Following the ejection of starting center fielder Coco Crisp in the bottom of the second in Boston's 7-1 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday, the Sox moved left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury to center and brought in Triple-A Pawtucket callup Chris Carter for his Major League debut in left.
But things changed again in the top of the fourth. Rays third baseman Evan Longoria belted a line drive into right-center field, and Ellsbury raced to the gap to make a diving catch. But on the play, Ellsbury appeared to roll on top of his right wrist, and he immediately winced in pain.
"Jacoby made one heck of a catch and kind of landed awkwardly, from my view," catcher Jason Varitek said. "But hopefully he's all right, because he's been a big part of our lineup."
After being tended to on the field, Ellsbury left the game. Early reports after X-rays turned up negative were that Ellsbury has a strained right wrist. He will be re-examined and re-evaluated on Friday.
"I think that they think he's nothing more than day-to-day, which is great news," manager Terry Francona said. "When we got out there to see him, it hurt. But we're hopeful that's all it is. He'll be examined tomorrow. He's pretty sore, but we'll go from there with him."
Carter made a brief but successful stint with the club. After entering the game, he went 2-for-3 and played solid defense in left field. He was notified by Francona that he'd be sent back to the PawSox on Friday, with the team bringing up Brandon Moss from Pawtucket.
"We've got to send Chris back and send Mossy here, just because we don't know where we are in the outfield," Francona said. "It's just that circumstances dictate that sometimes you have to get a different player here, and that's what we explained to [Carter]."
Meanwhile, the outfielder saga continues, thanks to the injured right hamstring of regular left fielder Manny Ramirez. Ramirez has been serving as designated hitter throughout the homestand, which has worked nicely, considering the absence of the injured David Ortiz and the depth the team usually has in the outfield.
But in the eighth inning on Thursday, Ramirez's knees buckled as he took a pitch, and he immediately looked to be nursing the hamstring. After drawing a walk, he was replaced by pinch-runner Kevin Cash, one of the team's few remaining reserves.
Francona said that Ramirez seemed fine after the game.
"That's where he's been feeling [the hamstring injury], in the batter's box," Francona said. "He's been able to lengthen out his stride. But every once in a while, when he takes a swing like that, he feels it. We'll see how he's doing tomorrow. If we need a day, we'll give it to him. But he was pretty optimistic after the game that he'll play tomorrow."
Mark Remme is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.