BOSTON (CBS) – Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the Red Sox lineup Tuesday night, and wasted little time in making his presence felt.
Ellsbury led off the first inning with a single, quickly stole second, and moved to third on a Marco Scutaro sacrifice. He scored on Adrian Gonzalez’s two-run homer to give the Sox an early 2-0 lead in their 11-5 win over the Rangers.
“It felt good to be back I the lineup; I just wanted to bring some energy,” Ellsbury said. “I wanted to set the tone from the get-go.”
“He was back about six seconds and he’s standing on third,” said manager Terry Francona.
Ellsbury finished the game 1-for-4 with an intentional walk in the third inning. After missing three games with a contusion in his back, Ellsbury said it was like he never left.
“We play this enough where I don’t think three days makes a difference,” he said.
The Red Sox leadoff man has been sensational this season, batting .312 and leading the way with 90 runs scored and 34 stolen bases. Ellsbury has had a power surge in 2011, blasting 22 homers and driving in 79 runs.
“He impacts us a lot obviously,” Francona said after the game. “(It’s) nice to see him healthy, make a play in center and moving around.”
Reinserting Ellsbury into the slumping lineup will help the team as they head for a big stretch. After two more in Texas, the Sox return home for three against the Athletics before opening two big series; the Yankees and Rangers for three games each at Fenway.
The Red Sox will get another one of their walking wounded back Wednesday, when DH David Ortiz returns to the lineup after missing nine games with bursitis in his right heel. With Ortiz returning, Ellsbury knows it will only help the team, and his numbers.
“He’s a big part of our lineup; middle of the order, he drives in runs. He’s a threat in there. It’ll be nice to have him back,” said Ellsbury.