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Red Sox Pregame Notes: Clay Buchholz ‘stable’ with esophagitis; Red Sox may use six-man rotation; the outfielders are coming

06.26.12 at 6:30 pm ET
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Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz is expected to be released from the hospital on Tuesday night after being diagnosed with esophagitis.

The Red Sox released the following statement about the pitcher:

“Clay Buchholz has esophagitis which led to an erosion of the esophagus and an associated gastrointestinal bleed. He has been evaluated and observed at Mass General Hospital. Clay is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery.”

Web MD defines esophagitis as, “Esophagitis is an inflammation of the lining of the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. If left untreated, this condition can become very uncomfortable, causing problems with swallowing, ulcers, and scarring of the esophagus.”

Buchholz was scratched from his scheduled start Sunday and placed on the 15-day disabled list. Manager Bobby Valentine characterized his health as “stable,” and said that the pitcher is not considered seriously ill.

At a time when Buchholz is out, the Red Sox still have five starters on their major league roster — Jon Lester, Felix Doubront, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Franklin Morales and Aaron Cook — and the team will activate Josh Beckett from the 15-day disabled list during the weekend four-game series in Seattle. That, in turn, means that the Sox will have six potential starters, and Valentine left open the door for the team to employ a six-man rotation into the All-Star break. The team is currently seven games into a stretch of 16 games in as many days that will be followed by an off-day and then a four-game, three-day series (which will include a Saturday doubleheader) against the Yankees on the final weekend before the All-Star break. And so, the opportunity to give the members of the rotation extra rest while remaining on a relatively normal schedule could have appeal.

“I think there’€™s a situation where, depending on how we slot Josh in, I think it can benefit everyone to get a little creative there until the All-Star break,” said Valentine.

OTHER NOTES

— Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, out since April 13 after suffering a subluxation of his right shoulder, might be able to start playing in games on a minor league rehab assignment as soon as Friday, according to Valentine. At the beginning of his rehab assignment, which will commence with the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League Red Sox, Ellsbury will serve as a designated hitter.

Valentine characterized himself as “optimistic” but “cautious” about Ellsbury’s progress.

“I’€™m cautious but I think it’€™s great that we’€™ve gotten him to the point where he’€™s back on the field. That means you start looking forward to the time he’€™s on the field here,” said Valentine. “But he’€™s not on the field yet.”

Ellsbury was hitting .192 with a .300 OBP and .269 slugging mark at the time of his injury. When Ellsbury begins playing in games, it will start a 20-day clock for his participation in major league games, at the end of which — barring a physical setback — he would be expected to return to the Red Sox’ major league team.

— Outfielder Carl Crawford‘s scheduled rehab game with the GCL Sox was rained out for the second straight day. Valentine said that the left fielder had progressed to the point where he was expected to play in the field. Now, however, with rain pounding on Southwest Florida, the Sox are trying to figure out if it makes more sense to leave Crawford in Fort Myers or to move him to another, more advanced affiliate to continue his rehab, although given that rain is supposed to move up the East Coast, the team does not have a definitive plan regarding where — if anywhere — he would go.

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