Ellsbury 'very confident' he'll return before playoffs

Ellsbury 'very confident' he'll return before playoffs
September 18, 2013, 7:30 pm
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(USA Today Sports)

BOSTON --  Jacoby Ellsbury spoke to the media Wednesday afternoon for the first time since being sidelined with a fractured navicular bone in his right foot. Ellsbury was injured fouling off a ball on Aug. 28. He continued to play, but has not been in a game since Sept. 5.
 
He and the Red Sox remain optimistic he will return to the lineup in the regular season, which after Wednesday has nine games left.
 
“Making great progress,” Ellsbury said. “The doctors are pleased with how everything’s going. Taking it day by day but working hard to get back on the field.”
 
In 131 games this season, Ellsbury is batting .299 with a .355 on-base percentage, .424 slugging percentage, and  a major league-best 52 stolen bases in 56 attempts.  Asked how close he is to returning, Ellsbury replied:
 
“The doctors have laid out a plan for me. Each day I basically have a plan that I have to execute," Ellsbury said. "Basically following doctor’s orders pretty close. Each day I come in and just try to push through that.”
 
Ellsbury, who was in the Sox clubhouse Wednesday afternoon without the protective boot he has been wearing on his right foot, was asked how confident he is about returning.
 
“Very confident,” he said. “Doctor’s happy with my progress.”
 
He is doing physical activities, but no baseball activities yet.
 
“Doing a lot of different things,” he said. “I don’t want to get in the details of everything I’m doing, but getting in early just following the plan that the docs have set in place. Like I said, the docs are very pleased with how fast I’m going.
 
“We’re hopeful that I’ll be back playing.  I feel very confident and making quick progress.
 
“Just following the doctor’s orders.
 
“Each day I come in and try to push the envelope with them and try to get back on the field.
 
“It’s been the same thing. The docs are putting me on the fast track as far as the plan and getting back as soon as possible, at the same time just getting out there and playing like I can. I try to push the envelope with them," he said. "They always have to tell me to slow down, it does take time. I’m very hopeful I’ll be back playing soon.”
 
Manager John Farrell does not have a timetable for Ellsbury to begin baseball activities.
 
“I don’t have a specific date,” Farrell said. “He’ll begin them when he’s ready to begin them. There’s going to be further progression on the physical side of things now that he’s come out of the boot. He’s wearing that supportive insole in the right show. So, progress is clearly being made. And he’ll be back on the field when he’s ready.”
 
Asked if he will need work in the regular season to show he is healthy enough to play in the postseason, Ellsbury replied:
 
“I’m not real sure. Just right now I’m focused on getting back to the team and I played seven games after I fractured it, I played seven games. Definitely trying to be in there as much as I could, the docs pulled me out and said you need to let this thing rest and give it time.”
 
Farrell said the team remains optimistic Ellsbury will  be back for the regular season.
 
“I think we’re all envisioning him being back on the field before the regular season is concluded,” Farrell said. “So I think it would go a long way in Jake getting some timing, some at-bats, and all that. But that won’t be the driving force to him getting back on the field, his readiness will be it. But I know the way Jake feels and what the medical reports have said. That’s all very realistic that he gets back to us.
 
“I think it’s getting the at-bats [is more important than reps in center field]," Farrell said. "So once he’s ready we’ll get those however we can.”
 
In seven games after the injury, Ellsbury went 10-for-32, batting .313, with six runs scored, five RBI, going 3-for-3 in stolen base attempts.  Ellsbury was asked if he should have kept playing or would it have been better to rest. The Sox have gone 7-3 in his absence, picking up 2 ½ games in the American League East.
 
“When I did it, deep down I kind of knew something was wrong,”  he said. “But I didn’t want to get, I wanted to play. It was just one of those things where the docs said you 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, first and foremost," Ellsbury said. "I knew we were in a playoff race. So when I heard the news 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.”
 
He said he is not concerned about  any lingering effects, once the injury heals. “I just know moving forward that once it does heal there will be no issue moving forward,” he said. “It’s going to be a full recovery and you won’t see any lingering effects and I’ll be good to go.”