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BOSTON (CBS) – While the likes of Daniel Nava, Ryan Kalish and Darnell McDonald have filled in niceley in an injury-plagued Red Sox outfield, their time may be running out.
It appears the disabled list of an outfield will soon be getting reinforcements back, with Jacoby Ellsbury set to begin a rehab assignment Friday for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox.
Ellsbury, who was placed on the 60-day DL in April with a shoulder subfluxation, will have a 20-day rehab clock, and could be back in the bigs by the end of July.
The same could go for Carl Crawford, who has already seen some action in the GCL, although there is a chance he may join Boston earlier than the end of the July.
Crawford, who is recovering from left wrist surgery, had his third rehab game for the Gulf Coast Sox Wednesday, and is now 2-for-9 at the plate. Perhaps the most uplifting news about Crawford is that he was able to make a throw from the outfield all the way to home plate.
Also on the mend is Scott Podsednik — who was at one point one of those injury replacements. Podsednik will begin a rehab assignment in Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday. Once a castoff from the Phillies, Podsednik hit .387 for Boston over 19 games before being sidelined with a groin injury. He will DH for the PawSox on Friday, and see some action in the outfield over the weekend.
All of this will lead to a tough decision for Bobby Valentine and Ben Cherington. Nava has been impressive after being given another chance in the majors, and had a great month of June. He hit .348 with 23 hits, eight doubles, 10 RBI and 12 runs scored, often filling in as the Sox’ leadoff man.
Both Kalish and McDonald will likely be the odd-men out as Ellsbury and Crawford, and even Podsednik, return. Kalish, although seen as the right fielder of the future, has yet to really get going since being called up in mid-June batting just .236 with three RBI and just one extra base hit. McDonald, who also battled an injury, is hitting just .214 with nine RBI over 38 games.
But getting Ellsbury and Crawford back is good news for the Sox, as they are starting to play solid baseball after a shaky start to the season. Until then, the their replacements will do just fine.