BOSTON -- Jacoby Ellsbury could return to the Red Sox as soon as Wednesday for an Interleague game at Colorado.
"That's an optimistic view, but I'd hope we'd be able to get him some at-bats on that day," manager John Farrell said.
With the goal of playing in a few games before the regular season ends, Ellsbury has progressed faster than originally expected from a compression fracture in his right foot. He expects to be playing at full capacity in time for the playoffs.
"The goal is to [test my foot] before I play, so that will be the goal, to try to get all the stuff out of the way before I actually get in the game," Ellsbury said. "The doctors are very pleased; definitely ahead of schedule. The team, myself, feel very good about it."
Ellsbury hasn't played in a game since Sept. 5, but he's been hitting in the cage to stay sharp and doesn't expect an adjustment period.
"I think my timing will still be there," he said. "I think it's there now. Just doing all my drills down here felt good. First swing was a line drive."
Rotation adjusted; Lackey to start Tuesday
BOSTON -- The Red Sox switched up their starting rotation for their two-game Interleague series in Colorado that will begin on Tuesday.
Rather than giving John Lackey an inning out of the bullpen, as originally planned, Boston will have Lackey start Tuesday's game. He'll then start the regular-season finale against the Orioles on Sunday. Jake Peavy, originally scheduled to start on Tuesday, will start Wednesday instead.
"We still want to play a good brand of baseball," manager John Farrell said. "We don't see the clinching of the division as a breather. It's a matter of continuing on and playing a very sound brand of baseball."
In his first season since recovering from Tommy John surgery, Lackey has thrown 183 1/3 innings. But innings shouldn't be a concern for the right-hander, who averaged 194 innings a season between 2003 and 2011.
His highest total is 231 innings, combined with the postseason, in 2007.
Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester and Lackey will finish out the final three games of the season, in that order.
Sox will monitor Doubront's transition to 'pen
BOSTON -- Felix Doubront pitched seven strong innings as the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays, 5-2, Sunday.
Without the need for a fifth starter, Farrell said Doubront will be available out of the bullpen next weekend for the final two games of the regular season, but Doubront suggested that he had not been told of any such plans.
Even if Doubront gets a chance out of the 'pen before the season is over, Farrell is concerned that the lefty won't have enough time to transition to a relief role before the postseason begins.
"I know he's made some comments lately on the adjustments to his routine and what that might mean," Farrell said. "The difficult thing will be, when he's first available next weekend, how many opportunities can he get a look at from there."
Doubront had a breakout season as a starter in 2013, but he began to break down late in the year and required 2 1/2 weeks of rest between starts. Farrell said he was concerned with Doubront's stamina.
While the Red Sox have placed Ryan Dempster in the bullpen for the rest of the season, the adjustment may not be quite as seamless for Doubront, who has far less experience in that role.
"Obviously we've got some decisions to make when it comes to the postseason roster," Farrell said. "And all things will be taken into account."
Breslow encouraging kids to help make a change
BOSTON -- Red Sox reliever Craig Breslow has been raising money for pediatric cancer research since he founded the Strike 3 Foundation in 2008. Now he wants kids to help.
Breslow, who supports the theory that children need more than a classroom environment to help them learn and develop, is launching a program called Play it Forward, in which he's asking for ideas from kids in kindergarten through 12th grade.
How can children find a way to effect positive change in the search for a cure and the treatment of childhood cancer?
Kids are encouraged to submit their ideas online, at Strike3Foundation.org. The ideas are to be well-though out, with an action plan developed in advance. The best will be chosen and put into action by Breslow and venture capitalist Ted Dintersmith.
"The idea is to encourage kids to become creative, use their imagination and innovation to come up with an idea that would help another kid with cancer," Breslow said. "Do it, document the project, submit it and we'll award the best project."
Breslow, who has been to every charity event held by a Red Sox player this season, is the team's nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.