Pregame news and notes from Fenway

Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury didn’t sport a smile on his face but perhaps had an “I told you so” look when Texas center fielder and MVP candidate Josh Hamilton was diagnosed with two fractured ribs by a Los Angeles-area specialist and required an epidural and anti-inflammatory injection to relieve the intense pain.

Ellsbury has been widely accused of exaggerating the pain and discomfort from the fractured that limited him to 18 games this season. While his injury is one of many that crippled the Red Sox’s chances to win the AL East this season, he is expected to return to spring training at full health. And manager Terry Francona said Ellsbury will meet his personal Dec. 1 deadline to participate in baseball activities. “Oh yeah,” the manager said when asked whether Ellsbury will be ready to begin baseball workouts by that date.


Francona continued.

“He’s in the pool a lot. He’s not done baseball stuff. He’s not going to play. I don’t think there’s any reason to put him now. We tried it before, it didn’t work. There’s not an urgency to swing a bat.”

Meanwhile, Francona said reliever Felix Doubront (12 games, 2-2, 4.32 ERA) will begin playing catch tomorrow and could begin throwing in the 60 feet range next weekend. That obviously means the lefthander, who struck out 23 batters in 25 innings, won’t return this season. He hasn’t pitched since Aug. 31 because of a pectoral strain. Francona said the club would like to see him throw out of the bullpen as a progress report heading into the winter.

“We just want to make sure there’s not a recurrence or something that grabs. And then we’ll go from there,” Francona said. “Whether it’s Fort Myers. We’ll see how aggressive he gets before he leaves here. Just to know he could let it go.”

Francona also noted that outfielder Darnell McDonald is not a “one and done” in terms of playing in the major leagues. The manager believes McDonald (.275, 9 HR, 32 RBI, .437 SLG) could help the club next season. McDonald will be a free agent and likely will try to garner a guaranteed contract, perhaps as a utility outfielder.

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