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Ellsbury, Drew still out

Posted by Fluto Shinzawa, Globe Staff  May 1, 2008 04:50 PM

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Jacoby Ellsbury (groin) and J.D. Drew (quadriceps) are on the field, testing their respective injuries. Neither is in the starting lineup tonight.

"He feels it," Terry Francona said of Ellsbury. "It's getting better. We'll know more when he runs around how good he feels. J.D. is going to do some shagging also. We'll see where that leads. How much he'll ramp it up will depend on how he feels."

* David Ortiz spent part of the afternoon on the elliptical machine as part of his pre-game routine to prepare his knee. Francona said there is nothing structurally wrong with the knee, but that Ortiz is still sore. Francona said that prior to late-game at-bats, he checks with Ortiz to see how he'd feel about running the bases if he reaches. "I think he will," Francona said when asked if Ortiz will continue to feel the injury. "I don't think it's realistic that he won't. He had the surgery. He's a big guy. He's not 22 years old. I think that's just the way life is when you start to progress in your career. Sometimes we need to give a guy the day off. He knows it. He has to get in on the elliptical. He can't just come and play the game. He doesn't have that freedom anymore. He knows that."

* As of 4 p.m., the team had not determined whether Jonathan Papelbon will be available tonight.

* Francona, obviously, had no problems with Brandon Moss facing lefty Scott Downs last night. "He's really interesting," Francona said of Moss. "Even Mike Lowell said when he was [in Pawtucket] that Mossy stands out a little bit. The ball comes off his bat like a major league hitter, even if you watch him in BP. He's an interesting player. He's a good outfielder. He can actually play center field, although I don't know that's his everyday position. He can play the corners just fine. Can he play first base? It's intriguing, because all of a sudden you've got a young left-handed hitter who can play three or four positions. That's pretty valuable. And he can hit a fastball. Pretty valuable."

* Last night, Papelbon picked off pinch runner John McDonald, an indication of how much more dependable the closer has become with men on base. Francona said Papelbon's pickoff move has improved, and that he's quicker with his delivery to home plate with runners on. "What we don't want to do is take away from his stuff," Francona said. "If there's any doubt, we'll go with his stuff over a guy stealing a base. We'd prefer to not have guys running who aren't supposed to." Francona credited Papelbon for his greater awareness on opposing teams' tendencies.

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