ST. PETERSBURG -- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said
before his club's optional workout at Tropicana Field
on Thursday that "all signs point" to center
fielder Jacoby Ellsbury being activated for Friday's
second-half opener against the Rays.
Ellsbury, who hasn't played for Boston since April 13,
with a partially dislocated right (non-throwing) shoulder
took part in the workout but declined to address the media
before and afterward.
"It's huge," outfielder Cody Ross said of
Ellsbury's return. "To get a player of his caliber
back right when we need it, it should be a huge boost for
us and hopefully be a catalyst."
Valentine didn't want to speculate about how
Ellsbury's three-month absence will or won't affect
him on the field, and he didn't expect his club to feel
immediately revitalized with the 2011 American League MVP
runner-up back on the field and atop the lineup.
"I think just having him for the rest of the season is
what it's all about," Valentine said. "I
don't know if [missing three months is] a disadvantage
or it's an advantage. We'll figure that out.
I'll bet you some guys have come back and felt they
couldn't get going, and some guys have come back and
were a step ahead."
• Second baseman Dustin Pedroia (sprained right thumb) took
batting practice during Thursday's workout at Tropicana
Field, hitting a few pitches over the fences.
"It's a good sign. He feels a lot better, and
he's going to ramp up his activity over the
weekend," general manager Ben Cherington said.
"Hopefully, if all goes well, he'll be able to
join us on or not too long after his eligible date."
• Third baseman Will Middlebrooks (sore left hamstring)
participated in Thursday's workout and should be ready
to return, as expected, for Friday's series opener
against the Rays. Manager Bobby Valentine said before the
workout that Middlebrooks was "real close."
• Valentine said the premiere of "Ballplayer:
Pelotero," a documentary he produced about baseball in
the Dominican Republic, went well, though he was "a
little" surprised by the comments made by Commissioner
Bud Selig. In Kansas City on Tuesday, Selig said the film
contained "a lot of things that were inaccurate."
• Valentine said the six-man rotation the Red Sox will
utilize coming out of the break is "probably"
just a temporary thing and a way to keep his starters fresh
with a longer break.
• Twenty-one of the 25 players on Boston's active
roster were at Thursday's optional workout at Tropicana
Field. Josh Beckett, Aaron Cook, Vicente Padilla and David
Ortiz, who is coming off the All-Star Game, were not in
Adam Berry is a
reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This
story was not subject to the approval of Major League
Baseball or its clubs.