Ellsbury greets, but doesn't play against, the Red Sox

Ellsbury greets, but doesn't play against, the Red Sox
March 18, 2014, 3:15 pm
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TAMPA -- He wasn't even in the lineup because of a strained calf muscle, but Jacoby Ellsbury continued to get some closure on his Red Sox career Tuesday.
      
First, a Red Sox clubhouse attendant brought over some of the equipment he left behind last October and delivered it to the Yankees home clubhouse here at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
      
Next, Ellsbury got a chance to renew acquaintances around the batting cage as the Yankees finished batting practice and the Red Sox were about to begin.
      
"It seemed pretty normal," he said of his interactions with former teammates. "It was good."
      
Recalling his decision to sign a seven-year, $153 million deal with the Yankees in early December, Ellsbury was careful to cast his time spent with the Sox in a positive light.
      
"I've always said I enjoyed playing there," he said. "I have a lot of memories. Spent nine years playing in the organization. That's roughly a third of my life with one team. So definitely a lot of great memories, a lot of friends over there and I still continue to have relationships with guys down the road."
      
The Yankees, who missed out on the postseason last year, pounced quickly with their offer and Ellsbury was gone before the winter meetings got underway.
      
"It happened pretty quick," said Ellsbury of the process. "You play deep, winning the World Series, you go play an extra month, then free agency hits and you start talking to teams. It was exciting when they made the offer, I saw what they were doing, their history, a chance to win right away, a chance to win championships. That was the biggest thing that was appealing."
      
But he said he had let the Sox know he hadn't ruled out remaining in Boston.
      
"They knew I enjoyed playing there," he said. "They definitely did."
      
Going from one rival to another has been, according to Ellsbury, "a very easy transition. Right when I signed, a few of the [Yankees] called me and congratulated me and let me know I was welcome here. Guys have been great. They've welcomed me with open arms."
      
Ellsbury won't travel to Fort Myers Thursday night when the Yankees come to visit, meaning the first time he'll face his former team on the field will be a regular season game in New York on April 10, with a visit to Fenway two weeks later.
      
"I'm looking forward to it," said Ellsbury. "You spend nine years with an organization -- you're drafted by them, go through the minor league system and everything. It will be different, obviously. But I'm definitely excited for the opportunity I have here and I was definitely blessed to play in that [Red Sox] organization . . . won two championships. Those are the memories I'll have -- all the positive stuff.
      
"But I feel fortunate to be over here with a great bunch of guys, a great organization, guys who are hungry and want to win."