It?s been a long season for Jacoby Ellsbury, but the speedy center fielder finally may be ready to return to the Red Sox — for more than three games.
Ellsbury started in Pawtucket on Saturday. Hitting leadoff, Ellsbury went 2-for-4 with two singles and a run scored. His return to Pawtucket came after a three-day stint in the Gulf Coast League, where Ellsbury finished 2-for-8 with three runs and a stolen base
He is scheduled to play again on Sunday and will be reevaluated following Sunday?s game.
Ellsbury first went on the disabled list on April 12, a day after he collided with Adrian Beltre and broke his ribs. Trying to rehab quickly, Ellsbury returned too soon. He reaggravated the rib injury diving for a fly ball and was placed back on the DL on May 28. He was just 1-for-14 in those three games.
Depending on how the evaluation goes, Ellsbury could be back in the bigs next week. It?s been a steep climb back, but Ellsbury is nearly at the top again.
Mike Lowell is no longer injured. He just isn?t playing. The veteran infielder completed his rehab assignment Wednesday, but he has yet to be activated.
There was speculation that the Red Sox were trying to swing a trade for Lowell, but the deadline has passed, and Lowell remains in Boston. That doesn?t mean the Red Sox won?t keep trying. Given the size of his contract, Lowell likely will clear waivers and could be traded before the Aug. 31 waiver deadline.
The Red Sox will certainly activate Dustin Pedroia as soon as he is ready, which could be sooner than initially predicted. The second baseman took a few days off following a discouraging meeting with Dr. Lewis Yocum in Anaheim on Monday but has since regained his confidence.
A CT scan on Friday showed promising progress for Pedroia?s fractured foot, news that excited manager Terry Francona.
"It went real well," Francona told MLB.com. "It showed significant healing. Not healed, but good healing. More importantly, I think his exam went really well. So he's got the go-ahead to start ramping up the running again. He did about 10-12 90 feet [running drills], and the idea is just to kind of keep building. I think he took some ground balls, too. He felt good. So that was good news."
In other good news, Jason Varitek is recovering nicely from his own foot fracture, first tossing his crutches and then shedding his walking boot on Saturday. CT scans revealed that the catcher remains ?weeks behind Pedroia,? but he can at least begin to start rehab activities.
?He's still a bit away from playing, for sure, but both reports came back really good," Francona said.