Ellsbury takes step foward by taking BP

Ellsbury takes step foward by taking BP

BOSTON -- Red Sox left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury took perhaps his most significant step since being placed on the disabled list when he participated in batting practice before Tuesday's game against the Angels. It is a step that Ellsbury and the club had been hoping would occur for several days.

The dynamic leadoff man has been out since April 11, when he suffered a hairline fracture in four of his left ribs following a collision with teammate Adrian Beltre. Assuming Ellsbury suffers no setbacks, he should be on track to get in some kind of game action in the near future, even if it's an abbreviated Minor League rehab assignment.

Center fielder Mike Cameron, who is on the disabled list with a lower abdominal strain, also seems to be nearing the point of getting into games. Cameron has been taking batting practice and shagging fly balls for the past few days.

"Cam is really doing well," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "The intensity continues to build. We'll just continue to monitor how quickly he's coming and certainly talk to him more about -- towards the end of the week -- what we think is in his best interest. But he's doing very well."

While the Red Sox miss both players, Ellsbury's impact has been perhaps more noticeable because of the way he can change a game with his speed.

"Oh sure, he gives our team a different look," Francona said. "He's that guy that can change the game. All the concerns we've had with [Carl] Crawford or whoever, he does the same thing to other teams."

The Red Sox did get one outfielder back in the mix Tuesday, as Jeremy Hermida started in left field. Hermida had been out with a sore left quad.

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