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As if the Boston Red Sox needed any more injuries to their depleted outfield, it was announced Monday that Cody Ross (broken bone in his left foot) will miss around six to eight weeks. Specifically, he has a small fracture in the navicular bone, which is the same bone that Dustin Pedroia required surgery on in 2010. Pedroia missed 85 games that season.
However, the BoSox are confident Ross won't need to go under the knife. That's the good news, since Carl Crawford (wrist, elbow) hasn't played yet this year and Jacoby Ellsbury (shoulder) has been out since April 13.
Adding to the outfield conundrum is Ryan Sweeney, who may need a stay on the seven-day DL while dealing with a minor concussion.
Ross has been one of the team's most consistent bats this year, putting up a .271 batting average with eight homers and 28 RBIs in 152 plate appearances. He's posted one of the best line-drive rates (21.9) of his career, but he's going down on strikes once every four at-bats.
He's benefiting from a fortunate HR/FB mark (20 percent) - Fenway Park has helped. His .271 BA is around the most you should expect out of him for the rest of the season, but the power numbers will come in handy, especially in a potent Boston offense that will only get stronger when its injured stars return.
In Ross' - and Sweeney's presumed - absences, the Red Sox will roll with an outfield consisting of Marlon Byrd, Daniel Nava and Che-Hsuan Lin.
Boston will probably recall Scott Podsednik Tuesday for outfield depth, too. Podsednik, after being traded from the Philadelphia Phillies, has a slash line of .323/.371/.484 with one homer, six RBIs, five runs and two thefts in nine games with Triple-A Pawtucket.
Lin's athleticism and speed give him more upside than Pods, but the two could very well be involved in a platoon - Lin facing lefties and Pods facing righties. Lin has the wheels for 20-plus stolen bags over a full season, but his bat lacks pop and BA skills.
Podsednik may have the upper hand for more playing time with Bobby Valentine due to his veteran presence and potential for more power with the stick. In the end, both fly-catchers will provide fleeting stolen base output until Sweeney returns. They'll probably only interest AL-only participants.
Valentine has another alternative that could make Lin and Pods even more useless: moving Adrian Gonzalez to right field to allow Will Middlebrooks to slide to first base when Kevin Youkilis (back) returns from the DL.
The BoSox are serious about considering this; A-Gon played two games in the outfield during an interleague series against the Philadelphia Phillies this past weekend, and they would really like to keep Middlebrooks' stick in the mix. Even if this becomes a reality, it likely won't happen every day, but it will still limit the opps for a Lin-Podsednik platoon.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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