NEW YORK -- Dustin Pedroia's decision to play the final two games of a lost season with a broken left finger highlighted the infielder's willingness to play hurt.
But unwittingly, it also focused the spotlight on Jacoby Ellsbury who missed six games last week with an injury that he wouldn't disclose, and again, was out of the lineup Monday in the series opener, though seemingly healthy.
"Jacoby's situation was different," said manager Bobby Valentine. "CC (Sabathia) was pitching and I saw him face (another lefty, Baltimore's Joe) Saunders a couple of nights before with his breaking ball and I thought it was a situation where a righthander might be able to do better."
Valentine played Che-Hsuan Lin in Ellsbury's place.
"Lin got half (2) of our hits," said Valentine, "so maybe that hunch was right. I thought I was playing the team that gave us a good chance to win. It's a big center field. Lin's a very good defensive player. Ells really hasn't hit that well against lefthanders. And Lin got two hits last night and the first time up, he really walked, but they called him out on a high 3-and-2 curveball, so he really would have been on base three times."
When Pedroia was asked about the contrast of Ellsbury sitting out Monday and the second baseman's decision to play hurt Tuesday, Pedroia defended his teammate.
"He's been beat up, man," said Pedroia. "He's had his share of injuries this year. This year's been tough on a lot of guys. He doesn't have to answer anything like that. Don't go there. He's fine."