Lowell, Ellsbury sit

The Red Sox will begin a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves tonight without center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and third baseman Mike Lowell, and there is question as to whether the latter will play at all this weekend.

“I really don’t know. We’ll see,” Sox manager Terry Francona said in his customary pregame briefing just a short time ago. “We’ll kind of go day-by-day and see how he’s feeling.’’

Translation: Bet on the conservative route. Thanks to interleague play, the Sox can rest Lowell now and keep both David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis in the lineup. The Sox will return to American League rules Monday, when they begin a three-game series at Baltimore.

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As for Ellsbury, his elbow swelled up following a mishap in Thursday’s night’s game at Washington. According to Francona, Ellsbury informed the club that his elbow was sore earlier today, necessitating the decision to play Mark Kotsay in center field.

“I think he’s available,’’ Francona said of Ellsbury. “I don’t know that we really wanted to start him. Hopefully we’ll put him in late for defense.”

We’ll have additional updates throughout the game, as always.

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