The Boston Red Sox’s star center fielder and lead off hitter Jacoby Ellsbury, Navajo and member of the Colorado River Indian Tribe, left yesterday’s game in the fourth inning after sliding into second base, clutching his shoulder and writhing in agony.
The Red Sox have announced it’s a right shoulder injury, but ESPN.com is reporting that a source told them Ellsbury sustained a “dislocation or subluxation (partial dislocation) of his right shoulder.” It is unclear at this point how long Ellsbury will be out.
If the dislocation is minor, the injury usually takes four to six weeks to heal, but should there be any tears to the labrum, rotator cuff or any other muscles or tendons, Ellsbury could be facing the prospect of missing months.
Ellsbury was doing what all smart base runners are supposed to do when he was injured—trying to break up a double play. Dustin Pedroia hit a grounder on a 3-and-2 pitch to Rays shortstop Redi Brignac, who fielded the ball cleanly as Ellsbury made for second. Brignac swept over to second to tap the bag for the out and rifle it to first for the double play, but when he got to second he was toppled by a sliding Ellsbury and then came down, hard, on Ellsbury’s side. This is a grim reminder of Ellsbury’s aborted 2010 season in which he only played in 18 games after fracturing his ribs in a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre in Kansas City.
The Red Sox beat the Rays 12-2, but as the Boston Globe puts it, “The Sox probably would have given up their 12-2 victory if they could keep their center fielder, leadoff hitter, and last year’s American League runner-up in the MVP voting, upright for a full season.”