Ellsbury at DH with 'leg situation'

BALTIMORE -- Bobby Valentine and the Boston Red Sox finally got a break from dealing with controversial subjects before Thursday's series finale.

No more talking about hush-hush meetings and how players and management felt about him. Instead, Valentine got to talk about lineup moves -- to an extent.

The skipper put leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury at designated hitter for the first time this season to take some pressure off a leg that's bothering him a bit.

"The last couple days we've just been concerned about the leg situation," Valentine said. "This is just ... being overly cautious and aware of the situation."

Valentine said the Sox didn't want to characterize exactly what the injury was, but Ellsbury wanted to play. He missed 79 games with a right shoulder subluxation, sitting out from April 14 to July 13. He's played in only 37 games so far this season, batting leadoff 36 times.

Ellsbury didn't have much to say before the game, either.

"I haven't done it lately, and [different] guys have been doing it," Ellsbury said about being DH. "My leg feels good. I played the last two nights on it."

Ellsbury brings a 38-game hitting streak against the Orioles into this game, something that goes back to 2009. He's got a .270 average with one home run and 11 RBIs overall so far in 2012.

The center fielder is coming off a big 2011 season. That's when Ellsbury ended up with a .321 average plus a career-best 32 homers and 105 RBIs. He also added 39 steals to give the Red Sox a spark time and again.

But Valentine said not to look at Ellsbury in a negative way because the numbers are a little down so far. Being out for three months is something that's not always an easy thing to recover from.

"I'm really glad that he's back," Valentine said. "His presence is very important on the team, and his production, I'm very satisfied with what he's doing. He's plenty good for me."

Valentine also said he's heard nothing else about the ejection of him and Adrian Gonzalez during Wednesday's game. Both complained to plate umpire Mike Everitt about Baltimore's Pedro Strop and a quick pitch. Everitt tossed both out.

"I'll bet there'll be a review of the situation, sometime, somewhere, probably wintertime," Valentine said. "I hope someone doesn't have to get hit in the head to understand the intent of the rule [which says quick pitches aren't allowed]."

Here's some other injury updates from Valentine:

Daisuke Matsuzaka (right upper trapezius strain). He pitched well in a rehab start Wednesday for Triple-A Pawtucket and gave up five runs on five hits in 5 2/3 innings in a 5-1 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He struck out five and walked two in a 97-pitch effort. Dice-K will pitch down there again, staying on the five-day rotation.

David Ortiz (right Achilles strain): He'll take batting practice Friday if he "feels as good today as he did yesterday." His situation remains up in the air.

Daniel Nava (left wrist sprain): He told Valentine he's 60 percent.