Every game is becoming increasingly crucial for the Yankees as they head into the final month of the season. After losing two out of three in Toronto, their margin for error has become even slimmer.
New York is four games back of Detroit (and behind Cleveland and Seattle) in the race for the second American League Wild Card. The Yankees will begin a nine-game, 11-day homestand on Tuesday when the Red Sox come to the Bronx. Shane Greene will get the ball for New York and Joe Kelly will go for Boston.
Jacoby Ellsbury could be back in the Yankees' lineup Tuesday, after sitting back-to-back games due to a sore left ankle. Ellsbury completed some light running, took batting practice and walked without a limp before Sunday's game. He hit a bloop double while pinch-hitting in the ninth inning of Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays.
"He wants to play, he's a competitor," manager Joe Girardi said before Sunday's game. "All these guys want to play when they are beat up. That's the way you want players to be, but sometimes you have to help make decisions for them."
Ellsbury has been the Yankees' most consistent hitter throughout the season and was their hottest hitter during the month of August, as he batted .324 with five homers. On the season, he's hit .288/.348/.435 with 14 home runs and 37 stolen bases.
Kelly, meanwhile, has been much better in his last two outings for the Red Sox after struggling with his command in his first three starts since coming to Boston from St. Louis on July 31. He's allowed just four hits, five walks and two runs over 11 innings against the Mariners and Blue Jays.
Kelly left his Aug. 22 start with a "minor tweak" in his right shoulder and was on a pitch count against Toronto on Wednesday, but he seems to be 100 percent heading into Tuesday's start.
Yankees: Greene looks to continue impressive rookie year
With so many injuries to the Yankees' rotation this season, Greene has stepped up and filled in seamlessly. He will take the mound on Tuesday against the Red Sox, looking to continue his impressive rookie campaign.
Greene limited the Tigers to two runs and five hits over seven innings in his last start to improve to 4-1 with a 3.09 ERA on the year. He fanned eight during that contest, one in which the Yankees rocked David Price for nine straight hits and eight runs in the third inning.
"Sometimes you think, 'Hurry up, I want to get back out there,'" Greene said. "But it's nice when a team can go out there and put up runs like that."
Red Sox: Pedroia will likely miss Yankees series
Although he's feeling better, it's unlikely that second baseman Dustin Pedroia will return from his concussion until this weekend at the earliest, manager John Farrell said Monday.
"He still has some of the symptoms," said Farrell. "So this is clearly a day-to-day thing. We're probably at least another day from any kind of exertion test or any kind of ramping up of the heart rate to see if there's still some residual [symptoms]. But he's sore where the impact took place on the side of the head. As I mentioned the other day, we'll be cautious with this."
Rays infielder Logan Forsythe accidentally struck Pedroia in the face on Saturday while he was sliding into second base. Pedroia's played in all but six games this season, and since the start of 2011, he has missed only 32 contests.
Brock Holt was at second base -- the position he came through the Pirates' system playing -- on Monday. Top prospect Mookie Betts has played second for much of his Minor League career, but with Pedroia there for the long haul, the Red Sox moved him to center field, where he started Monday. He'll likely stay in the outfield, Farrell said.
"No, because it's been quite a while since Mookie has had any reps at second," Farrell said of the possibility Betts moves back to the infield. "He's had a lot on his plate this year with defensive positioning and changes to it and don't want to take him back and forth."
• The Yankees are 8-4 against the Red Sox this season.
• David Ortiz sat Monday against the Rays, but Farrell expects the slugger to be full-go against the Yankees this week.
"We'd kind of earmarked a couple of days on this trip. That was even before he fouled a ball off his foot," Farrell said. "With a left-hander going [Monday], felt like this was the day to give him a day. He'd be fully ready to go through the New York series."
• The Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Red Sox defeated the GCL Yankees 8-1 Monday to win the league's championship.
Jamal Collier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.