The center fielder has had some nagging discomfort in his right wrist of late, and Sunday's day game following a night game seemed like the most logical time to get him a break.
"Yeah. Kind of a scheduled one," said manager Bobby Valentine. "His wrist has been barking at him a little. When we set off on the road trip, the training room was hoping that one of these days would work. See if we can't get it to feel a little better."
Without Ellsbury, Valentine gave Pedro Ciriaco his first career start in the outfield. Ciriaco got the nod in left while Scott Podsednik moved to center.
Making the Red Sox even thinner in the outfield, Ryan Kalish has also been banged up of late with shoulder woes.
"His shoulder has been keeping him from swinging in a game," said Valentine. "It felt a little better yesterday, but he still had treatment after batting practice. He's not really a game-ready guy."