Ellsbury back in the leadoff spot against Northeastern

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Ellsbury back in the leadoff spot against Northeastern

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Before Saturday night, the last time Jacoby Ellsburys name was atop a Red Sox lineup was Aug. 13, when the Sox lost 10-9 in Texas. It was also Ellsburys last game of 2010, one of just 18 in which he appeared after breaking his ribs in a collision with former third baseman Adrian Beltre in the ninth inning on April 9 in Kansas City.

Manager Terry Francona said in the offseason his best team is one with Ellsbury
batting leadoff. Francona was only able to write Ellsburys name in that spot
for 15 games in 2010, with Ellsbury batting ninth in the other three games.

Ellsbury hit just .192 with four extra-base hits (all doubles), 10 runs scored,
and five RBI in 2010. His seven stolen bases were well off his American League-leading 50 and 70 in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

In the lead-off spot in 2009, Ellsbury hit .300 with 75 runs scored, 24 doubles, eight triples, four home runs, 45 RBI, and 52 stolen bases.

Ellsbury was finally back at the top of the Red Sox lineup on Saturday night. It mattered little that the game was against Northeastern University. He went 0-for-1 with a walk.

It felt good getting out there and getting some at-bats in and some innings, Ellsbury said.

I feel good. I feel actually ahead of schedule than normal spring training. So I think everythings going along smoothly.

Ellsbury said he felt no hesitation in the field or at the plate.

Not at all, he said. Thats what we had the offseason for, is to get rid of all the hesitation, come in to spring training and just ready to be back.

Ellsbury is not scheduled to play Sunday against the Twins.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Did Matt Barnes deserve 4 games for throwing at Manny Machado?

Did Matt Barnes deserve 4 games for throwing at Manny Machado?

Bob Ryan and Lou Merloni react to Matt Barnes being handed a 4-game suspension for throwing at Manny Machado, and whether he deserved it.

Matt Barnes gets 4-game suspension for throwing at Manny Machado

Matt Barnes gets 4-game suspension for throwing at Manny Machado

MLB has suspended and fined Boston Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes for throwing at the head of Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. Barnes' suspension will last four games. His fine is an undisclosed amount.

Barnes has elected to appeal, and so his suspension will be postponed until the appeal process has finished.

Barnes' throw at Machado appeared to be a response to the Orioles third baseman's decision to slide cleats up into Pedroia, who left the game and has missed the two games that followed. He's still day-to-day. However, Pedroia vocally disapproved of Barnes' decision.