MINNEAPOLIS — Until Sunday, Jacoby Ellsbury had played every inning of every Red Sox game this season. But he was given a day off to rest. Shane Victorino started in center field.
“Just wanted to make sure in this stretch of 20 games [in 20 days] that we get everybody involved and give every one of our normal regular guys a day off,” manager John Farrell said before the Sox beat the Minnesota Twins, 5-1.
Ellsbury is hitting .246 with a .309 on-base percentage from the leadoff spot.
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia is the only player on the roster to have started every game. Does Farrell have the temerity to sit him down soon?
“That’s a good question,” he said. “Pedey will fight that one tooth and nail. He’s the last man standing right now and that’s probably just the way he likes it.
“If it comes to it, he and I will sit and talk. As well as he’s playing, as good as he feels, as headstrong as he can be, all that’s taken into account.”
Pedroia never has played all 162 games. The closest he came was 159 games in 2011.
“I don’t really think about that stuff,” he said. “I go day to day. Whatever John wants is fine.”
Farrell said he tries to decide when to rest players in advance. That helps take some of the emotion out of it.
“You play it out in your mind before the situation arises,” he said. “You try to take full value to the benefit that could be there.”
Drew, Ross improving
Stephen Drew has missed the last two games with a back injury, the result of an awkward slide into second base Friday night, but he hopes to play Monday.
“Obviously day to day. But we don’t think this should be a prolonged situation,” Farrell said.
Drew said he inflamed muscles around his spine.
“It’s better today, it’s getting there,” he said. “It was bothering me when I was trying to throw.”
Backup catcher David Ross, who is on the concussion disabled list, told Farrell that his symptoms are subsiding. Ross is scheduled for an examination Monday and hopes to start working out after that.
“There’s improvement to the point where he was making requests [Saturday] if he could throw. But we’re still holding back any kind of physical activity,” Farrell said. “Everything projects that after the re-exam on Monday he’ll start to go through some exertion testing.
“He was in much better spirits. In his own words he felt like he was turning the corner.”
Bailey on the way
Andrew Bailey is set to come off the disabled list Monday after pitching an inning for Triple A Pawtucket Saturday. The righthander has been out since April 29 with a biceps strain.
Farrell will use Bailey as a closer, but does not plan to use him on consecutive days right away. Still, his addition will give the Sox more options for the late innings.
“To slide guys back a little earlier, it gives us that flexibility with Junichi [Tazawa] a little bit more than holding him back to close out games,” Farrell said. “I think just getting guys back one slot earlier in the game makes us stronger.”
Bailey was pitching well before the injury. He had a 1.46 earned run average through 13 games and 12⅓ innings. Bailey had allowed only six hits with four walks and 20 strikeouts.
Jose De La Torre likely would be optioned to Pawtucket. He has appeared in two games since being called up.
Time well spent
The Sox skipped a full-team batting practice on Sunday, as most teams do after Saturday night games. But the starting pitchers took batting practice to prepare for upcoming interleague games, and Will Middlebrooks jumped in with them.
The session paid off when he connected on a changeup from Pedro Hernandez in the third inning and homered to right field.
“Feeling better in general,” said Middlebrooks, who has nine extra-base hits in his last 10 games.
David Ortiz hit two home runs Saturday, the 38th time he has done that for the Sox. It broke a tie with Ted Williams and gave Ortiz the team record for games with multiple home runs. Since 2003, only Albert Pujols (44) has had more in the majors. Ortiz never has hit three homers in a game. Williams did that three times. Ortiz is 49th in career home runs with 408, having passed Duke Snider Saturday . . . In a matchup of well-regarded pitching prospects, Pawtucket’s Allen Webster outdueled Gerrit Cole in an 11-3 win Sunday at McCoy Stadium. Webster allowed one run on one hit against Indianapolis. He walked five and struck out seven. Cole, No. 1 overall pick by the Pirates in 2011, gave up eight runs on six hits in 4⅔ innings. He struck out three and walked four. Webster is 3-0 with a 2.40 ERA in six starts for the PawSox . . . The Sox had their errorless streak snapped at eight games when Pedro Ciriaco threw a ball away in the fifth . . . The Sox finished 4-3 against the Twins this season. They have won the season series seven years in a row.