If the Red Sox are to win the World Series they may very well have to do so without Jacoby Ellsbury.

After a walkoff loss to the Yankees yesterday manager John Farrell announced that Ellsbury has a compression fracture in his right foot. He’s already in a walking boot and if history is any guide will miss at least a month.

Farrell believes Ellsbury will return this season but realistically it’s hard to say that with complete conviction.
“The exam that he went through the images taken in Denver concur with what’s been found in the exam in Boston and he does have a compression fracture” Farrell said. “That means it’s non-displaced. But at the same time we feel like he’ll return this year. . . . We’re hopeful in the regular season.”

The news isn’t worst-case for the speedster sparkplug and superlative defender — that would be a break requiring season-ending surgery — but it’s definitely not good.

Ellsbury is the most dynamic player on the Red Sox and one of the three or four best hitters on the team. Taking his bat and glove out of the lineup is a tremendous blow particularly since no player is more entrenched in the batting order than Ellsbury at leadoff. The Red Sox can ill-afford to lose David Ortiz but they at least have options at cleanup.

Removing Ellsbury from the lineup however ripples through the rest of the order. Shane Victorino and Daniel Nava are the two best candidates to hit leadoff but the former has thrived in the two-hole where his burgeoning right-handed power is an asset and the latter has excellent on-base ability that is offset by average baserunning skills.

The Red Sox can only hope Ellsbury will indeed return before the end of the regular season. A source close to the center fielder last night expressed clear optimism that he’ll play before the end of the regular season but said the issue is swelling around the break in the navicular bone. Once that subsides the source said Ellsbury should be able to play through whatever pain remains.
The source described the fracture as small and on the surface and said Ellsbury should be able to play before it fully heals with no long-term effects.