Friday, August 13, 2010 Updated: August 14, 9:51 AM ET
Jacoby Ellsbury suffers another setback
By Joe McDonald ESPNBoston.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Just when the Boston Red Sox thought it couldn't get any worse -- it did.
Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury reinjured his ribs on the first play of Friday's game against the Texas Rangers -- a 10-9 loss thanks to Nelson Cruz's walk-off home run in the 11th inning -- when he collided with pitcher Tommy Hunter at first base and then fell to the ground and rolled.
Jacoby Ellsbury went flying at first base in the first inning against Texas, reinjuring his ribs.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona called the situation "concerning," and Ellsbury will return to Boston on Saturday morning for an MRI at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Ellsbury said as soon as he landed, he knew it wasn't good.
"I landed on my side and back and got that sharp pain in there," he said. "I tried to play through it. I didn't want to come out of the game, that was the biggest thing. Tito and I talked and he took me out, and we'll get it looked at tomorrow."
Francona originally said Ellsbury would travel to Los Angeles to be examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum, but that schedule quickly changed.
"I don't know for sure, but the team will be setting everything up," Ellsbury said. "I'm seeing a doctor in Boston."
This is the second time this season Ellsbury has suffered a setback of the original injury that occurred in a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre on April 11 in Kansas City.
"I really don't want to compare it," Ellsbury said. "Hopefully, we'll keep our fingers crossed and try to be optimistic about it."
Ellsbury remained in the game until after the Sox scored seven runs in the fourth inning to build an 8-2 lead. Francona and Ellsbury talked in the dugout and the decision was made to pull him.
"It's very concerning," Francona said. "The exam [head trainer] Mike [Reinold] gave him [when he was removed from the game] is very concerning. We'll get him looked at as quickly as we can, so we can try to make a decision going forward. He's pretty sore."
After the original injury, Ellsbury felt discomfort when he would take a deep breath. When asked if he was having trouble breathing following Friday night's incident, he didn't want to get into too much detail.
"I'm just trying to stay as positive as I can under these circumstances," he said. "Tomorrow I'll be under good care and we'll go from there."
Before he was cleared to be activated from the disabled list on Aug. 4, Ellsbury was told the only way he could re-injure his ribs was to have a similar collision to the original. Friday's incident was not similar, but he landed on the exact spot of his original fracture.
Ellsbury wasn't the only Red Sox player affected Friday night.
Infielder Jed Lowrie suffered heat exhaustion and was removed from the game, needing two IV bags to rehydrate. He looked ghostlike after the game and was even limping.
"I wasn't told specifically, but I felt like I was overheating and got a little dizzy," Lowrie said. "It was hot out there. It was hot. I was trying to do everything I could -- ice towels, staying hydrated -- but it caught up with me."
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Lowrie was pulled after the eighth inning.
"He wasn't doing too well," Francona said.
It gets worse.
Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez fouled a ball off his right foot in the top of the 11th inning and was clearly in pain. Francona said after the game that his catcher was sore, but Martinez said he was fine.
The Red Sox had an opportunity to gain some ground in the American League East standings, but they squandered another big lead for the second consecutive game and lost. While Francona is trying to stay positive, the players can only watch in disbelief.
"Dude, let me tell you, I don't understand it," said Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who hit his 26th homer of the season in the fourth inning. "I know it is what it is, but I've seen things this year that I have never seen before. Even our coaches are struggling. It's something you think, 'The coaching staff, too?' Unbelievable. Everything is happening to this team. Hopefully it'll all be over soon because you can't play baseball like that."
Ortiz mentioned the coaching staff because hitting coach Dave Magadan and first-base coach Ron Johnson are dealing with private family issues at this point, so it seems the entire club is dealing with adversity on and off the field.
"Unbelievable, man," Ortiz said.
But, wait, there is some good news.
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was cleared Friday to resume playing and will begin a brief, two-game minor league rehab stint with the Pawtucket Red Sox beginning Saturday at McCoy Stadium. He's scheduled to play second base on Saturday and will DH on Sunday. He'll have Monday off and will be activated on Tuesday.
The Red Sox desperately need him back in their lineup.
"Pedey is a big part of this team, man," Ortiz said. "I talked to Pedey [on Thursday] and I told him, 'Don't be stupid.' Coming back from an injury, you don't want to rush. When we get Pedey back, he brings that positive energy -- plus you add his game, it's a perfect fit."
At no point this season has Francona felt bad for himself or the club.
"No," he said. "We have to win tomorrow. That would be terrible leadership on my part."
Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox and Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.