that up with regular batting practice tomorrow. Hermida, who has been out since June 10, told Francona he felt great.
Ellsbury cracked four ribs on April 11, returned more than a month later and suffered a posterior cracked rib while sliding for a ball. He went back on the DL on May 28th. The team agreed to have him go to Athletes Performance in Arizona at the urging of his agent, Scott Boras, where he's been rehabbing the rib for about a month. Francona said that Ellsbury had a good day and was actually starting to throw.
The Sox have been hoping to get most of their injured players back by the end of July which would give them a better reading on what they may need to do at the trading deadline. Obviously, a reliever could be obtained at any time.
Francona didn't know when Hermida might be able to go out for a rehab assignment. The team will hold off until they see him with a few days of batting practice and how he responds.
Francona was also unsure on a timetable for Victor Martinez, who is healing from a left thumb fracture. Both Dustin Pedroia and Jason Varitek, out with foot fractures, have remained with the team and have been throwing to keep sharp. Clay Buchholz seems to be making steady progress with a hamstring strain. While the team placed him on the 15-day DL, he should be good to go not long after the All-Star game.
The Sox seemed encouraged by Jed Lowrie, who is returning from a 5-month bout with mono and started at DH for Lowell yesterday and went 1-for-2 with two walks.
The other player Francona is managing through an injury is Hideki Okajima, who has had a sore back for a few days. Francona said the team has kept him out four or five days and told him they would stay away from him. "He doesn't throw 95, so he has to be able to locate," Francona said.
Mike Cameron also got the night off.
Mike Lowell went home to Miami and is not with the team. No word yet on whether Lowell will rejoin the team in Toronto or simply stay away until after the break. Lowell is on the DL with a strained right hip and doesn't appear to be significantly better.