Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury could return to the lineup as early as Wednesday after groin tightness forced him to sit out the entire three-game series against the Yankees over the weekend.
Ellsbury did some running in the outfield and took batting practice in the cage before Tuesday night’s series opener with the Texas Rangers.
“Jacoby was on the field today,” said manager John Farrell. “Did some running, some more functional activity. We’re hopeful that this takes a complete turn over the next couple of days, and that’s not ruling out his being in the lineup tomorrow.
“We had to get him through some functional testing today, then see how he responds to that and how he feels tomorrow. So tomorrow is still a possibility for him to be back in center field.”
With an off day Monday, Ellsbury had four days to nurse the injury. Farrell said it’s unlikely that Ellsbury will need a stint on the disabled list, which is already more crowded than the Sox would like.
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who was placed on the disabled list May 24 with a low back strain, will begin a four-game rehab assignment in Pawtucket Tuesday night. He is eligible to be activated Saturday, and Farrell said the team will evaluate him at the end of the week.
After initially testing out his strained left hamstring in New York, right fielder Shane Victorino was on the field as well Tuesday, doing sprints. Victorino was placed on the disabled list retroactive to May 21.
“Shane got up to about 80 percent intensity today,” Farrell said. “We’re hopeful that he’s out on a rehab assignment sometime here before the week is out.”