Thursday Red Sox Notes: Theo Epstein, Injury News For Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, And Rich Hill

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 01: Rich Hill #53 of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch against the Chicago White Sox on June 1, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Just as we were all ready to move on from stories on who is and is not attending tomorrow's celebration of Fenway's centennial, Rob Bradford reported today that Theo Epstein, of all people, had not received an invitation to the event.

The good news is that this doesn't seem like it has the makings of another major controversy, as the issue of inviting Theo simply slipped through the cracks, rather than being some spiteful maneuver by an embittered front office (oh, wouldn't those stories have been fun). The bad news is that this does make the Sox seem like even more of a circus after a week which has already done that well enough.

The team has done its best to make things right, inviting Epstein to the game (the ceremony, they say, is reserved for uniformed personnel). Epstein, having only received such an invitation with 24 hours notice, politely declined:

I hope tomorrow is a great day for Red Sox fans and for the whole organization. I have plans to be at the Cubs game tomorrow, but I will take a moment to toast Fenway along with everyone else who loves that ballpark.

-Via Patrick Mooney

It's an answer that shouldn't breed any responses from anywhere, letting this story die mercifully soon so long as there aren't any non-uniform personnel attending.

Staying on that subject, Curt Schilling will also be absent from tomorrow's celebration. The former Sox pitcher released this statement earlier today:

To Red Sox Nation,

I apologize that business at 38 Studios has made my participation in the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park impossible. Please understand that should in no way indicate my love and passion for Red Sox Nation. There was no greater feeling than standing on that mound, in that park, in front of you fans. The memories I was honored to be a part of, from David's walk off HR in the 2004 ALDS, to going 4-0 in World Series games in that park, to the true honor of wearing that uniform every single day is something I am blessed to have, and will never forget.

I was and always have been opinionated, and unafraid to share my opinion, and for that I accept whatever it is you think of me. But please know that when I had the ball in my hand I gave the team, and you, every ounce of everything I had to get a "W." It was an honor to wear the uniform, and compete with the incredible team and teammates I was allowed to.

Every great memory I have in that uniform is because of the people that paid to watch us play, and I will be forever grateful to you for that.

Thank you and God Bless,

Curt Schilling

It's a little sad to see that second paragraph in there--an acknowledgement from Curt that there's a growing division between him and a contingent of Sox fans based on his outspokenness with the media in recent years. He's not wrong, but for what it's worth I expect he's going to have to do a lot worse to actually lose the gratitude stemming from '04 and '07, even if we do start to grimace every time he hits the airwaves.

****

A bevy of injury news from Brian MacPherson over at the Providence Journal.

There is no timetable for the return of Jacoby Ellsbury, who has been icing his dislocated shoulder as he moves towards rehab. We've all heard the six week estimates, of course, but we won't really know much for sure until he starts on a rehab schedule in earnest.

Carl Crawford's elbow is still not healthy enough to make throws from the outfield, according to Bobby Valentine. While Crawford has been getting in some at bats in extended spring training games, he has been doing so strictly as the designated hitter.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is also spending his days down in Fort Myers, made the trip north to touch base with Bobby Valentine and the training staff as he continues what seems like a miraculously quick recovery from Tommy John Surgery. Daisuke has had his conflicts with the Sox in the past over how he prepared for his games, so it makes sense that the new staff would want to have a sit down and hash things out with him before he makes his return.

*****

In other injury-related news, Rich Hill is almost back from his. Ben Cherington told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe today that Hill was on his way to Pawtucket, making a final rehab stop before returning to the Red Sox. Hill looked amazing in the short time he was with the team last year, and having him back could prove a major boost to a bullpen in serious need of one.

*****

Finally, Adrian Beltre was shocked by the leaking of stories out of last year's clubhouse:

"It surprised me that it came out," Beltre said. "I think some other teams do it, but it doesn't come out. We do a lot of things in the clubhouse that aren't supposed to come out of the clubhouse, but for some reason it happened that it came out."

-Via Rob Bradford, WEEI

As disappointing as it was to miss the playoffs that year, I can almost look back at 2010 with fondness now. Things were simpler that year: bad injuries killed us, we'll be back next year. Now everything is so much cloudier, and with significantly fewer head rubs per game.

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