Ellsbury feels ready to rejoin Red Sox

Updated: July 30, 2010, 10:20 PM ET
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury has missed nearly the entire season with five fractured ribs. Now, he's on the verge of returning to the lineup and he believes his presence could help the club in the final two months of the season.

He will continue his minor league rehab assignment and is scheduled to spend Saturday and Sunday with Triple-A Pawtucket. After that he will be re-examined before a decision is made whether or not he will be activated from the disabled list.

Ellsbury says he feels a lot better and is comfortable playing nine innings, which he was able to do for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox on Thursday. Ellsbury also believes he's ahead of the team schedule in regard to his rehab.

"I'm not going to be 100 percent when I come back, but I'll be good enough hopefully where I don't re-aggravate it," he said. "We're all comfortable at that point right now, and when I go back out there, it'll be safe for me to play and I won't aggravate it."

"It's their timetable now," added Ellsbury. "Everything I've done is on their timetable from the get-go. I'm ahead of schedule on everything and can't wait to get back."

Ellsbury is hoping he'll need only the two games in Pawtucket before the club deems him ready for big league action.

"It's kind of hard to say, but hopefully it won't be too many," Ellsbury said. "It's just nice to get out there and play some games."

Ellsbury played 87 games for the PawSox in 2007 and hit .298 with two homers, 28 RBIs and 33 stolen bases. He was recalled to Boston twice that season, making his major league debut on June 30, and later was a September call-up. Coincidentally, the PawSox are holding Jacoby Ellsbury Bobblehead Doll Night at McCoy on Saturday.

Ellsbury suffered the injury when he collided with third baseman Adrian Beltre on April 11 in Kansas City. Ellsbury attempted to return a month later before it was learned he also fractured a rib in his back and was sent back to the disabled list.

He eventually spent a month at Athletes' Performance Institute in Arizona. It appeared Ellsbury, his agent, Scott Boras, and the Red Sox were at odds as to the player's injury and choice of rehab facility.

"I think we've been on the same page for a while," Ellsbury said. "The team, myself, everybody has been on the same page, and that's why they sent me to Arizona and why they sent me to Fort Myers. Everything has been in their hands. We've been on the same page for a while, I'm just happy to start playing baseball and that's the biggest thing."

Ellsbury was back at Fenway Park on Friday and took batting practice with the team in preparation for his games with the PawSox. He says his relationship with his teammates has not soured, even though some were critical of his absence while other injured players remained with the club.

"I think if there's anybody who questions it, it's false. The team and I are in great relations," Ellsbury said. "We're all on the same page. We're moving forward now and I can't wait to get back playing."

Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox and Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com