BOSTON (CBS) – Here we are just 10 days away from Opening Day and the rival New York Yankees are already uncertain about the health of their $153 million dollar man.
Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was sent for an MRI Thursday of his ailing right calf, which was negative.
Ellsbury hasn’t played since March 14. He was scratched from Sunday’s game against Atlanta because of right calf tightness.
The knock on Ellsbury here in Boston was that he was very high maintenance and would miss games for what other ball players would consider normal bumps and bruises. It seems as though his reputation has followed him to his new team.
According to CSNNE’s Sean McAdam, the running joke between members of the New York media is, “Will Ellsbury have more MRI’s or hits this spring training?”
“I see that storyline slowly developing. It’s really a storyline the New York media can sink their teeth into. I think Jacoby last year was not only cognizant of that storyline, but also recognizing free agency was ahead. I think that led him to coming back quickly from the broken bone in his foot in September. It led him to play through the postseason where he had the wrist/thumb injury that was impacting his swing.
“He was more mindful of combating that reputation last year, and I wonder how that’s going to play in New York. He might have to gut it out a little in the beginning so that narrative doesn’t start rolling downhill on him.”
The Boston sports media has a reputation for being hard on players, and the fact that Ellsbury’s in New York now he’s undergone plenty of training on how to deal with scrutiny over the course of his career.
McAdam thinks the two markets are very similar and Ellsbury won’t have it any better or worse in the Big Apple.
“I don’t think the New York media is all that different than the Boston media. Seems to me that if you played here in Boston then going to New York is not that big of a leap. But that storyline is sitting there waiting to be unleashed in the new market if you will. It should definitely be a concern of his.”
John Farrell has his starting rotation already set for the start of the season. Jon Lester will take the mound first, followed by John Lackey, Felix Doubront, Jake Peavy and Clay Buchholz.
Based purely on talent alone Clay Buchholz is more of a number two starter, but starting him fifth allows the Red Sox to manage his workload over the course of a 162-game regular season.
McAdam thinks people pay too much attention to the order of the starting rotation because in the end it’s meaningless.
“It’s kind of like the batting order debate. Once you go through it once does it really matter? You get Jon Lester on Opening Day and he draws Chris Tillman of the Orioles, and maybe for awhile that means he matches up against the other team’s number one. But then you get rain outs, doubleheaders, off days and pretty soon there’s not a whole lot of significance to who’s lined up where.”
Veteran pitcher Francisco Cordero was signed to a minor league contract in the offseason but has played very well in spring training. McAdam thinks even though he’s pitched in seven scoreless appearances he doesn’t envision Cordero sticking with the big league club – at least not at the beginning of the season.
Another major storyline in spring training has been contract extension talk between two of the Sox biggest stars in David Ortiz and Jon Lester.
McAdam believes a deal will be reached in the next 10 days for Ortiz, but with Lester it’s a little trickier, only because “A nine-figure deal takes a little longer to put together than a one-year deal.”
The Detroit Tigers are poised to compete again in the American League, but they’ll be without former Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias for up to six months with stress fractures in both legs.
The Tigers need a short term fix at the position, but at this point they’re not willing to part with their first round draft pick in order to sign free agent Stephen Drew. To them, a one year rental is not worth their first round draft pick.
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