A tough 7-6 loss to the Tigers on Saturday couldn't mar positive news for the Red Sox on the injury front.
In addition to the scheduled returns of Josh Beckett and Mike Cameron next week, manager Terry Francona said after Saturday's game that disabled outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury will likely begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment on Monday with Triple-A Pawtucket, according to multiple media reports.
Ellsbury has been sidelined due to fractured ribs after colliding with third baseman Adrian Beltre on April 11 in Kansas City.
"I think we're getting very close to sending him out to get some at-bats," Francona told ESPNBoston.com. "I'm going to meet with him and Theo [Epstein] in a little while, and we're going to make a decision, but he's confident that he can start playing."
With Pawtucket scheduled to embark on a road swing after Monday's game, Ellsbury is tentatively scheduled to join Double-A Portland on Tuesday so that he can remain closer to the Red Sox, who play a two-game set vs. the Yankees in New York on Monday and Tuesday before coming back home to host the Twins on Wednesday and Thursday.
Ellsbury played in just six games before going down with the injury. He was batting .333 with two stolen bases in 30 plate appearances.
Dan Mennella is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.