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Jacoby Ellsbury to return Wednesday

Boston Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who has missed the past 16 games with a small fracture in the navicular bone of his right foot, has been cleared to return to the lineup Wednesday, manager John Farrell said Tuesday night.

"He's likely to start in center field, leading off," Farrell said after the Red Sox's 8-3 loss to the Colorado Rockies.

Ellsbury, who took batting practice Tuesday, has been out since Sept. 5 while the bruising and inflammation around the break subsided. He began running and hitting this past weekend, and has said he is confident he will be at 100 percent in time for the playoffs.

After Wednesday's game in Denver, the Red Sox are off Thursday, then close the regular season with three games in Baltimore. They will open the playoffs Oct. 4.

Ellsbury, who is eligible for free agency following this season, is hitting .299 with a major league-leading 52 stolen bases in 131 games.

Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com contributed to this report.