Red Sox manager Terry Francona was finally able to insert outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury back in the lineup tonight. He is playing center field and batting leadoff.
To make room for Ellsbury on the roster, the Sox designated outfielder Jonathan Van Every for assignment. The 30-year-old Van Every has appeared in 22 games with Boston since he was acquired from Pittsburgh on April 24. He has gone 4-for-19 (.211) with a double, home run, RBI, six runs and two walks.
Here are a few other pregame notes:
No cause for concern: It’s not too often you see Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia in a slump. Because of that, Francona said he’s not concerned that Pedroia is 1-for-11 in his last three games. “He won’t be in it very long,” Francona said. “Sometimes when we’re not scoring, he takes the burden and you can see it in his swings. It’s a great quality, but sometimes it gets you into a little bit of trouble in your at-bats.”
Varitek gets the start: With Tim Wakefield starting on Sunday, Francona thought it best to have Jason Varitek catch Matsuzaka tonight, so Victor Martinez can serve as the knuckleballer’s batterymate tomorrow.
Cameron gets day off: Red Sox rehabbing outfielder Mike Cameron (abdominal tear) was given the day off at his rehab assignment with Double-A Portland. He is scheduled to play on Sunday and he will be re-evaluated.
Big Mac: With Ellsbury back for the first time since April 11 after a stint on the DL with a hairline fracture in four ribs on his left side, Darnell McDonald’s playing time will be limited. The journeyman outfielder has been a spark for the Sox since he was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on April 20. He has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games. Overall, he’s hitting .266 with three homers and 11 RBIs with the Sox.
In his Sox debut, he produced a game-tying pinch-hit two-run homer in the eighth inning against the Rangers and then ended the game with a two-out walk-off single in the ninth.
“Right away he got some big hits for us and he hit left-handers especially well. He made some intelligent strong throws,” said Francona. “When you reach down to Triple-A, I don’t know if you’re going to get a guy who hits .380 and wins the Gold Glove. I thought he did a really good job. He showed up and tried to win. It was impressive.”