Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said before Tuesday night's game against the Toronto Blue Jays that Jacoby Ellsbury, out since suffering a subluxation of his right shoulder in the home opener April 14, was ready to begin a rehab assignment Friday in Fort Myers, Fla., where he was expected to be joined by fellow outfielder Carl Crawford.
Asked how positive a development it was for the team to have Ellsbury ready to begin game activity, Valentine said, "It's great. I'm optimistic, but I'm cautious. I think it's great that we got him to the point where he's ready to get back on the field and that means you start looking forward to the time he's on the field here.
"But he's not on the field yet.''
Crawford, who started the season on the disabled list after recovering from offseason surgery on his left wrist only to have his comeback hampered by an issue with his left elbow, had gone down to Fort Myers, Fla., to begin game activities as a designated hitter.
However, Crawford has been hampered by rainouts the last two days in Florida, meaning he would likely begin work in the field in games Ellsbury would DH.
"I think Carl was ready to play in the field when the rain hit,'' Valentine said of Crawford, who was 0-for-3 with a run and two walks in his first rehab stint Saturday as DH in a Gulf Coast League contest. "Maybe that's why [Ellsbury's] DH'ing, because Carl doesn't need to.''
Valentine said it was not likely both players would be on the same track during their rehab assignments.
"You know, Jacoby had spring training at-bats, but he's also had about three months off,'' Valentine said. "I think that'll be an individual taste situation.''
Ellsbury took some batting practice with the team Tuesday and also did some work in the field, shagging flies and throwing to first base coach Alex Ochoa.
"[Hitting coach] Dave Magadan really likes the way he's looking,'' Valentine said of Ellsbury. "I saw him yesterday and he really looks strong ... I've got to think he's close. He threw with Alex today, shagged some fly balls. I think the medical staff has the DH as the first step in, get his legs underneath him a little.''
In other clubhouse news:
* Valentine said Clay Buchholz continued to remain at an undisclosed hospital and indicated that the starting pitcher was "stable.'' Valentine said while there was concern about the root cause of Buchholz's gastrointestinal issue, "I'm not sure that I'm ever going to know that. It seems like it's a personal situation. Or maybe I will. So the answer is no -- for right now. It's not like a need-to-know situation.'' Asked if it was a situation that could lead to an extended period on the disabled list, Valentine said, "That's something that we're dealing with every day.''
* Andrew Bailey played catch Tuesday. "He felt pretty good,'' Valentine said. "Next will be maybe some flat-ground [throws] and then to the mound.''