BOSTON -- Jacoby Ellsbury missed Wednesday night's home finale, but Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine is confident the center fielder will play during the six-game road trip through Baltimore and New York.

"He's doing OK," Valentine said. "The training room thought another day would be best. And being that he doesn't play today, he actually gets two days. Hopefully he'll be OK when we get to Baltimore."

While the Red Sox have yet to publicly identify what Ellsbury's injury is, one report said that it was a strained lat muscle.

Valentine doubted that Ellsbury will be shut down for the season.

"If it comes to that, yeah," Valentine said. "[But] he says he wants to play."

Valentine confident he will remain Sox skipper

BOSTON -- Though his first season as the manager of the Red Sox wasn't anything like he hoped or expected, Bobby Valentine is confident it won't be his last.

In the hours leading up to Wednesday's home finale against the Rays, Valentine said he hadn't pondered that it could be his last Fenway game as manager until a reporter mentioned it to him.

As for the barrage of injuries and a blockbuster trade that sent some key players out of town, Valentine didn't use those as excuses for his team's 69-86 record.

"All those variables are things I think I'm prepared to handle," Valentine said. "When I come back next year, I'll think I'm prepared to handle them. Hopefully we'll have better results."

Yes, Valentine did say "when" he comes back.

"There hasn't been any dialogue [with front office and ownership]," said Valentine, who has a year left on his contract. "We've talked, but [not about the job], which makes me think I'm coming back. I don't know."

It was mentioned to Valentine that he "got cheated" out of the typical experience of managing at Fenway Park, a venue which is usually filled with drama-filled victories and postseason runs.

"I got cheated? I don't know if I feel like I got cheated," Valentine said. "We didn't have it. That's for sure. I feel something, I feel bad that we didn't have it."

Did Valentine learn anything about himself during a trying season?

"I don't know about learning about myself. I have the gas masks. I can handle the chemical weapons. The bullets penetrated but they didn't kill me," quipped Valentine. "What do I know about myself? I'm almost a year older. I know that. And it's gone quickly."

Yaz, Dewey say Sox will soon return to glory

BOSTON -- It has been decades since either Carl Yastrzemski or Dwight Evans played a game for the Red Sox. Yet both players still keep a close enough eye on their former team to be confident that the team will be championship-caliber again in the not-too-distant future.

"I know these guys, these owners, they want to win," said Evans, who along with Yaz was recognized as part of the All-Fenway Park Team prior to Wednesday night's game against the Rays.

Count Evans among those who endorsed the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to the Dodgers for prospects.

"Well, obviously we're going to rebuild," Evans said. "We're looking at that. We looked at a trade a month-and-a-half ago that I thought was a very interesting trade and a good trade. So I think it freed us up to go and interject some quality players into the core that we have, that we've raised through this system.

"I'm not sure that's their plan, but I would think it is. I know that they want to win. They love being in that winners' circle and I think they're dedicated. I don't know when it's going to be. I don't know if it's going to be two years, three years, but we will be back."

Yastrzemski is a fan of Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, whom he got to know when Cherington was in a previous role with the club as farm director. Yaz works every Spring Training with Minor League hitters in Boston's system.

"The Red Sox will be back," Yastrzemski said. "Ben Cherington did a great job in the Minor League system, don't you agree? He's a good baseball man. And the one thing I like about him, he asks for your opinion. It's not like, well 'I know everything.' He'll ask people for their opinions, which is a good sign. No one in this game knows it all."