The past few years have seen the Red Sox struggle with injuries on an almost comical level. This season has been no exception as several key players have missed considerable amounts of time; the three main hurt players right now are Will Middlebrooks, Shane Victorino, and Jacoby Ellsbury. Middlebrooks and Victorino are both on the 15-day DL and due to come off it tomorrow while Ellsbury is still on the 25-man roster but may not be for too much longer if this continues.
Will Middlebrooks was placed on the DL two weeks from Friday with back spasms. What was at first seen as a potentially devastating injury due to the Red Sox’ lack of depth at third base has not been nearly as bad as expected with Jose Iglesias filling in admirably (14-33 in his second stint in Boston). Still, a rejuvenated and healthy Middlebrooks will be a shot in the arm for this lineup. Middlebrooks is slashing only .201/.234/.408 this year, but has the potential for much more. He will start a rehab assignment with Pawtucket on Thursday and is expected to be back with the team on his first day eligible on Saturday.
The news regarding Shane Victorino is not nearly so optimistic. Victorino has been plagued by injuries with the Red Sox in 2013, playing in just 34 of 58 games this year. That’s especially unfortunate because he’s been very effective when in the lineup, slashing .283/.343/.362 with exceptional defense in right field. However, there’s still no news of a rehab assignment and it looks like Victorino may be missing several more games.
Jacoby Ellsbury has not yet been placed on the DL, but it’s looking like it’s a definite possibility. He is out of the lineup tonight for the fourth consecutive game, as Jackie Bradley Jr. will man center field and bat ninth. Ellsbury pulled his groin on his record-tying fifth steal in the last game of the series against the Phillies. Bradley has filled in well, but it’s unfair to compare him to Ellsbury, who was just hitting his stride at the plate; he was hitting .400 in his last 10 games before the injury. Hopefully by Saturday, both Middlebrooks and Ellsbury will be in the Red Sox lineup and Victorino won’t be far behind.