BOSTON -- The Red Sox center-field situation remains unstable, to say the least.
Mike Cameron did not play Tuesday night and will see a specialist Wednesday morning because of soreness related to his abdominal tear. Cameron underwent an MRI on Tuesday and was seen by Red Sox medical director Dr. Thomas Gill, but Francona admitted after Tuesday night's game that Cameron was in "a lot of pain.''
The pain, Francona said, is on the opposite side of the abdomen from where Cameron sustained his original injury, which kept him sidelined for five weeks and 34 games this season.
"Some of that excitement we felt Sunday [when Cameron had two doubles, walked and drove in two runs] was tempered today,'' Francona said before the game.
"I was in pain Sunday night when I got into bed and my wife was asking, 'What's going on? Why are you tossing and turning in the bed all night long?' It kept going and it was abnormal for me to have those types of things that I felt when I was trying to go to sleep," Cameron said.
It was a clear sign of trouble that Cameron wasn't able to play even though the Sox had Monday off. It certainly underscores the likelihood that this will be something that Cameron will be dealing with all summer.
"It's kind of crazy and unfortunate," Cameron said. "It's one of those things and I can't pinpoint the reason. Everybody asks me when I feel it, and I never feel it when I'm playing. When I'm done, I'm dying with the pain in my back."
Darnell McDonald started in center field Tuesday night. But earlier in the day, the Red Sox made a minor-league roster move that might have implications for the big-league club. The Sox promoted 22-year-old outfielder Ryan Kalish from Double-A Portland to Triple-A Pawtucket, where Kalish made his debut Tuesday night playing center field -- Josh Reddick's regular position for the PawSox.
Kalish had played just seven games in center for Portland, splitting most of his time between right field (18 games) and left (14). But while Reddick has struggled offensively (.191 in 44 games), Kalish has been on a tear for Portland, batting .293 with a .527 slugging percentage in 41 games, with 8 home runs and 29 RBIs.
He went 0 for 4 for the PawSox Tuesday night, but made two diving catches.
Jacoby Ellsbury, meanwhile, hit in the batting cage Tuesday, according to Francona, but it's clear the Sox will proceed more cautiously this go-round after it was determined last week that Ellsbury came back too soon from his fractured ribs. He returned to the 15-day disabled list on Friday after seeing a thoracic specialist who informed him that while his four fractured ribs appeared to be healing "faster than normal," playing had worsened his condition.
"It's kind of basically what he can handle not just on a daily basis, but repeating it and then taking it out and competing,'' Francona said. "We've run every test imaginable to rule out [the causes]. What it comes to, as we've said all along, is symptoms. If it hurts and gets in the way, it hurts and gets in the way. So you have to treat it accordingly.''
No one is predicting when Ellsbury will return. He told ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald that another rehab assignment has not been discussed.
Ellsbury finds it ludicrous that anyone would suggest he has a reputation in the Sox organization for being "soft," an opinion that has espoused in some circles.
"I dive for balls, I run into walls, I slide hard into bases. The fans have been behind me. They know what the deal is,'' said Ellsbury.
The "soft" reputation began when Ellsbury was in the minor leagues, according to his critics. Sox first-base coach Ron Johnson, who managed Ellsbury in Pawtucket, strongly disagreed. "I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum on that one,'' he said. "First of all, he hardly was hurt when he played for me, and I remember one time when he had a hammy, I thought as a speed guy it would take him a lot longer to come back, and he came back quicker than we expected.''
Ellsbury ranked second on the team in innings played last season (1302), trailing only Dustin Pedroia (1346). He was third in 2008, his rookie season, when, according to ESPN's McDonald, a couple of the veterans spoke with him about the importance of playing through small aches and pains.
Gordon Edes is ESPNBoston.com's Red Sox reporter. He has covered the Red Sox for 12 years and has reported on baseball for 25 years. ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald contributed to this report.