Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, out since April 13 after suffering a subluxation of his right shoulder, might be able to start playing in games on a minor league rehab assignment as soon as Friday, according to Sox manager Bobby Valentine. At the beginning of his rehab assignment, which will commence with the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League Red Sox, Ellsbury will serve as a designated hitter.
Valentine characterized himself as "optimistic" but "cautious" about Ellsbury's progress.
"I think it's great the he got himself back to the point where he can be back on the field," said Valentine.
Ellsbury was hitting .192 with a .300 OBP and .269 slugging mark at the time of his injury. When Ellsbury begins playing in games, it will start a 20-day clock for his participation in major league games, at the end of which -- barring a physical setback -- he would be expected to return to the Red Sox' major league team.
Meanwhile, outfielder Carl Crawford's scheduled rehab game with the GCL Sox was rained out for the second straight day. Valentine said that the left fielder had progressed to the point where he was expected to play in the field.
Starting pitcher Josh Beckett, meanwhile, will return to the rotation during the upcoming four-game series in Seattle this weekend.
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