Boston Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury could come off the disabled list and rejoin the team on Friday.

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said Thursday that all signs point to Ellsbury being ready to start a three-game series at Tampa Bay.

Ellsbury has been out since hurting his right shoulder on April 13 while trying to break up a double play. He was the runner-up in the AL MVP voting last season and Boston has sorely missed him in the lineup.

Boston outfielder Carl Crawford, recovering from left wrist surgery and more recently a groin strain, was scheduled to start a minor league rehab assignment Thursday night with Triple-A Pawtucket.

Valentine also said rookie third baseman Will Middlebrooks, sidelined with a hamstring injury, is getting real close to returning.