Initial reports on Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury‘s partially separated shoulder said anything from six weeks to the rest of the season. Thankfully, the optimists prevailed. It looks like Ellsbury will be out six to eight weeks, the typical recovery time according to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
Ellsbury was injured while trying to break up a double play in the fourth inning Friday’s 12-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Rays infielder Reid Brignac fell down on Ellsbury during the takeout, causing the injury.
The Red Sox will consider a number of options to take Ellsbury’s spot in the meantime. Prospect Che-Hsuan Lin was called up for Saturday’s game, but was optioned back to Pawtucket before today’s game. Jason Repko and Nate Spears were recalled to the Red Sox roster, with Repko starting today’s game in center field. Carl Crawford, who has been sidelined since the start of spring training while recovering from wrist surgery, may return sooner than expected, but until then, expect a mix-and-match arrangement in the outfield between Repko, Spears, Darnell McDonald, Cody Ross, and Ryan Sweeney.
As for who will bat leadoff, that role will presumably be filled by shortstop Mike Aviles, who batted in the one-slot Saturday and takes that place again today. Aviles had normally been the ninth-place hitter, but yesterday hit his first home run from the leadoff spot. He also has four runs batted in and a .296 average on the young season.
It is interesting to note that New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter sustained this same injury on Opening Day in 2003, but Steven Goldman of Bleacher Report points out that the Yankees captain returned to the lineup almost exactly six weeks later. Given Ellsbury and Jeter’s similar physiques, playing styles, and abilities, Red Sox fans wouldn’t be out of line to expect their 30-30 man back in a similar amount of time.