Which Injury Most Affects Red Sox?

No amount of Raid would be able to kill the giant injury bug that has infested the Red Sox clubhouse.

It seems every starter has come down with something, with only Marco Scutaro and Adrian Beltre able to avoid the DL. Then again, Beltre is the actual root of a few teammates’ injuries.

Jeremy Hermida has been out with broken ribs since June 11. Clay Buchholz just missed out on a chance at his 11th win thanks to a hamstring injury while running the bases on Saturday night. Heck, Jed Lowrie still hasn’t recovered fully from mono.

But trips to the DL for three players specifically have truly hurt Boston.

Second baseman and spark plug Dustin Pedroia followed up his three-home-run night by smacking the ball off his foot. He was placed on the 15-day DL on Saturday with a left foot fracture, the extent of which still remains uncertain. Pedroia will be evaluated further when the team returns home from its road trip on the West Coast.

The injury comes at a terrible time for Pedroia, who was erasing doubts after a forgettable May. His 12 homers and 41 RBIs were ahead of his career full-season averages of 16 home runs and 77 RBIs, and his ability to fill in at any place in the order — from the No. 2 spot to the No. 5 — has helped maintain some semblance of order in an injury-riddled lineup. Now, Pedroia is the latest on a long list of missing key players.

Josh Beckett has been battling back from a lower back strain since May 19. Though he threw a simulated game on Saturday, he won’t be returning before the All-Star Break. His injury interrupted a less-than-stellar start to the season. The big right-hander was only 1-1 with a 7.29 ERA in eight starts in the first six weeks of the season, but his exit threw a wrench in the starting five that manager Terry Francona had in mind.

Tim Wakefield has filled in admirably, but is just 2-6 with a 5.21 ERA on the year. Spot starts from minor leaguer Felix Doubront and Scott Atchison have kept the Red Sox treading water every fifth day, especially after Daisuke Matsuzaka also spent time on the DL.

Jacoby Ellsbury has had it worse than any expected starter, playing in only nine games this season. After returning from a long stint of rehab, the speedy center fielder reinjured his ribs diving for a ball and was placed back on the 15-day DL on May 29. The timetable for his return is unknown. With a revolving door of outfielders in Fenway this year, Ellsbury in center would be a welcome stability.

Though the Sox’ leadoff man carried a solid .355 on-base percentage in 2009, Boston has been able to drive in runs without him on base, topping the majors with 401 so far this year. But where Ellsbury is sorely missed is in the stolen base category; he swiped 120 bags in 2008 and 2009, and the Sox are third-to-last in the MLB in stolen bases this year with 27. Not having the usual guy lead off also carries a ripple effect for the rest of the lineup, forcing the other eight batters to readjust.

The Red Sox would love to have Pedroia, Beckett and Ellsbury back in the lineup, but right now, that’s not in the cards. But which injury most affects the team?

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