During this afternoon’s 12-2 Red Sox victory over the Rays, star Boston center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury left the game in the fifth inning with an injury to his right shoulder. Ellsbury was able to walk off the field under his own power, and underwent tests at an area hospital after the game.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said that went he met Ellsbury at second base after the injury, his center fielder was in a lot of pain. Valentine then added that he is “preparing for someone else to get here tomorrow”, reports CBS’s Jon Heyman.
A serious injury to Ellsbury is something that the Red Sox can ill afford. He missed a majority of the 2010 season, and the team struggled with the position all year, filling the void mainly with Mike Cameron, Darnell McDonald, and Ryan Kalish. Looking at that trio in 2012, Cameron is retired, Kalish is on the 60-day DL with a shoulder injury, and McDonald is still around as the team’s fourth outfielder and backing up at all three positions. McDonald could slot into center and well….he could at least prevent the team from having to make a trade to fill the position.
Down in AAA Pawtucket, the only outfielder on Boston’s 40-man roster is Che-Hsuan Lin, who has a .611 OPS in 6 games so far this season, and had a .644 OPS in 116 games last year. Boston’s 40-man roster is full, so if they were to add someone else from AAA (like Daniel Nava, who had some time in the majors, or veteran journeyman Jason Repko), they’d need to make a corresponding move. Boston also has the option of just rolling with an outfield of Cody Ross, McDonald, and Ryan Sweeney, with Lin as the rarely used fourth outfielder, until Carl Crawford is ready to come off of the DL. Crawford’s elbow is now bothering him in addition to the wrist he was rehabbing, so it’s unsure when he’ll be ready. He is going to start DHing in extended spring games this weekend, but the major issue is on the field, where his elbow is hurting when he throws.
Essentially, if Ellsbury’s shoulder injury is serious at all, the Red Sox are going to be in serious trouble, especially with Kalish and Crawford also hurt. A long season in Boston might be getting a lot longer.