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John Farrell: Decision on DL stint for Jacoby Ellsbury coming soon

06.05.13 at 3:11 pm ET
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In his weekly sitdown with “Salk & Holley,” Red Sox manager John Farrell hinted the team is getting closer to making a decision on whether or not outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury could be placed on the disabled list, and also talked about a potential platoon on the left side of the infield.

Ellsbury, who isn’t in the lineup for Wednesday’s game against the Rangers, could be placed on the 15-day DL later this week if his health doesn’t improve.

“Jacoby, while he’s not in the lineup again tonight, he’s making progress,” Farrell said. “With Jacoby’s situation, as we used with Shane [Victorino] before, when we get past that halfway mark with what the 15-day DL would have been like, or span, ten we start to seriously consider the DL. And that day is coming — it’s Thursday or Friday of this week. if he’s not ready to go, we’ve probably got to take a look at a roster move in that situation.”

Farrell did say that there’s been improvement in Ellsbury’s health since he went down with the groin injury.

“He suffered a pretty good strain in the groin on that fifth stolen base,” Farrell said of the May 31 game when Ellsbury set a team-record with five steals in a game against the Phillies. “And after the game that night, we ended up busing up to New York overnight. It continued to get more stiff and more painful. It’s a legitimate deal he’s dealing with. And yet, he’s making improvement. He did get out and run yesterday on the outfield — very controlled. Not the 80 to 90 percent that you’d like to see before considering getting him back in the lineup. While progress is being made, he still needs a a little bit of time.

“Any time you lose a player to injury, it’s always disappointing, particularly the way in Jake’s case he really started to turn the corner,” Farrell added. “You look at two road-trips ago when we finished up in Chicago, he was starting to get on base multiple times a game. He continued on the home stand. He took over that game in terms of getting on base — the last game that he played — getting on base and the stolen bases that he was able to successfully swipe. he was back to that dynamic leadoff guy we know him for. And you know what? He’s out of the lineup. But we’re finding a way to plug guys in and are doing an excellent job. You know, the depth of this team is really starting to show by the performances of a number of individuals.”

Farrell defended Ellsbury, saying he “definitely” considers the outfielder a tough player.

“You have to keep in mind that the things he’s suffering are legitimate,” Farrell said. “Broken bones and torn muscles, those are things that take away from a player’s game. Everyone is going to point to, ‘Well, Dustin Pedroia can play with the injured thumb that he went through.’ Every player is different. In Jake’s own right, and in defense of Jake, he has suffered legitimate things that he’s dealing with. And the fact is, a lot of his game is based on speed and it’s based on range in the outfield, and when your groin or your legs are involved, it’s going to take away from it.”

The recent red-hot streak of Jose Iglesias and the pending return of Will Middlebrooks could also set up some personnel decisions for Farrell and the Red Sox when it comes to the left side of the infield.

“Will started his rehab [at Pawtucket] last night — he went 1-for-3 with a walk last night and he came out of it feeling fine. He’ll extend that out to about seven innings of work tonight in Pawtucket,” he said. “Shane Victorino is making very good progress — he will start his rehab tomorrow and likely get a minimum of three games down there. We’ll look to get him a day in the outfield, DH a day and then another day in the outfield.

“Jose has done a very good job. That speaks for itself. What we have to determine is, if he remains with us in that utility role, we’ve got to be sure that we can get a minimum of two days a week on the field. We can find matchups to do that. So that involves Middlebrooks, [Stephen] Drew, Iglesias in that three-for-two slot on the left side of that infield.”

As for Middlebrooks, Farrell said he’d like to get him back on a bit of a roll.

“I think the one thing we’ve outlined clearly to Will is that this rehab assignment is not only to make sure that the back issues are behind him, to get his timing back, but also, to make sure that gets into a good timing and a good place, as far as offensive production,” he said. “We didn’t set a timeline on when his return would be. We want to make sure that he comes back to us on a little bit of a roll, because when you look at our lineup, we need that right-handed bat to balance out how well we played against right-handed starters. When we’ve gone up against left-handed starters, we’ve been challenged a little bit.That right-handed bat is critical for us.

“What he did last year is just that — he did it last year. He’s had glimpses of it this year where he’s really driven the ball well. The key we’ll look for is: Is he consistently driving the ball into right-centerfield? If he’s doing that, the ball is traveling deep in the strike zone, he’s seeing it well, and that’s when he’s swinging his best.”

Farrell also talked about Tuesday’s blowout of the Rangers.

“Just a very good offensive night,” he said. “You look at the number of hard hit balls throughout the course of the game, and I think the one thing that’s been the most impressive is the way we’ve been able to get information on first-time starters against us. Last night, obviously is another one in Grimm, a guy we faced for the first time. And I think our guys have done a very good job of preparing for what they might anticipate, both in terms of the type of stuff and the given sequences a young pitcher looks to use. Because of their work and their preparation, they’ve been ready to roll and they’ve swung the bat very well against the young starters we’ve faced for the first time.

“I think the thing I go back to is what Jose Iglesias and Jackie Bradley Jr. are doing in the bottom-third of the order. And anytime we can have that kind of contribution from that part of the order. Whether it’s been Ciriaco on certain occasions, along with Jose, whether it’s been Stephen Drew when he’s been down in that part of the order, that kind of production — multihits from a couple of guys in that bottom third, certainly, that extends the whole lineup. And it usually means it’s a day when you’ve got multiple runs on the board in an inning, and that was again the case last night.”

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