NEW YORK — Jacoby Ellsbury has been diagnosed with a compression fracture in his right foot. But according to Red Sox manager John Farrell, the team’s leadoff hitter and center fielder should be back before the end of the regular season.
“We feel like he’ll return this year,” Farrell said Sunday after a 4-3 loss to the Yankees. “We’re hopeful the regular season.”
A specialist, Dr. Thomas Clanton, examined Ellsbury at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colo., Sunday. He confirmed the original diagnosis of a fracture in the navicular bone.
Ellsbury will wear a boot to take weight off his foot for at least five days.
“After that we’ll see how he responds to treatment and how he’s feeling,” Farrell said.
Ellsbury is hitting .299 with eight home runs, 52 RBIs, and a major-league leading 52 stolen bases. His leads the team with 89 runs.
The injury happened Aug. 28 when Ellsbury fouled a ball off his foot. He came out of the game an inning later but returned to the lineup the next day and played seven of the next eight games.
Ellsbury aggravated the injury when he stole second in the 10th inning Thursday. Dustin Pedroia suffered a more severe type of the same injury in 2010 and required surgery.
“We’ll have to pick up the slack,” Pedroia said. “He’s a big part of our lineup and our team.”
Pedroia has spoken to Ellsbury about the injury.
“It’s something you don’t mess with. You have to make sure you take care of it and you’re able to play and run and not be sore the next day,” Pedroia said.
That Ellsbury was able to play after the fracture suggests his injury is something he could recover quickly from. But he was out for a long period in 2010 because of fractured ribs and again in 2012 because of a separated shoulder.
With 17 games left, the Red Sox have added an All-Star to their rotation. ClayBuchholz will be activated off the disabled list and start Tuesday night against Tampa Bay.
Buchholz has been out three months with a series of shoulder injuries. After three minor league starts, he has been cleared to throw 75-80 pitches against the Rays.
“It’s been a long time,” Buchholz said after throwing in the bullpen at Yankee Stadium Sunday. “Even pitching in the rehab starts, you definitely feel how you haven’t been out there in a while. Mentally I’m ready.”
Buchholz knows that some questioned his desire to pitch.
“I know my body better than anybody else does,” he said. “At a certain point, yeah, I didn’t really think I’d be able to throw or let it go again. That’s what I was feeling. That feeling’s gone, and I feel good now.”
Buchholz could make four starts before the end of the regular season Sept. 29. That should give the Red Sox enough time to determine where — or if — he slots into their postseason rotation.
“Our goal would be to not only stretch him out but to see if there’s a certain dependability we’ll get from him,” Farrell said.
“We really can’t expect that he’ll come back and pitch to the form [he had]. We’re hopeful we get a guy who’s close to what he was prior to the injury.”
Buchholz was 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA in 12 starts. His last game in the majors was June 8.
With the Red Sox playing so well in recent weeks, Buchholz has the luxury of simply fitting into the rotation.
“I guess you don’t have to put too much pressure on yourself. We’ve got a little bit of a cushion. But I’ve been through it before where that disappears really quick,” he said, referring to the team’s collapse in September of 2011.
The Red Sox will stay with a five-man rotation. Lefthander Felix Doubront, who has a 6.60 ERA in his last six starts, will be skipped for at least one turn.
“I have no problem with that,” said Doubront, who is 10-6 with a 4.15 ERA.
“I’ll get some rest, do my work, and that’s that. This time it’s good. I feel like I need it.”
Time to rest
Two hot hitters, Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino, were out of the starting lineup Sunday. Napoli pinch hit in the ninth and struck out. “Planned days to take advantage of [Monday’s] off day as well,” Farrell said. “I think guys understand that, this time of year. Just trying to keep everybody as fresh as possible.” . . . Pedroia played his 1,000th game, the 29th player in Sox history to hit the mark . . . The Yankees were without Derek Jeter (sore left ankle) . . . Daniel Nava was 0 for 5. He had reached base in 41 consecutive starts, the majors’ second-longest streak this year.
The Red Sox recalled righthander Allen Webster from Triple A Pawtucket and will use him out of the bullpen. The 23-year-old was 1-2 with a 9.57 ERA in six starts for the Sox this season and 8-4 with a 3.60 ERA in 21 starts for Pawtucket . . . Former Sox star Mo Vaughn participated in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk Sunday to honor the memory of Jason Leader. In 1993, Vaughn befriended Leader, then an 11-year-old Jimmy Fund patient. Leader died in 1994 but Vaughn stayed in touch with his family. Sunday, Vaughn and his parents joined the fund-raising walk along Jason’s mother, Susan, and her four children.
Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com.