By the time the calendar flips to September, injuries become nearly unavoidable in major league clubhouses. Teams in the heat of a playoff race — as the Red Sox are currently — must walk the fine line between fielding the best possible starting nine and giving some of their more banged-up players the rest necessary to survive the home stretch
Both Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia were held out of Boston’s starting lineup Tuesday night against the Tigers, Ellsbury with pain in his left thumb/hand and Salty with soreness in his lower back.
Ellsbury’s injury stems from Sunday afternoon’s game against the White Sox, when the center fielder showed noticeable discomfort after being jammed by pitches on multiple occasions. Red Sox manager John Farrell does not expect Ellsbury to miss more than one game, but he acknowledged that he will likely have to play through some pain.
“We’re hopeful, and expect him to play [Wednesday],” Farrell said Tuesday afternoon. “But I don’t think [the soreness is] going to be gone overnight.”
Saltalamacchia’s injury will require a bit more maintenance, as Farrell said the plan is to give the catcher a couple of extra days of rest this week. The pain in his lower back is not the result of any specific incident, but it become more evident over the weekend, particularly when Salty was transferring the ball from his mitt to his throwing hand on stolen base attempts.
“He’s dealing with some low back soreness that is likely going to need two or three days to try to get ahead of it,” Farrell said. “So, that’s what we have planned for him over the next three days here.
“Over the last three or four days, it started to rear its head a little bit more than some general soreness that guys are dealing with. Throughout the course of [Monday's] game it became a little more apparent that he needed a breather.”
David Ross will start behind the plate Tuesday with Jon Lester on the mound, and Shane Victorino will shift into Ellsbury’s slots both in center and atop the batting order.