Ellsbury activated; 'excited' to be back in lineup

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Ellsbury activated; 'excited' to be back in lineup

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Following an absence that lasted one day shy of three months, Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the Red Sox lineup Friday, sufficiently healed from his right shoulder subluxation suffered during the team's home opener on April 14.

"It feels good to be back in the lineup,'' said Ellsbury. "I worked hard to get back to this point, so I'm definitely excited.''

Ellsbury played eight games in the minors as part of his rehab assignment and said he's been cleared by medical personnel to play as he ordinarily would.

"I feel comfortable,'' said Ellsbury. "The doctors and myself are confident. You should expect to see the normal me. I'm going out there and playing hard and I'm excited to be out there today.''

It may take time for him to fully regain his timing at the plate, but Ellsbury thinks that will come quickly.

"I'm ready to go,'' he said. "I feel good, as good as you can coming back. I'm very confident, but most importantly, just excited to be out there and we're all hoping for a great second half from the team.''

Frustrated by the long layoff, Ellsbury said it was "frustrating'' to watch as his team slogged through the first half shorthanded, finishing with a .500 record.

But with Ellsbury back and Carl Crawford expected to join him next week, the team may be ready to take off.

"We're excited,'' he said. "We have a great opportunity. We're definitely within striking distance and there's a lot of games left. There's a lot of great ballplayers on this team and we're excited about this opportunity. We're getting guys back.

"I think guys have done a tremendous job (while they've been out). We're in a great position and we're looking for a strong second half.''

Manager Bobby Valentine was uncertain whether Ellsbury will play every game this series.

"We'll just take it day-by-day,'' Valentine said. "I don't have a long-term plan. We'll obviously have to see how he feels. He looks great.''

Moreland, Travis homer to lead Red Sox past Northeastern 9-6 in opener

Moreland, Travis homer to lead Red Sox past Northeastern 9-6 in opener

Mitch Moreland and Sam Travis hit three-run homers and left-hander Brian Johnson started and pitched two scoreless innings to help the Red Sox win their spring training opener, 9-6, over Northeastern University on Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Johnson, who made one spot start in his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2015 but then was derailed by injuries and anxiety issues last season, struck out three and walked one Thursday. He's expected to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 5-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 15 starts in 2016.

Moreland, the left-handed hitting first baseman signed to a one-year deal after spending his first seven seasons with the Texas Rangers, and Travis, a right-handed hitting first base prospect coming back from knee surgery last season, each hit three-run homers in a six-run third inning.

Pablo Sandoval, attempting to reclaim the third-base job after missing nearly all of last season after surgery on his left shoulder, went 1-for-2 with a double. 

The Red Sox open Grapefruit League play Friday afternoon when they host the New York Mets at JetBlue Park. 

Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

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Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

CSN baseball analyst Lou Merloni sits down with Pedro Martinez and Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis to discuss one of Pedro's greatest games. 

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On September 10, 1999 at the height of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, Pedro Martinez struck out 17 Yankees in a complete game victory, with the only hit he allowed being a home run to Chili Davis. The two men recall that memorable night in the Bronx, and discuss the state of pitching in 2017.