Thursday Red Sox lineup: Jacoby Ellsbury returns

USA TODAY Sports

Jacoby Ellsbury is back in the lineup Thursday, dispelling any lingering doubts about the ankle injury he picked up against the Phillies.

The Red Sox have Jacoby Ellsbury back in the lineup Thursday, dispelling any lingering doubts about the health of the outfielders ankle.

After being removed from Sunday's game against the Phillies with a jammed ankle, Ellsbury has missed a pair of games while the team took a cautious approach to his recovery. For fans of another team that might not be such scary news, but these are the Red Sox, where players seem to find their way onto the disabled list as often as not. Seeing him back and actually playing again is a welcome reassurance that he's not somehow lost an arm.

Boston Red Sox

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  2. Daniel Nava, DH
  3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  4. Mike Napoli, 1B
  5. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
  6. Shane Victorino, RF
  7. Jonny Gomes, LF
  8. David Ross, C
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

Starting Pitcher -- Clay Buchholz

This is about the most mixed-up lineup we've seen out of the Sox so far this spring, at least when it comes to major leaguers. Against right-handed Kevin Correia, normally you'd expect Jarrod Saltalamacchia at catcher, and that Victorino - Gomes combination would ideally not be gracing the six and seven spots. Ortiz is out, however, while Jarrod Saltalamacchia did double time at (but not behind) the plate in the minor league games.

Meanwhile, the other two men who might have given this lineup a different look--Jackie Bradley Jr. and Ryan Sweeney--are at the center of attention as we wait for cuts. If Sweeney makes it, that's likely a bad sign for Bradley. But the Red Sox have until midnight to make that call, and they might take every minute they have.

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