And it was the indefinite timetable for Bay's return that forced the Red Sox to put Rocco Baldelli (left ankle contusion) on the disabled list in order to free up a roster spot for Minor Leaguer Josh Reddick.
Baldelli probably doesn't need more than a few days to recover from hitting a ball off his foot in batting practice on Wednesday, but the Red Sox couldn't afford to be down two outfielders.
"I guess there's a chance he could miss the whole weekend," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "I don't think we need to say that right now, because there's a chance he could play. I don't think he's going to play the next couple of nights. When we play a guy like we did last night, and he takes a step backwards, we're not real thrilled with ourselves. So we're trying to be careful.
"I don't think anybody thought Bay is remotely close to a DL [stint], but he's probably in that [in between range], four, five, six days. If it's four, and he needs another one, we want to be able to give it to him. [There's] nothing worse than waiting three or four days and then being one day too quick. That doesn't make a lot of sense."
In this instance, Baldelli took one for the team, freeing up the spot for Reddick, who will likely start on Friday night. Kevin Youkilis made a rare start in left on Thursday.
"I think under normal circumstances it might not be a question of going on the DL," said Baldelli. "But with the situation on the team right now, everyone's got to be good to go every day until we can get healthy again. It'll give me a chance to heal up, and it'll give us a chance to run guys out there that can go every day at this point."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.