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05/28/10 4:14 PM ET

Troublesome ribs put Ellsbury back on DL

No timetable set for Red Sox center fielder's return to lineup

BOSTON -- As much as Jacoby Ellsbury wanted to get back on the field, he can now say with the benefit of hindsight that he wasn't quite ready. So six days after Ellsbury was activated, the Red Sox center fielder was placed back on the 15-day disabled list before Friday night's game against the Royals.

Ellsbury's comeback lasted all of three games before he started experiencing discomfort again in his left side. The injury was initially sustained on April 11, when Ellsbury had a nasty collision with teammate Adrian Beltre while in pursuit of a foul ball.

For the past few days, Ellsbury and the Red Sox's medical staff huddled in search of a solution for his setback. Ellsbury met with a thoracic specialist during the day on Friday and it was after that consultation that the Sox put him back on the DL.

"I mean, basically, I tried to play with a level of discomfort, knowing that I wasn't 100 percent, and doing so worsened my condition," Ellsbury said. "But I saw a thoracic specialist today and he basically advised me that I need to be at a further stage of healing before I resume play. To this point right now, I really don't have a timeline for when I'm going to come back."

What Ellsbury seems to need more than anything is just more time.

"Just talking with the medical staff, I'm going to do everything I can to get back on the field as quickly as possible," Ellsbury said. "That being said, I'm going to listen to the doctors, the medical staff, and listen to what they have to say before I get back on the field."

Upon returning from the DL, Ellsbury had just one hit in 14 at-bats.

"I think Jacoby is probably healing faster than a normal person, but the normal person doesn't try to play center field and lead off, so we're gonna back off a little bit, let him try to feel a little bit better where he can play and not go backwards and feel it as much," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "I mean, I think we all knew he'd feel it. That's how it's gonna be. But it's gotten in the way of him playing productively. We'll try to slow it down a little bit. [As for] the timetable, the best we can say is we hope it's quick. But I don't know."

Unlike the first time Ellsbury went on the disabled list, Boston at least has its other center fielder active this time around in Mike Cameron. In fact, Cameron returned from his lower abdominal strain on Tuesday.

"Still, I don't know if it makes it easier," Francona said. "Jacoby is a really good player and he makes our lineup look different. But we have to do what's right."

To replace Ellsbury on the roster, the Red Sox recalled veteran reliever Scott Atchison from Triple-A Pawtucket. It has been a whirlwind week for Atchison, who was initially recalled from Pawtucket on Monday, only to be designated for assignment the next day when Ellsbury started experiencing discomfort and the club needed to keep outfielder Darnell McDonald on the roster.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.