BOSTON --Jacoby Ellsbury made his first appearance in several days Wednesday at Fenway Park, expressing confidence in his ability to return this season. Still, with just a little over a week left in the regular season, there is no timetable for the Red Sox center fielder to even resume baseball activities.
Ellsbury has not played since Sept. 5 due to a fracture in the navicular bone in his right foot. He has shed the walking boot that stabilized the foot and has been arriving early for exercise, trying his best to edge forward in the rehab process.
“I try to push the envelope with [the doctors],” Ellsbury said. “They always have to tell me to slow down, it does take time. I’m very hopeful I’ll be back playing soon.”
Ellsbury suffered the injury fouling a ball off his foot near the end of August. He played seven games with the pain before he, with the advice of the team’s medical staff, felt it was not an injury he could push through any longer. Running the bases in a series in New York did not help his cause.
Hindsight might suggest that shutting things down at the point of the initial injury might have spared Ellsbury and the team an uncertain recovery period right before the postseason. Ellsbury indicated that he was OK with the decision to press forward with the pain and attempt to play.
“When I did it, deep down I kind of knew something was wrong. But I didn’t want to get, I wanted to play,” he said. “It was just one of those things where the docs said you’ve got to give this thing some rest. You can’t push through this, you’ve got to give it time. But I’m very excited with the progress I’ve made. The doctors are very optimistic about coming back and playing.
“I wanted to play [after the initial injury]. First and foremost, I knew we were in a playoff race. So when I heard the news [of the fracture] they were surprised I was playing with it for that long. Like I said, I’ve got great information. The doctors have done a tremendous job. Very hopeful I’m back as soon as possible.”
Manager John Farrell said Ellsbury will begin baseball-related activities “when he’s ready to begin them.” He also indicated that he would like Ellsbury to get game action in before the postseason.
“I think we’re all envisioning him being back on the field before the regular season has concluded,” Farrell said. “I think it would go a long way in Jake getting some timing, some recent at-bats in all that. That won’t be the driving force in getting back on the field, his readiness will be it. I know the way Jake feels and what the medical reports have said. That’s all very realistic that he gets back to us.”
Ellsbury was 10-for-34 (.294) with a home run, two doubles and three stolen bases in those seven games after suffering the injury.