For the first time in his major league career, Jacoby Ellsbury will hit third in the Red Sox lineup Tuesday, a move that manager Bobby Valentine hoped would get the outfielder going at the plate.
Since returning after missing three months with an early season shoulder separation, Ellsbury has had little impact. He's hitting just .261 since coming back in the first game of the second half of the season.
Ellsbury has just one homer and 11 RBI this season.
"Just talking to the coaching staff,'' said Valentine, "they feel like, in the past, sometimes he's been moved out of the leadoff spot and he's gotten a little more aggressive. I took the head of that, to see if we can get him a little more aggressive.''
Valentine thinks Ellsbury is close to getting locked in at the plate, but currently seems caught in-between -- in other words, out front on breaking balls and a little late on fastballs.
"I'm not sure I can make a fair evaluation in a comparitive way,'' said Valentine, having not seen as much of Ellsbury in the past. "Just watching him come back, he's just mis-hit a lot of balls. The fastball that's up and away that he takes a really good swing at, ends up behind home plate.
"The breaking ball that seems like he's right on has been a ground ball to second or first. For me, in the simplest form, means just he's (a fraction) out in front of the breaking ball and (a fraction) behind the fastball. But maybe it's more than that. I can't make the comparison. They look like really good full swings -- and they're going to right side of the infield. And really good full swings (on fastballs) and the balls are going straight back.''
Big Papi's "spring training" involves a beach chair -- not a baseball bat.
The former Boston Red Sox slugger made it clear on Instagram that he has no interest in returning to Jet Blue Park to begin training for the 2017 MLB season.
He announced in Nov. 2015 he would be retiring after the 2016 season, and he appears completely content with that decision despite speculation of his return to MLB. Ortiz posted a video on Sunday of himself in a beach chair reclined and relaxed.
"What's up [Instagram]. Oh, so good be retired. At the beach with the familia, the ladies. Big Papi in the bulding. This is my spring training. How 'bout dat? Enjoy. See you when I see you. Peace," he said, and then chuckled.
Ortiz's video came a few days after Hanley Ramirez said that if Ortiz made a return to baseball, he would be doing it, in part, for Ramirez, because they miss each other.
WBZ's Dan Roche then tweeted out Ramirez's comment on Thursday, and Big Papi waited no time to respond. Within 16 minutes, Ortiz had responded to reiterate he would not be returning to the Sox.
Jackie Bradley Jr. will likely have a spotless attendance record for White House trips.
The Boston Red Sox outfielder began discussing those championship trips to meet the president after Red Sox chairman Tom Werner referenced the New England Patriots' Super Bowl win at a team get-together on Friday morning.
“If my team is going, yes, I’m going,” Bradley Jr. told WEEI.com's Rob Bradford, adding later, “I don’t like politics, not even a little bit.”
The Patriots so far have six players who have openly stated they will not attend New England's White House trip to meet President Donald Trump. Team leaders like Dont'a Hightower and Devin McCourty are among those unwilling to attend.
For Bradley, the White House trip is not about making a political statement.
“The reason why we’re going there is because we did something together as a team. The White House is cool,” he said. “I’m with my team."
The 26-year-old outfielder has twice attended the championship trip to the nation's capital. In college, he went with the South Carolina Gamecocks after they won the College World Series. He later attended with the Red Sox in 2013. Bradley Jr. said he enjoyed attending the White House to meet Barack Obama, but added he wasn't concerned with which president was hosting the event.
He said: “How many people can say they’ve been to the White House? That alone. There is a lot history there, and I’m a big fan of architecture. I think the whole thing is unique.”