From the moment that grimace appeared on Jacoby Ellsbury's face yesterday, all the pomp and pageantry of the traditional Fenway Park home opener was wiped off the books.

Yes, it was wonderful that the newly retired tandem of Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek stepped out to co-deliver the first pitch of the season.

But what about Ellsbury?

It was nice that catching those first pitches were Red Sox legends Dewey Evans and Jim Rice.

But what about Ellsbury?

And, yes, absolutely it brought tears to your eyes when 92-year-old Johnny Pesky ended the pregame show with his announcement that it was time to "Play ball!"

But what about Ellsbury?

"I saw the shortstop come down on his shoulder, and it looked very sore," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine after the completion of a 12-2 dismantling of the Tampa Bay Rays on an otherwise festive Fenway opener. "He was in a lot of pain when I got there."

The skipper was referring to a play in the fourth inning in which Reid Brignac, the Rays shortstop, came down hard on Ellsbury's right shoulder as Ells slid into second base on what turned out to be an inning-ending double play off the bat of Dustin Pedroia.

Even under the best of circumstances, this would be worry time for the Red Sox. We know when Ellsbury, the Sox and the dreaded month of April are mentioned together in the same sentence, an injury takes on added significance.

That's because it's impossible to forget what happened in 2010.

It was April 11, the sixth game of the season, Red Sox vs. the Royals in Kansas City. Ellsbury, playing left field, injured his ribs in a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre. He didn't play again until May, and lasted only three games. He logged nine games in August, and then the Sox shut him down for the season.