Jacoby Ellsbury was out of the lineup again for the Boston Red Sox as they faced the New York Yankees this weekend; word came out on Sunday that he has a compression fracture in his right foot. Currently, it is thought that he will return at some point this season, but he will be out for an extended period of time. This is an injury that could have some serious implications for Boston and their postseason chances.
Ellsbury initially hurt his foot when he fouled a ball off of it a few weeks ago, and then aggravated it when he stole a base during Thursday night’s game against the Yankees. One major concern regarding the injury is that it involves the Navicular bone, which is the same sort of injury that Dustin Pedroia had in 2010 that cost him a huge amount of the season. Cody Ross also had the same sort of injury last year, and he was out about a month. There are two huge concerns regarding this situation.
One major aspect, perhaps the major aspect of Ellsbury’s game, is his speed; he currently leads the majors in stolen bases with 52. Not being able to run at full speed takes a lot of his skill set away and Boston will be without an incredibly dynamic leadoff hitter. His speed and ability to get on base are what has helped Boston’s offense; speed can be very important to a team come October, when the pitching gets better and runs become much harder to come by. Speed can also create a lot of trouble for opposing pitchers, and having Ellsbury was a very powerful weapon for Boston. If he is out for any period of time, Boston’s chances in the postseason do not look as good as they once did. For all the stolen bases that Boston has, not having Ellsbury pretty much limits it to a banged-up Shane Victorino and Pedroia.
Another concern is the fact that you have Jackie Bradley Jr. waiting in the wings if Ellsbury is out for any period of time. However, the question is, can Bradley handle potentially being in the postseason if Ellsbury is out for a long period of time? From what it seems, Bradley is one cool customer, but the postseason is a different animal. He has looked better at the plate recently, but he is no Ellsbury, and he also isn’t as fast. Ellsbury also has postseason experience.
Boston may just be being cautious because they have built a big lead in their division, which gives them some luxury in letting Ellsbury heal. However, this injury could be a serious blow for Boston for the last few months.