BOSTON -- Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who has played only nine games this season because of fractured ribs, will be activated from the disabled list Wednesday and is expected to be in Boston's starting lineup for the third game of the series against the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park.
Manager Terry Francona confirmed after Tuesday night's 3-1 win that Ellsbury, who has been on the DL since May 28, will be rejoining the Sox. Francona said a corresponding move would be made at some point Wednesday; it's likely Daniel Nava, who was recalled earlier this week, will be returned to Pawtucket.
Ellsbury capped his six-game rehab assignment with a 3-for-5 outing for Pawtucket on Tuesday afternoon.
Ellsbury has been hampered since breaking several ribs in a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre in April. He was out of the lineup from April 12 to May 22, then lasted only a few days before returning to the DL on May 28.
Ellsbury's time on the DL included apparent issues between the club and Ellsbury about the original diagnosis of the injury, questions about why he was not with the team during his time out, and whispers that he wasn't pushing to return. But the bottom line is that Ellsbury will be back and can offer an extra dimension to a Red Sox team trying to catch the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays for a playoff spot.
Boston is in third place in the tough American League East, 6 ½ games behind the division-leading Rays and 5 ½ behind the Yankees in the wild-card standings.
Ellsbury swiped a team-record 70 bases a year ago, leading the majors in steals. His speed will be a welcome addition.
"We're hoping he brings something to our lineup that has been missing, that threat of running," said Francona. "When he's healthy, pitchers know what he can do and that gives us a different look that the other team has to respect."
"He gives us a little more flexibility in our lineup," said Mike Lowell, who came off the DL and clubbed the decisive two-run homer in Tuesday night's win while replacing injured Kevin Youkilis [thum] on the roster.
"Jacoby is a good base-stealer. He puts a lot of pressure on their defense. Pitchers feel that pressure every time he's on base," added Lowell. "We're hoping his energy will give us a boost. We need one."