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Red Sox pregame notes: Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia both managing injuries; Clay Buchholz to pitch Thursday

09.03.13 at 6:28 pm ET
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The Red Sox lineup is depleted on Tuesday, as both Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are sidelined by injuries. Ellsbury came out of Sunday’s game after getting jammed on a couple of pitches, resulting in discomfort and swelling in his left hand. Though he played on Monday, the Sox felt that it made sense to rest him on Tuesday, even though he’s enjoyed tremendous success (5-for-9 with a homer and three walks) against Tigers starter Max Scherzer. While Sox manager John Farrell said that Ellsbury should be back in the lineup on Wednesday, he also acknowledged that the condition is one with which the center fielder will have to play for the rest of the year.

“He came out of the game the other night after having a couple of at-bats where he was jammed pretty good and the bat jammed into that thumb-palm area of his left hand and once again yesterday, and we felt like this was a day he needed to try to get ahead of it,” said Farrell. “Everyday players at this time of the year are going to be dealing with certain things. His happens to be in his left hand.

“We fully expect it to be something he’ll manage the rest of the way,” Farrell continued. “We’re hopeful and expect him to play tomorrow, but I don’t think it’s going to be gone overnight.”

While Ellsbury is expected back on Wednesday, that will not be the case for the Sox catcher. Saltalamacchia, according to Farrell, had been dealing with lower back soreness that increasingly became an issue in recent days. Saltalamacchia had gone 0-for-14 in his previous four games (likely contributing to the decision to have him bunt in the seventh inning of Monday’s game), and according to Farrell, his physical woes had become visible both in his plate appearances and his transfer from glove to hand behind the plate. Thus, the decision was made to give the 28-year-old — who has already played in a career-high 106 games behind the plate — at least a couple of days off.

“He’s dealing with some low back soreness that’s likely going to need two or three days to try to get ahead of it. That’s what we have planned for him over the next three days here,” said Farrell. “Over the past three or four days, it’s started to rear its head a little more than some general soreness that guys are dealing with. Throughout the course of yesterday’s game, it became apparent that he needed a little bit more of a breather.”

OTHER RED SOX NOTES

Clay Buchholz will make his next rehab start on Thursday in Rochester, N.Y., for Triple-A Pawtucket in its playoff game. He had originally been scheduled to pitch on Sept. 4, but with his wife due to deliver the couple’s second child on Wednesday, the decision was made to move back the right-hander’s third (and likely final) rehab start by a day. Still, Buchholz would be ready to return as soon as the Sox’ series opener against the Rays in Tampa Bay on Sept. 10, though Farrell said that the team would wait for Buchholz to make his next start before finalizing its decision as to the timing of his return to the big leagues.

Shane Victorino has been hit seven times in 64 plate appearances as a right-handed hitter facing right-handed pitching. That helps to explain his robust .422 OBP (well above his .327 average) given that he’s walked just twice in right-on-right at-bats. How to explain the frequency of his plunkings?

“He stands about three inches from the plate. You’re probably going to get clipped every now and then. That’s what’s taken place,” said Farrell. “If you watch video, yeah, he handles the ball middle and away, so they’re going to try to run some pitches in on him, but it hasn’t been only his sinker as it was yesterday. It’s been some curveballs that haven’t gotten to the spot where he’s been hit on the left shoulder. I can’t say it’s because he’s moved to the right side of the plate and pitchers are unfamiliar with him over there because some of these pitchers he has no history with. It’s a matter of him crowding home plate.”
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