DENVER The Red Sox took a big step toward claiming the top seed in the American League playoffs with a 15-5 victory against Colorado. Oakland's loss earlier in the day gives the Sox a two-game lead with three to play.
But the most important development of the night was the return of Jacoby Ellsbury from a 16-game absence due to a fractured bone in his right foot. Elllsbury was 1 for 2 with a walk and played three innings in center field.
He came out of it feeling the same he did when he started. That was the most important thing, manager John Farrell said. Just to get him out on the field was a big step.
Ellsbury said he expects to play on Friday in Baltimore and will talk to Farrell about how deep into the game he will go.
"I was just happy to get out there and play," Ellsbury said. "Run around, kind of did everything I needed to do. Sprinted down the line, ran for a ball in the gap. The plan was to get three ABs and we got them early. That was good."
Ellsbury said he saw the ball well and managed his at-bats the way he wanted to.
"Saw a couple of solid pitchers and felt pretty good out there," he said.
Ellsbury wore a shield on his foot to protect the navicular bone that was fractured. He had worn a shield throughout his career but there was a gap in the one he used and that's where the foul ball got him. Now he's using a different model.
Ellsbury also has orthotic soles in his cleats to gives his feet some extra cushion.
For Elllsbury, getting back in time to play the final four regular season games was ideal. It went just as the doctors predicted it would.
"That was important to me, to get back as soon as possible and get in some games before the postseason starts. Definitely very pleased," he said.