Red Sox CF Jackie Bradley Jr. has sprained right knee ligament

DETROIT -- Jackie Bradley Jr. thinks he can avoid a trip to the disabled list. Just to be sure, the Red Sox are sending their center fielder back to Boston.

Bradley was diagnosed Sunday with a sprained ligament in his right knee, the result of losing his footing while rounding first base in the ninth inning one day earlier. The knee appeared stable upon an initial examination by doctors at Comerica Park, but after he woke up Sunday with swelling and stiffness, Bradley went for an MRI that revealed inflammation on the outside of the knee capsule and the sprained ligament.

The Red Sox plan to have Bradley see team physician Dr. Peter Asnis in Boston on Monday before deciding if he will need to go on the 10-day disabled list.

"I think it's just to have extra eyes on it, have our doctors look at it and go from there," Bradley said after sitting out the Red Sox's come-from-behind 7-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers. "I feel a lot better. I already got some treatment on it. Feel like it's going in the right direction."

Bradley had struck a similarly upbeat tone Saturday after twisting his knee awkwardly and falling to the dirt. He walked off the field under his own power and said he "absolutely" would be able to play Sunday, joking that his legs can hold up under anything because "I'm built like Secretariat."

Red Sox manager John Farrell said the team would withhold a decision on Bradley's status until he sees the doctors at home. Bradley suggested the Sox want to make sure he can't do additional damage by playing through the injury.

"I feel like I can move around pretty good," Bradley said. "I think that's why they want the doctors to see it to kind of determine how much leeway they're going to let me have."

Steve Selsky started in center field in Bradley's place Sunday. Veteran outfield Chris Young also has considerable experience in center, but if Bradley is sidelined for a lengthy period of time, rookie Andrew Benintendi likely would move over from left field.

Bradley's absence coincided with the return of star right fielder Mookie Betts, who rejoined the Red Sox here Saturday and was cleared to play after missing three games with flu-like symptoms. Designated hitter/first baseman Hanley Ramirez remains in Boston with the flu and likely won't rejoin the team until Tuesday at Fenway Park.