BOSTON -- Several hours before the Red Sox started their game against the Marlins on Tuesday night, there was the welcome sight of Jacoby Ellsbury taking batting practice on the field.
While the Red Sox had an off-day on Monday, Ellsbury was at Fenway taking BP.
Ellsbury is picking up steam in his return from a right shoulder subluxation, and the outfielder should be starting a Minor League rehab stint soon.
"Close to playing -- close to game activities," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "I don't mean tomorrow. But he's close. He's made great, steady progress."
Valentine did offer that he thought left fielder Carl Crawford, who hasn't played in 2012, would be on a Minor League rehab assignment by next week.
Crawford, who started the season on the disabled list recovering from left wrist surgery and then had to deal with a sprained UCL joint in his left elbow, is feeling better by the day.
Then there is also good news on closer Andrew Bailey, who underwent right thumb surgery just before the season.
"Andrew came in this afternoon, I talked to him, he's feeling great," Valentine said. "He has a mound session here [soon], and you know, we're going to take it from a mound to another mound to a simulated situation to possibly an inning down in Florida, and then off to a rehab assignment."