Ellsbury leaving contract talks alone

879579.jpg

Ellsbury leaving contract talks alone

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Limited to just 74 games last season after suffering a right shoulder subluxation on April 13 against the Rays, Jacoby Ellsbury hit just .271 with four home runs, 26 RBI, a .313 on-base percentage, and .370 slugging percentage. The dismal performance was even more discouraging for the Red Sox coming on the heels of Ellsbury's 2011 campaign when he finished second in American League MVP voting.

But, Ellsbury is happy to report to camp fully healthy.

I feel great, Ellsbury said Thursday inside the Sox spring training clubhouse.

The biggest thing is I got a great off-season workout in. Pretty much did everything that I needed to do to prepare for this year. I feel great coming to spring training. There are no limitations or anything, just go out and play.

That's something Ellsbury has not always been able to do over the last three seasons. Limited by injuries, from 2010-12 he appeared in just 250 games, the equivalent of a little more than a season and a half. Its what Ellsbury is capable of doing when healthy that the Sox are counting on. In 2011, Ellsbury hit .321, with 32 home runs, 105 RBI, 119 runs scored, 39 stolen bases, a .376 OBP, and .552 SLG.

A healthy Jacoby Ellsbury is a darned good player, said manager John Farrell. One that two years ago set the tone for this team. The production was almost middle-of-the-order type of production but yet top of the order and can steal a base. The top of your order as they go, so goes the team, and to have him back healthy, weve all seen what hes capable of. So he looks great. The way he talks about how he feels, and all those issues, whether its been shoulder or rib cage, thats a thing of the past right now.

Whether it will be a thing of the long-term future for the Sox is unknown. Ellsbury, the Sox' first-round pick in 2005 out of Oregon State who turned 29 in August, is in his final year before free agency. And with Scott Boras as an agent, he is unlikely to reach an extension with the team before that. Ellsbury deflected all contract questions Thursday.

Last year, I kind of got hit with the same questions, Ellsbury said. I think its, Im focused just on playing, focused on helping the team win. And any questions about contracts or anything like that I think is best just to call my agent. Do it that way.

While he wouldnt talk about his contract, Ellsbury did say he enjoys playing in Boston.

I love the atmosphere, he said. Obviously the fans, therell be times in the middle of the season when youre worn down a little bit and you just step on that ball field and youre reenergized. So just the competitive atmosphere, you have to win and that's great for all of us, that environment. I think I thrive in that environment. I enjoy it. So thats why with the guys we brought in this year, a lot of them I work out with in the offseason or train with or have got to know thru out the years. I think we brought in a great bunch of guys.

Farrell doesnt see Ellsburys contract situation becoming a distraction. But, he hopes the prospect of a new deal could affect his center fielder.

Hopefully in a good way, Farrell said. I dont think that becomes a distraction for him. Hes a motivated player. Were not going to change things in terms of him becoming a pending free agent. I know hes focused on his daily work and getting back on the field and demonstrating what he can do.

Ellsbury is optimistic both he and the team can rebound from their dismal 2012 seasons.

Thats our mindset since I was drafted. Its all about winning here, he said. Thats the most important thing. I think we got a bunch of guys that want to win, have the same goals. Obviously its spring training, come together, and it should be exciting to see Opening Day.

Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

red_sox_brian_johnson_2_052617.jpg

Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

BOSTON - Brian Johnson had quite a turnaround in his second time on Fenway Park's mound.

Johnson pitched a five-hitter in his first big league appearance at Fenway, and the Boston Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

The 26-year-old left-hander became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998. In Johnson's first start in Fenway - his fourth as a professional - he sustained a season-ending facial fracture when he hit by a line drive while pitching for Class A Lowell in 2012.

"The last time I walked off the mound here was 2012 and I made two pitches," Johnson said. "Today I went nine innings. Today was pretty cool."

Johnson left Triple-A for a little over a month last season to get treatment for an anxiety issue.

"Obviously with some stuff that I've been gone through in my career, it's an awesome feeling" he said.

But despite the stellar outing, Johnson was optioned back to Triple-A after the game.

"That's the reality of the game," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We had a chance to congratulate him and yet option him back to Pawtucket, with David Price coming here Monday."

Brought up from the minors for the start, Johnson (2-0) gave up five singles, struck out eight and walked none. His only previous big league starts were at Houston on July 21, 2015, and at Toronto on April 18 this year.

Johnson was helped by a semi-leaping catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at the wall in the sixth, Bradley's diving grab of Nelson Cruz's sinking liner in the ninth and Bradley's game-ending running catch of Kyle Seager's drive.

Xander Bogaerts' RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth

Shut out for the second straight day, Seattle has lost seven of eight.

"Their guy threw the ball over the plate. He threw strikes," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "I won't take anything away from what he did, but we're not swinging the bat very well."

Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his Mariners' debut, his first big league start since Aug. 23 for Atlanta. He is Seattle's 12th starting pitcher, the most in the major leagues.

Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also had RBI singles in the first, when the Red Sox had two batters hit by pitches, two walks and two runners thrown out on the bases - Dustin Pedroia at third for the first out and Hanley Ramirez at the plate for the last.

Johnson beats Mariners 6-0 for Red Sox' 6th straight win

red_sox_brian_johnson_052617.jpg

Johnson beats Mariners 6-0 for Red Sox' 6th straight win

BOSTON - Brian Johnson pitched a five-hitter in his first big league appearance at Fenway Park, and the Boston Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

Brought up from Triple-A Pawtucket, Johnson (2-0) gave up five singles, struck out eight and walked none. The 26-year-old left-hander's only previous big league starts were at Houston on July 21, 2015, and at Toronto on April 18 this year.

Johnson became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998. In Johnson's first start in Fenway - his fourth as a professional - he sustained a season-ending facial fracture when he hit by a line drive while pitching for Class A Lowell in 2012.

Johnson was helped by a semi-leaping catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at the wall in the sixth, Bradley's diving grab of Nelson Cruz's sinking liner in the ninth and Bradley's game-ending running catch of Kyle Seager's drive.

Xander Bogaerts' RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth

Shut out for the second straight day, Seattle has lost seven of eight.

Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his Mariners' debut, his first big league start since Aug. 23 for Atlanta. He is Seattle's 12th starting pitcher, the most in the major leagues.

Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also had RBI singles in the first, when the Red Sox had two batters hit by pitches, two walks and two runners thrown out on the bases - Dustin Pedroia at third for the first out and Hanley Ramirez at the plate for the last.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: RHPs Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez, both on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, threw bullpen sessions. Hernandez said he "felt really good."... LHP James Paxton (strained forearm) is set to come off the DL and pitch at home Wednesday.

Red Sox: Pedroia was back at second base after getting Friday off to rest his sore left knee and not play on a wet field. He was hit by a pitch on the right forearm his first time up and went 1 for 3. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval, on the DL with a sprained right knee, was expected to play nine innings Saturday night in a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket. Manager John Farrell didn't rule out that he could be activated next week.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Christian Bergman (1-2, 6.30 ERA) gave up 10 runs and 14 hits over four innings in a 10-1 loss Tuesday at Washington.

Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (3-4, 4.35) has gone at least six innings in eight of nine starts.