NEW YORK -- The euphoria of two straight late-inning comeback wins, four victories in a row overall and 41 runs scored in the last three games wore off suddenly Saturday with the news that Jacoby Ellsbury had returned to Boston over concern surrounding his ailing right foot.
Ellsbury underwent a series of tests and had his right foot placed in a walking boot Saturday morning after a day of treatment on the foot Friday failed to improve things.
"He went through an MRI that showed some swelling and inflammation in there," said John Farrell. "We're still in the process of gathering more information, but the MRI showed enough to put him in a boot and mobilize it for now. We're still going through the process of some additional tests and when that information is more conclusive, I think we'll have a better read on the diagnosis going forward."
"We don't have all the information yet," added GM Ben Cherington, "so until we have all the information, I don't think it's the right time to say anything more. It's about getting as much information as we can, and as with any injury, it's about, 'What are the risks? How can we manage this?' And this time of year, it's probably not about eliminating symptoms completely. Everyone's sore and banged up this time of year.''
The team was waiting to determine whether the navicular bone in Ellsbury's foot was broken or merely bruised. In 2010, both Dustin Pedroia and Jason Varitek missed extended time after fouling balls and suffering broken navicular bones.
"I think each case is different," said Cherington. "My understanding is that there's no long-term concern here. It's more about how do we best manage it over the course of the next several weeks and hopefully, he can play a lot in those several weeks."
The Sox, however, were quick to note that the original injury dates back to Aug. 28, when Ellsbury, too, fouled a ball off his instep, but continued to play -- and play well -- since the incident.
"He's been playing through it and to his credit, he's played well through it," noted Cherington. "And he still wants to play well through it but we've got to make sure that we have a firm grasp on the risk."
"I don't think we're looking at something that's just day-to-day here," said Farrell. "But before we get into any kind of time frame, I think it's just best for all involved is to wait until we get more conclusive evidence and information. That might also include a second opinion."
Indeed, the Sox were in the process of determining whether Ellsbury would travel to Vail Colorado to visit with specialist Dr. Thomas Clanton at the Steadman Institute, or merely consult with Clanton after he views the test results.
Interestingly, given questions that have surrounded Ellsbury's durability and willingness to play hurt in the past, the Red Sox went out of their way to relay Ellsbury's frustration and desire to stay on the field.
"I'll say this -- Jake's frustrated," said Farrell. "He wants to be on the field. He feels like he can play right now, but at the direction of the medical people, we've got to careful of this. But I can tell you this: Jacoby wants to be on the field and he's kind of pissed he's not here right now, to be honest with you."
"I know he wants to play," said Cherington. "We obviously want him to play. That's still our hope -- that he'll be playing before too long."
The timing of the injury is poor for the Red Sox, with three weeks left in the regular season, the playoffs on the horizon, and this winter, free agency awaiting Ellsbury.
Cherington maintained that the free agent question was not relevant.
"It doesn't impact it at all in terms of how we manage it for this team." said Cherington. "We're going to manage it with Jacoby and I know Jacoby wants to play and obviously as a team, we're better with him playing. So we're going to focus on what's best for him and what's best for the team, and how can we can manage it so that there's not a risk to him and he can still help the team.
"Anything that happens after we stop playing games this year is what happens after we stop playing games this year. But we're focused on trying what's best for him and what's best for the team and hopefully that (includes) playing."
On Saturday, Farrell had Jackie Bradley Jr., called up from Pawtucket, playing center with Shane Victorino in right. Victorino was the team's leadoff hitter.
"We're not going to commit to any one definitive approach here," said Farrell. "We'll probably go day-to-day for the time being, but with as big as this outfield is and the range available to us, that's the alignment today."
With Victorino elevated to the top spot in the batting order, Farrell said he might alternate Jonny Gomes (against lefties) and Daniel Nava (against righties) in the second spot.
"We've got a an ability to mix and match in that spot," said Farrell. "But let's not kid ourselves: Jacoby Ellsbury in the leadoff spot, with the stolen base ability, the talent that he has, this is a guy we're going to miss for the time being that he'll be out. But as we've done with other challenges we've faced, we'll find a way to make up for it."