Red Sox Notebook

Cameron, Ellsbury sent to disabled list

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / April 21, 2010

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The Red Sox put two outfielders on the 15-day disabled list yesterday. Jacoby Ellsbury could return as early as next week. But Mike Cameron is facing a potentially long period of inactivity.

Ellsbury took batting practice on the field for the first time since bruising the ribs on his left side April 11 in Kansas City. Ellsbury felt a “sharp, wrenching pain’’ and was placed on the DL.

Earlier in the day, Cameron was disabled with a lower abdominal strain, an injury often referred to a sports hernia. The Sox called up outfielders Josh Reddick and Darnell McDonald from Triple A Pawtucket. Reddick started last night against Texas, and stroked a two-run double to left in the sixth and all McDonald did was hit a two-run pinch-hit home run to tie the score, 6-6, in the eighth, then won it with a single off the wall with two outs in the ninth. .

The 37-year-old Cameron, who missed two days last week because of a kidney stone, may require surgery if the strain does not heal.

“It’s tough news. It’s not what we were looking for,’’ general manager Theo Epstein said.

Sports hernias vary in degree of severity. Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler missed 42 games in 2008 and required surgery for a similar injury. The Rangers also lost Josh Hamilton for 30 games last season. Seattle pitcher Cliff Lee has been out with an abdominal tear since spring training and is not expected back until early next month.

“The way it’s laid out is I take these days off, five or seven days of doing nothing, let the body heal on its own, see where I’m at,’’ said Cameron. “If it heals, then I’ll start the process of getting back ready while I’m on the DL.

“If I don’t abide by it, it could make it worse in the sense where I would have surgery. That’s just about as raw as you can get it right there.

“But at the same time, I’m very optimistic because this is a football/hockey type of injury and those guys are able to go back and play. It’s just a matter of how fast your body heals up from it.’’

The Sox believe the injury could be related to the groin strain Cameron suffered early in spring training. Cameron has known something was wrong, but tried to play through it until the pain became too much.

“If it was anything else — shoulder, groin or something like that — I would probably still try and play,’’ he said. “But the fact that where this is located at, there’s nothing that you can possibly do. Most people wouldn’t be able to get out of bed, never mind try to play a baseball game.’’

Cameron will not be given painkillers or anti-inflammatory medication that could mask the injury. The Sox want to ensure he is healed before he returns. Otherwise they risk another injury that could put him out for several months.

“We need to make sure when he comes back he’s not restricted in any way,’’ said Epstein. “We’re going to treat it conservatively. We certainly hope to avoid surgery. That’s the worst-case scenario, last resort. It’s a bit of a tricky one to get an exact feel for, not that we’d tell you anyway.’’

The Sox hoped to avoid the disabled list with Ellsbury. But when the batting practice session did not go well, they had little choice. He could not swing a bat or even run the bases without pain.

“You never want to go on the DL, but we’ve pretty much tried everything to get me back out on the field,’’ Ellsbury said. “I tried to push it out there, and it wasn’t working, so we had to make a decision one way or the other.’’

Ellsbury was disabled retroactive to April 12, making him eligible to return Tuesday in Toronto. He was injured in a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre.

“I still have that sharp pain in my chest,’’ he said. “If it wasn’t for that, you can play through soreness. It’s that sharp, wrenching pain that hasn’t gone away. It’s right where I got hit.’’

Ortiz is lifted
David Ortiz did not take his turn at-bat in the seventh inning. With a lefty on the mound in Darren Oliver, Mike Lowell pinch hit and drew a walk.

It was the latest sign of how Ortiz’s status has changed. The struggling DH, once a threat against any pitcher, is now being much more carefully used by manager Terry Francona.

It is believed to be at least five years since Ortiz was pinch hit for in any meaningful situation.

“We’re trying to do everything in our power to win games . . . If you ask me if I enjoy doing something like that, no, of course not,’’ Francona said. “He’s very prideful. I understand that. We’re trying to win games and I think players understand that.’’

Ortiz was not seen in the clubhouse after the game.

“I was told to be ready. I didn’t know it would be for David. I didn’t have time to analyze it,’’ Lowell said. “I was just focused on being ready.’’

Lowell has been told he will be the DH tonight against lefthander Matt Harrison. Texas also is throwing a lefthander C.J. Wilson tomorrow.

Second chance
Reddick was in Boston Friday and Saturday, stashed in a hotel room in case he was needed. But when Cameron came back from the kidney stone, he rejoined Pawtucket on their road trip.

Then he was summoned back yesterday, started in center field and went 1 for 3 with a two-run double.

“Crazy day,’’ Reddick said. “But a lot of fun.’’

Reddick hit a two-out fly ball to left field with two runners in the sixth inning that Josh Hamilton overran the ball and had it fall in behind him as two runs scored. The play, initially ruled an error, was later changed to a double.

The ball went into the stands, struck a fan and bounced back onto the field. Texas manager Ron Washington argued that the ball should have been called dead and only one run allowed to score.

“I’ll take it,’’ said the 23-year-old Reddick, who hit only .169 over 27 games for the Sox last summer. But Reddick hit .390 during spring training, driving in nine runs over 20 games and collecting 12 extra-base hits.

Reddick got off to a slow start with Pawtucket, hitting .179 over nine games. But he had looked better in recent days.

“Hopefully I can add some energy and hopefully go out there and hit the ball like I have been,’’ he said.

Almost ready
Daisuke Matsuzaka will make his third rehab start tonight, pitching for Pawtucket in Allentown, Pa., against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. He is expected to rejoin the Red Sox rotation after that, although Epstein did not say when that would be. Matsuzaka, on the disabled list with a neck strain, has thrown 11 scoreless innings in the minors . . . Tim Wakefield’s six innings gave him 2,729 2/3 career innings for the Sox, moving him ahead of Cy Young for second place. Only Roger Clemens (2,776) had had more . . . The Red Sox traded Double A lefthander Andrew Dobies to the White Sox for a player to be named or cash. He is a former third-round pick . . . The Sox have won 100 of the 123 games Jonathan Papelbon and Hideki Okajima have appeared in together . . . Texas right fielder Nelson Cruz left the game in the ninth with a cramp in his right hamstring.

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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