Pre-game medical report on the Sox

Let’s start with the most vexing issue first.

Jacoby Ellsbury: The outfielder said he felt fine and had a scheduled day off yesterday before feeling something on his left side after batting practice. That’s when the Sox changed plans and decided to retain Darnell McDonald.

Ellsbury had x-rays and a CT scan and was examined by Dr. Coco Eaton, the well-respected Rays team physician. According to Ellsbury, he has inflammation in roughly the same area as his fractured ribs.

The test results will journey to Boston with the Sox tonight to be studied by the doctors there. Ellsbury said he hoped the issue would be minor and not require a return to the disabled list.

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Ellsbury said he felt better this morning but when he tried to swing a bat at the ballpark this afternoon, “it started barking on me again.”

Terry Francona’s take:

“As far as his status goes, I don’t know that we know. He’s not going to play today. … I don’t know that anything really changes. We’re certainly going to try and have everything checked out. But it’s probably how he feels and if he feels something, we want to be careful. So that’s kind of where we’re at.”

Does that mean the DL?

“I hope not. I think before we say that, I’d like to know what it is first. He’s kind of doing a lot of guessing.”

Keep this in mind: When Ellsbury fractured his ribs on April 11, he was not put on the disabled list until April 20. The Red Sox played short-handed for eight days as they waited for Ellsbury to say he was ready. Finally they gave up and called up McDonald.

This time, they may not wait that long. With Mike Cameron back and McDonald a solid backup. perhaps Ellsbury will go back on the DL and the team will just move ahead without him. They were playing pretty well without him.

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As for the other injured players:

Victor Martinez (left big toe): He can swing a bat well but squatting behind the plate is an issue — unless he’s not wearing his spikes. He’s improving and the Sox for the moment see no need to add a third catcher as Martinez feels he could catch in an emergency.

“It’s obviously sore but I do think hes making progress,” Francona said. “The thing that’s really getting him is that he feels better without his shoe. It’s hard to figure out a way to get him in there without a shoe. But he is getting better.”

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J.D. Drew (hip flexor, hamstring, calf): He needed a day off and Francona decided it would be today rather than risk something getting worse. It’s a preventative measure more than anything else and it sounds like Drew will be back in the lineup tomorrow.

“This is a day where you take a day instead of having a guy go too far and having three or four,” Francona said. “The last couple of days, it’s been the hip. He’s done a good job of playing through it knowing that we needed him.”

Josh Beckett (bad back): Remains on track to throw a side session on Friday afternoon. He worked out again today and is making progress.

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