Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury has missed the last 14 games with a right foot fracture, but manager John Farrell said he is optimistic Ellsbury can return to the lineup as early as Wednesday.
The Red Sox play their final home game of the season against the Blue Jays Sunday, before closing out the schedule with two games against Colorado and a three game set with Baltimore.
"Hopefully he's in the lineup Wednesday," Farrell said before Sunday's game. "The work he's going through right now, the baseball activities, are starting to wrap up. There's been no setbacks. That's an optimistic view, but I'd hope we'd be able to get him some at bats that day."
Wednesday's game is at Colorado, meaning there is no designated hitter, ruling out the possibility of Ellsbury easing his way into the lineup. Farrell was optimistic Ellsbury could start in center field.
Before Sunday's game, Ellsbury was on the field playing catch with bullpen catcher Brian Abraham. Prior to the foot fracture, Ellsbury was hitting .320 in his last 17 games.
Farrell said he is looking for Ellsbury to show "further comfort with the increase and intensity of work he's been going through."
Jackie Bradley Jr. is slated to start Sunday, and has started in 9 of the last 13 games. He's also 4 for 7 in the last two games.
First baseman Mike Napoli is also out of the lineup Sunday, with Mike Carp starting at first base.
Napoli, who missed time in August due to plantar fasciitis, did not play Saturday either.
"We're just giving him a couple of days down," Farrell said. "He's been dealing with that foot issue, and felt like this was the time to give him a few days to get ahead of it."