Jacoby Ellsbury nearly ready for rehab assignment

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From Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston comes word that Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is set to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Friday.

Ellsbury will start his rehab by serving as the designated hitter in simulated games at extended spring training in Fort Myers, Florida. If that goes smoothly, he will eventually be allowed to report to one of the organization’s minor league affilliates.

The 28-year-old center fielder has been on the disabled list since April 14 with a dislocated right shoulder. He registered a spectacular .321/.376/.552 batting line with 32 home runs, 105 RBI and 39 stolen bases across a league-leading 732 plate appearances last season and should provide a big spark for the Boston offense when he returns to major league action shortly after the All-Star break.

ALCS Game 4 postponed

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As expected, a weather system that is supposed to pour rain on New York this evening has caused the league to postpone Game 4 of the ALCS.

The game will now be played tomorrow, with Game 5 moving to Friday, which was supposed to be a travel day. There will be no travel day now, with Games 6 and 7, if necessary, taking place in Houston on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

The postponement helps the Yankees some in the short term in that it gives their bullpen some rest and could allow them to go from a scheduled bullpen game, which is what they were going to use tonight, to giving Masahiro Tanaka the Game 4 start tomorrow. In the longer run, though, it works to the Astros’ advantage in that it allows them to skip their fourth starter (whoever that would be) or toss one of their big three on short rest and go with Zach Greinke and Justin Verlander over the next two games. Moreover, if the Yankees do manage to push this series to six or seven games — which they’ll have to now in order to win it — there will be four straight days worth of games, meaning no rest for that pen over the final four games.

Oh, and since the Nats swept the Cardinals, that means there’s no baseball tonight. Enjoy catching up on whatever it is you have on your DVR.