Ellsbury to have MRI on injured hand

Before Game 6 of the World Series on Wednesday night, Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury told some of the team’s coaches, “I’ve got no more bullets in the gun. We have to win tonight.”

Teammates would look at Ellsbury’s left hand during the post-season – discolored and severely swollen, up to the forearm – and express surprise that he was playing at all.

Ellsbury left a game early in September and missed another due to what the Red Sox announced as a bone bruise and swelling in the hand. But otherwise, he kept his injury out of the media, receiving much more attention for a compression fracture in his right foot that limited him to only three regular-season games after Sept. 5.

His hand issue, however, predated the foot ailment, causing Ellsbury to dramatically reduce the amount of batting practice he took after the All-Star break. Ellsbury will receive an MRI now that the World Series is over, but is confident that rest will alleviate his problems, according to team sources.

For Ellsbury, a left-handed hitter, the injury affected his top hand, requiring him to wrap it tightly and wear a protective brace. His fingers and palm are particularly swollen, and he aggravated his pinky diving back into first base in Game 6. Yet, he went 2-for-4 in the Red Sox’s 6-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Ellsbury hit particularly well in the Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays and American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers, batting .400 with a .992 OPS in 45 plate appearances. But before Wednesday night, he was only 4-for-20 in the World Series.

Still, Ellsbury appeared in all 16 of Boston’s post-season games after playing in 134 during the regular season. His teammates and Sox management knew how badly he was hurting, but few others did.

The Red Sox are likely to make Ellsbury a one-year qualifying offer to preserve their right to draft-pick compensation if he departs as a free agent. Ellsbury is expected to do just that, with the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers among his many possible suitors.