Ellsbury injured his right shoulder while making a takeout slide into second base on Dustin Pedroia's 6-3 double play ball in the fourth inning.
Ellsbury was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for observation. The Red Sox had no update after the game, and they didn't anticipate releasing any news until Saturday. Multiple reports stated that Ellsbury could have a subluxation or dislocation of his shoulder, which would likely sideline him from six to eight weeks.
Manager Bobby Valentine did acknowledge that he expects to have another outfielder on his roster by game-time on Saturday. It should be noted that Che-Hsuan Lin was scratched from Triple-A Pawtucket's lineup on Saturday. Lin is on the 40-man roster, so it's highly logical that he could be the outfielder promoted to Boston.
Ellsbury suffered the injury in a collision with Rays shortstop Reid Brignac. In fact, Brignac accidentally landed on Ellsbury's shoulder as he completed the double play.
"He was breaking on the pitch, I was holding my ground," Brignac said. "I just caught it and got rid of it like every infielder does in that situation. We leave our feet, because when people are trying to take you out and your feet are stuck in the ground, that's how people break knees and ankles and stuff. We're taught to catch, throw and get off our feet. Unfortunately, I fell on his shoulder."
At this point, all the Red Sox can do is hope for the best.
"From hearing the initial reports, we're just hoping for the best," said third baseman Kevin Youkilis. "Hopefully there's no damage or anything in his shoulder. The only thing we've even heard is probably the same thing that everyone has been hearing, which is that it felt like something moved a little bit. We always hope for the best. We know that if it is for the best, then it won't be long, and Jake will come back and do great things for this team."
Already, the Red Sox are down a key cog in the outfield, as Carl Crawford opened the season on the disabled list as he recovers from left wrist surgery. Crawford also experienced some discomfort in his left elbow last week.
Brignac felt bad about the injury.
"It was just an uncontrollable circumstance," Brignac said. "Neither one of us wish that would have happened. I wish that he would be fine, but it's just a baseball thing. It just kind of happened that way."
It was obvious to Brignac that Ellsbury was in agony.
"Yeah, I could hear him and it sounded like a very painful thing," Brignac said. "I kind of landed on him, rolled off. He was yelling and screaming a little bit. I just went over to check on him, because obviously that's not how I play the game. It was just an unfortunate thing."
Ellsbury was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI before leaving the game.
"Obviously he's a huge part of this team as a catalyst," said Cody Ross, who could get the bulk of time in center field during Ellsbury's absence. "We just hope that he is well and that it's nothing major and something quick and hopefully he can get back out there soon."
The Red Sox don't want to consider a prolonged stretch of time without Ellsbury. They learned all too well in 2010 how difficult that was.
"Yeah, he finished second in the MVP last year," said Pedroia. "He's a superstar. We definitely need him in our lineup."