Jacoby Ellsbury is a big reason the Boston Red Sox are closing in on a playoff trip. Now, they can only hope he’ll be back in time to join them.
The center fielder has a broken right foot, leaving the American League East leaders without a key offensive catalyst as they try to wrap up the division title.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said the team thinks Ellsbury will be back this year — hopefully in the regular season. But there was no specific timetable for his return, and the speedy leadoff hitter will keep wearing a protective boot on his injured foot for five days.
“After that, we’ll see how he responds to treatment and how he’s feeling,” Farrell said after Sunday’s 4-3 loss to the New York Yankees.
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Ellsbury had a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam Saturday and returned to Boston for further examination. Then he went to Colorado to get a second opinion from foot specialist Dr. Thomas Clanton at The Steadman Clinic. Farrell said tests confirmed the diagnosis of a compression fracture, which means it’s non-displaced.
Ellsbury leads the majors with 52 stolen bases in 56 attempts. He has scored a team-high 89 runs and is batting .299 with eight homers and 52 RBI.
“Obviously, it’s big. He’s a big part of this team,” said pitcher Jon Lester, a Bellarmine Prep product. “Hopefully, he’s a quick healer and he’ll be back soon for us.”
There was some good news for Boston, which began the day with the best record in the majors and an 81/2-game lead in the AL East: Clay Buchholz is ready to rejoin the rotation after missing three months because of a strained neck.
The right-hander said he threw about 30 pitches in a routine bullpen session at Yankee Stadium, his final hurdle before starting Tuesday night at Tampa Bay.
Struggling left-hander Felix Doubront will be skipped this time through the rotation.
Buchholz will be followed by Ryan Dempster and Jake Peavy against the second-place Rays. Farrell said he probably would not use Doubront out of the bullpen.
“I think for this time through we’ll stay away from him for now just to give him, we feel, the rest needed,” Farrell said.
Buchholz is 9-0 with a 1.71 earned-run average in 12 starts this season. He last pitched in the majors June 8.
SEASON IN JEOPARDY
Mets pitcher Matt Harvey will have his sore right elbow examined by Dr. James Andrews to help determine if the 24-year-old needs reconstruction surgery.
Mets manager Terry Collins said he thought Harvey would be examined this week, but no date has been set.
Harvey was placed on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 27 because of a partial ligament tear. He tweeted last month that he planned on being back from his injury in April, but if reconstruction surgery is required, he likely would miss all of next season.
Shortstop Derek Jeter was out of the Yankees’ lineup because of soreness in his surgically repaired left ankle. New York manager Joe Girardi said Jeter probably would be held out for a couple of days before further evaluation. … Astros pitcher Paul Clemens was scratched from his scheduled start against the Oaland Athletics because of a blister on his right hand. Lucas Harrell replaced him. … After facing the Giants, Diamondbacks infielder Cliff Pennington returned to Arizona to be with his wife, who will undergo induced labor Monday.