Jacoby Ellsbury will likely remain out of the lineup for much of the next few weeks, as the speedy center fielder is in a walking boot for the next week thanks to the discovery of a compression fracture in the navicular bone in his right foot. Team officials, including Manager John Farrell, are expecting Ellsbury to return before the postseason begins according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.
Discomfort following Friday’s game first prompted Ellsbury to leave the team on Saturday, returning to Boston in order to undergo an MRI exam instead of playing in the team’s series finale against the New York Yankees. The MRI revealed inflammation near the navicular bone in his foot – the same bone that Dustin Pedroia broke during the 2010 season, causing him to miss two months. He was placed in a walking boot but the two sides wanted to obtain a second opinion before making any further decisions. That evaluation – by doctors in Denver, Colorado – uncovered the compression fracture. It remains unclear how the injury actually occurred.
Ellsbury has been in the midst of a strong bounceback season as he approaches free agency. He’s hit .299/.355/.424 in 624 PA. His power production hasn’t returned after the surprising 32 HR performance he posted in 2011, but he’s back to using his speed as a valuable asset – with 8 triples and a league-leading 52 stolen bases. Heading into a free agent class void of significant talent, Ellsbury arguably could be one of the top outfield options available on the open market assuming that teams are not scared off by his injury history.
Boston will have an interest in re-signing the Scott Boras client, but they aren’t expected to break the bank in order to retain his services. Jackie Bradley Jr. will be given the first crack at replacing him in the lineup and Shane Victorino also is capable of handling center field. Victorino has quietly had one of baseball’s top defensive seasons this year (if you subscribe to some of the advanced defensive metrics that are now available) so the team may prefer to leave him in right field.