John Farrell Defends Jacoby Ellsbury’s Toughness, But Also Not Ruling Out DL Stint for Outfielder

Jacoby EllsburyJacoby Ellsbury will miss his fifth straight game on Wednesday, and John Farrell would like to make a decision soon.

Farrell appeared on WEEI’s Salk and Holley on Wednesday, and the Red Sox manager didn’t rule out placing Ellsbury on the 15-day disabled list later in the week if the outfielder’s health doesn’t continue to 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, then 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.”

Ellsbury injured his groin during a game against the Phillies on May 30. He slid into second base in the eighth inning to pick up his Red Sox single-game record-setting fifth stolen base, but catcher Erik Kratz’s throw ended up in center field, allowing Ellsbury to take third base. Ellsbury popped up to advance, and it was at that point that he suffered the injury.

Ellsbury missed the Red Sox’ entire three-game series with the Yankees, and he’ll now miss the first two games of their series against the Rangers. If Ellsbury needs more time to heal, it might make sense for the Sox to place him on the DL, retroactive to May 31, in order to add someone to their roster. Farrell is noncommittal thus far, though, because he has seen improvement in Ellsbury’s overall health.

“He suffered a pretty good strain in the groin on that fifth stolen base. And after the game that night, we ended up busing up to New York overnight. It continued to get more stiff and more painful,” Farrell said. “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 little bit of time.”

Ellsbury’s missed time has once again sparked the debate about his toughness — as is always the case when he’s sidelined. Farrell thinks questioning Ellsbury’s toughness is unfair, however, especially considering the injuries he has suffered during his career.

“I definitely consider him a tough player,” Farrell said. “You have to keep in mind the things that he’s suffering are legitimate. … I can’t say it’s because of, he’s not a durable player.”

Daniel Nava will continue to bat leadoff in Ellsbury’s absence, and he’s handled the duties well thus far.

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