Ellsbury's timetable still uncertain

Ellsbury's timetable still uncertain

BOSTON -- Monday marked the seventh game in a row that leadoff man Jacoby Ellsbury was not in the Red Sox's lineup. The left side of his chest, which endured Adrian Beltre's knee in a collision on April 11, is still sore. The club is hoping that Ellsbury can return at some point during its three-game series against the Rangers, which starts on Tuesday night, but that no longer seems like a certainty.

When does Ellsbury think he will return?

"I'd like to make a prediction, but it's kind of hard to tell," Ellsbury said after the Red Sox's 8-2 loss to the Rays. "I wish it would have been a little bit quicker, but this is one of those things that needs rest."

Boston manager Terry Francona said that the club will try to ramp up Ellsbury's hitting program on Tuesday, which should be a tell-tale sign of whether an imminent return is realistic. If not, the Sox could come to the determination that they are best off putting him on the retroactive disabled list. In that case, he would be eligible to return for the April 27 game in Toronto.

Josh Reddick, who spent multiple stints with the Sox last year and was a stand-out performer in Spring Training this year, would be the logical candidate to be recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket if Ellsbury goes on the DL.

The Red Sox are 1-6 since Ellsbury went down.

"You're part of the team," Ellsbury said. "You want to be out there and contribute, but it's just a rough stretch right now. We'll get out of it."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.