In the nine years Pawtucket has held a Bobblehead Doll Night promotion, never before had a former PawSox who’s been with Boston played in a rehab game the night his Bobblehead was being given to fans who entered McCoy Stadium.
Jacoby Ellsbury put his name in Pawtucket’s “record book” last night when he played six innings in the first of two games against the Durham Bulls and went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Ellsbury, who batted leadoff and played center field, lined an off-field single to left — on a 3-2 count in the first inning — off right-hander Virgil Vasquez, who pitched last season for the Pirates.
He scored when Dusty Brown was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Ellsbury flied out to deep left in the second with runners on first and second and no outs and singled to right in the fifth.
Reliever Mike Ekstrom, another right-hander, replaced Vasquez in the sixth. With runners on first and second and two outs, Ekstrom busted Ellsbury inside with a fastball and he fouled out to third baseman J.J. Furmaniak.
“From my standpoint, I was very pleased with his activity,” PawSox manager Torey Lovullo said. “He went first to third on (Daniel Nava’s) base hit (in the fifth). He showed great agility all the way around … defensively, at the plate.
“I think he felt really good. He was encouraged about the way he felt. He wanted to go four ABs. With the quick turnaround (Sunday, when Pawtucket plays a 1:05 p.m. game), we thought it would be good to get him out of the game and shoot for (Sunday) and stay positive.”
Ellsbury was called on to make only three plays in the field.
He easily handled routine singles by Furmaniak in the second and Desmond Jennings in the fourth, plus a sacrifice fly by Dan Johnson in the sixth.
Ellsbury initially was placed on Boston’s disabled list April 20 (retroactive to April 12) after suffering hairline fractures in four ribs during a collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre in Kansas City.
After rehabbing with Pawtucket and Portland, Ellsbury was activated by Boston on May 22 and was 1-for-14 with one RBI in three games.
He returned to the D.L. on May 28 because of recurring problems with the fractured ribs.
“I think I’m at a point where we’re comfortable about where I’m at,” Ellsbury said. “I’m not going to make my injury worse. There’s going to be some discomfort there but I think we’re at a point where I can go out and play.”
Lovullo also indicated that the Red Sox weren’t hesitant about playing Ellsbury in the field — at least for last night’s game — as opposed to having him be the designated hitter.
“I think they’ve got a really good feel for it,” Lovullo said. “I know he’s been down in the Gulf Coast League and he’s been on a program. Whatever his program is we’re going to follow it and get him as close to game ready as soon as possible and get him up to Boston as soon as possible.”