BALTIMORE -- The Red Sox injury situation went from bad to dire Monday afternoon with the news that outfielder Cody Ross has a broken navicular bone in his left foot, sending him to an increasingly crowded disabled list.
Ross fouled a ball off his foot Friday night but, after reporting improvement the next night, believed he might only miss a few days.
But with pain persisting in his left foot, Ross was sent back to Boston Sunday night and underwent an MRI on the foot, which revealed the broken bone.
There was no timetable announced for Ross' return.
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia broke the same bone in his foot in late June of 2010 and, after returning for two games in mid-August, missed the remainder of the season.
There is hope, however, that Ross's break is not as severe as Pedroia's, meaning his recovery time could potentially be shorter. Either way, it's expected he could miss as long as two months.
His absence will be felt in the lineup. Only David Ortiz (9) has more homers on the Red Sox, and Ross's slugging percentage of .534 ranked him behind only Ortiz (.606) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.583) among regulars.
Ross will soon give the Red Sox an astounding six outfielders on the disabled list at once, when he joins Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Repko, Danell McDonald and Ryan Kalish. His injury may force the Red Sox to get creative with their remaining healthy players.
The Sox played Adrian Gonzalez in right field for two games in Philadelphia, principally to get Ortiz some playing time at first, with the DH unavailable to them in N.L. parks.
Now, Bobby Valentine may have to consider playing Gonzalez in right field to allow Kevin Youkilis (set to be activated Tuesday) to play some first while enabling Will Middlebrooks at third.
Until Ross went down, it seemed certain that Middlebrooks was headed back to Pawtucket, where he could play every day. The thinking may have changed, however.
"If general manager Ben Cherrington and I decided that (keeping Middlebrooks)
was something we should pursue,'' said Valentine, "there's a way to make it work.''
The Sox don't want to use either Middlebrooks or Ortiz in the outfield.
"It's a balancing thing,'' said Valentine. "It's a tough little situation.''
Asked about using Gonzalez in right, Youkilis at first and Middlebrooks at third, Valentine said: "That probably could be part of the discussion.''
But when Valentine was reminded of the challenges involved in playing right field at Fenway, he acknowledged: "That gives me some concern.''