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06/08/10 8:40 PM ET

Ellsbury seeking answers about rib pain

CLEVELAND -- While the Red Sox prepared for Tuesday night's game against the Indians, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury got on a plane and flew to Los Angeles so he could get more answers regarding his troublesome left ribs.

Ellsbury will see Dr. Lewis Youcum at the Kerlan-Jobe orthopaedic clinic on Wednesday morning.

"He came in and worked out today, [and] I think he has a 5 o'clock flight out to the West Coast," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "He'll be examined thoroughly. Whatever that entails, they have our blessing. We need to try to get as much information as we can."

Ellsbury suffered a hairline fracture of four left ribs on April 11, when he collided with teammate Adrian Beltre in pursuit of a foul ball. The outfielder was activated on May 22 and played in three games before recurring discomfort forced him back to the disabled list.

Francona has been in contact with Scott Boras, who represents Ellsbury, the past couple of days.

Ellsbury will meet up with the Red Sox again when the club gets back to Boston on Friday. He is eligible to be activated on Saturday, but it would be a big surprise if Ellsbury returned that soon.

More than anything, the Red Sox hope that the visit with Yocum, who is one of the most renowned sports orthopedists in the world, will put Ellsbury's mind at ease.

"I hope there isn't something new. I think they're just trying to get to the bottom [of it], or if nothing else, get an opinion that's completely removed from everyone that's around him," Francona said. "Hopefully we'll get some news, and they'll say, 'We know you feel this, we understand that, and you can build up and you're not going to hurt yourself.' But we don't know. That's why we're sending him. We just want to get as much information as we can."

Delcarmen improving; Papelbon's return uncertain

CLEVELAND -- The Red Sox are without closer Jonathan Papelbon due to a family medical emergency until at least Thursday. However, setup man Manny Delcarmen could be closing in on a return to action. Delcarmen has been suffering back woes of late and had to come out of Sunday's game. He didn't pitch Monday.

"He said he feels better," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "When we go out and throw a little bit, we'll take stock, but he said [he was feeling] a lot better. Does that mean he can pitch tonight? I hope so. We'll see. We'd like to always not reach a day too soon. So regardless of what situation we're in, if he's not ready, we won't pitch him. But I think he feels a lot better."

As for Papelbon, the Red Sox are being respectful of his family's privacy and not disclosing the nature of his leave.

"He was able to go into the ballpark and do some stuff today, which is good," said Francona. "I don't know exactly what he was doing, I don't even know who was in there. He just hit me up real quick [with a text message] and said he was going to run in and do some work in the ballpark, which is good."

The earliest Papelbon can be activated is Thursday, but that is not a certainty.

"I don't know," Francona said. "That's touchy. When I told him we'd support him and his family, that's what I meant. So we'll see what happens."

Hermida could return to lineup Wednesday

CLEVELAND -- When the Red Sox face former teammate Justin Masterson on Wednesday night, they hope to have Jeremy Hermida back in the lineup. As Boston remembers during Masterson's stay with the team, he is much tougher on righties than lefties.

Hermida, a left-handed hitter, has been out since Friday night with sore ribs sustained in a collision with teammate Adrian Beltre.

The Red Sox faced lefty David Huff on Tuesday, so Hermida would not have played anyway.

"We'd like to get as many left-handed hitters as we can in there against Masty," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "I hope tomorrow's realistic. I guess tonight could be, too, pinch hitting. But I hope tomorrow's realistic."

Right fielder J.D. Drew also was out of the lineup on Tuesday night against the lefty.

"Because of who we have here, with [Darnell McDonald] and the guys who swing the bat against lefties, I think anytime we can get him a day off -- and it won't be a day off -- he'll be in this game, I'm guessing, but I think it just helps," said Francona. "He, physically, feels really good. You see the player we see. We just try to -- when there's a time to do it -- give him a little bit of a blow. He's played a lot of games, and out of necessity.

"There's been times when we've only had three outfielders. I've just noticed when he has a day under his belt, he comes out and he's a little bit different hitter. There's been times we haven't been able to do that, so we just do the best we can."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.