Jacoby Ellsbury has been slowed lately due to injury, and Shane Victorino has spent some time in center on days Ellsbury needs off. Victorino has been great defensively for the Boston Red Sox this year, but not so much in center field.
In the Detroit Tigers‘ series, Jose Iglesias hit a line drive to center field and Victorino took a horrible route, allowing it to get past him for an easy double. Then, Friday night, against the New York Yankees, Brett Gardner hit a line drive to center, where Victorino took a poorly judged dive for the ball, allowing it to get passed him, giving Gardner to roll into third with a triple.
Jackie Bradley Jr. was originally expected to stay with Pawtucket through the AAA playoffs, but was recalled on Saturday to play center field. Bradley has proven he has the defensive prowess to be a quality MLB center fielder, but has yet to prove his ability with the bat. Regardless, he will have to be a key piece for the Red Sox down the stretch.
Ellsbury flew back to Boston Saturday, wearing a protective boot on his right foot, to undergo more tests. Doctors are performing multiple tests on his right foot that has been giving him trouble since fouling a ball off the foot against the Baltimore Orioles back on August 28.
In addition to the defensive value Ellsbury brings to the Red Sox, he has been stealing bases all season, leading the American League with 52 steals. Quintin Berry is the only other real threat to steal a bag on the Red Sox roster.
The Red Sox do not need to rush Ellsbury back, but they do need him healthy come playoff time. After the win against the New York Yankees Saturday, the Red Sox have lowered the magic number needed to win the division to just 12.