Notes: Ellsbury downplays success

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Notes: Ellsbury downplays success

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

DETROIT Jacoby Ellsburys speed led to the Sox' first run. His power gave them their second run, as they beat the Tigers, 6-3, Friday night.

He led off the game with a single to right, taking second on his league-leading 18th stolen base of the season. He went to third on Adrian Gonzalezs groundout, and scored on Rick Porcellos wild pitch.

He led off the third with his sixth home run of the season, to tie the game. It was his second home run in as many games. Ellsbury went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI, raising his average to .299. He is slugging .463 with a .365 on-base percentage.

I think hes a good player, manager Terry Francona said. He's good. Like always, we're thrilled when anybody hits a home run. But whatever he does powerwise is great but we don't want to talk about it. Hes a strong kid and those will come when he takes enough good swings. When he gets on base and disrupts the game that's whats important. Those home runs are going to come though.

After missing all but 18 games last season because of fractured ribs, Ellsbury is low-key about his solid start this season.

I go out there and try to help my team win every single night and prepare to play every day, he said. So its been nice to see and how well weve been playing as of late.

His teammates appreciate what he does, though.

Hes a great player, said Dustin Pedroia. We knew. We expect this of him. He can do anything. He hits homers. He steals bases. He plays great defense. Hes a special player man.

"Hes very important, said Tim Wakefield, who got the win Friday. He's our starting centerfielder. He provides not only offense but speed and defense. He's an all-around great player and he was missed last year."

Bobby Jenks pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit with one strikeout, in his rehab outing in Pawtucket Friday night. "Good velocity. Everything felt good. Bicep felt real good. Threw two-seamers and four-seamers and changeup. Sounded like everything positive, Francona said.

Jenks is expected to pitch an inning Sunday, with the possibility of being activated during the week.

J.D. Drew, who has been sidelined for the past three games with a hamstring strain, had said before the game he was optimistic about playing Sunday. But with left-hander Andy Oliver starting for the Tigers, Francona said Drew would likely not be in the starting lineup.

Carl Crawford went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer in the five-run third inning. In his last nine games, he is batting .429 (15-for-35) with 11 runs scored, and 11 RBI.

David Ortiz went 0-for-4, ending his eight-game hitting streak.

Adrian Gonzalez went 2-for-5 extending his hit streak to eight games.

Right-hander John Lackey, on the disabled listsince May 12 with an elbow strain, continues to progress. Fridayafternoon, he threw two innings of a simulated game, with about 40pitches.

Lackey, threw all his pitches, saying he thought hiscommand was pretty good while his velocity was close to what itshould be.

It was pretty good, he said. I felt like I waslocating my fastball pretty good today. Working on tightening up mycutter a little bit. Its gotten a little bit loose. Thats one of themain things I was working on.

I was pretty close to letting it go. Ill probably be a little sore tomorrow but it feels fine today.

Lackeyis scheduled to make a rehab start, with about 70 pitches, Tuesday inPawtucket. If everything goes well in that game, he should be ready tobe activated.

I think thats what we're thinking right now, hesaid. But definitely have to see how I feel after the real game. Idont see why I shouldnt be ready.

Shortstop Marco Scutaro hit off a tee for the thirdconsecutive day, as he makes his way back from the DL (since May 8)with a left oblique strain. He said he hasnt felt any pain in hisside, and could advance to hitting in the cage on Sunday.

Itsthe first time in his career hes been on the DL. How is he handlingit? Im bored, he said. Actually, I was bored a couple of weeks ago.

Talking about the collision at home plate that left Giants catcherBuster Posey injured and likely out for the season, Francona recalled asimilar play from his own career: Mike Scioscia got me once. He hurtme. We were facing Fernando Valenzuela, so the lefties played. BryanLittle led off with a double. I hit a ball to right center. They end upgiving me a double. They threw Bryan out at the plate. Scioscia chargedhim and just knocked him back towards third. I was standing on secondlaughing. Andre Dawson hits a base hit. The same thing happened tome. Neither one of us even got to the dirt. I slid, but he attacked me.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

According to Fortune, Theo's the greatest . . . in the world, not just baseball

According to Fortune, Theo's the greatest . . . in the world, not just baseball

Apparently, the Red Sox couldn’t hold onto the best leader in the world. And the best leader in the world has no idea how to housebreak his puppy.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein was given the top spot on a list of “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders," published by Fortune on Thursday morning.

The potential for silly takeaways from Epstein’s placement on the list -- and his response to it in a text to ESPN’s Buster Olney -- are amusing, if not astounding.

Wait, Epstein doesn’t think baseball is the most important thing in the world?

"Um, I can't even get my dog to stop peeing in the house," Epstein told Olney. "That is ridiculous. The whole thing is patently ridiculous. It's baseball -- a pastime involving a lot of chance. If [Ben] Zobrist’s ball is three inches farther off the line, I'm on the hot seat for a failed five-year plan. And I'm not even the best leader in our organization; our players are."

Zobrist, of course, had the go-ahead hit in the 10th inning of Game 7 of the World Series against the Indians.

As Fortune described it, the list of leaders is meant to include those “transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same” across business, government, philanthropy and the arts.

Epstein certainly did help transform the baseball world.

“In the fall of 2016, as partisan distrust and division reached abysmal depths, fascination with the Chicago Cubs became that all-too-rare phenomenon that united America,” his blurb on the list begins.

That’s fair. But, if you scroll down the list: Pope Francis is No. 3. Angela Merkel is No. 10 and LeBron James is No. 11.

Drellich: Don't let Sam Travis' lack of batting gloves fool you

Drellich: Don't let Sam Travis' lack of batting gloves fool you

Three players are tied for the Red Sox' lead in home runs in Florida. Only two of them will be with the team come Opening Day.

The other may be the starting first baseman a year from now.

Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval and Sam Travis have all gone deep three times this Grapefruit League season.

Coming back from surgery on his left ACL, Travis has yet to play in the majors. But he easily could later this year.

In a perfect world, though, the 23-year-old spends 2017 at Triple-A Pawtucket. He needs to prove he can consistently hit off-speed pitches.

A right-handed hitting first baseman who played college ball with Kyle Schwarber of the Cubs, Travis already crushes fastballs.

He carries himself like a stereotypical masher, too.

Travis rocks an unbuttoned jersey with no undershirt. No batting gloves. A grip-it-and-rip-it approach and Mike Napoli vibe.

But, don't get too caught up in the image.

"I mean, are you essentially asking like, do I still like have a plan?" Travis said when approached about his reputation.

No, because everyone has a plan. It's a question of how his is formulated, what matters to him. Because it can't always be as simple as see ball, hit ball. And it isn't.

"I definitely watch video. Everyone watches video," Travis said. "You kind of need to watch video when you get to this stage . . . You're in the box, you don't really want to think at all. That's what practice is for. But yeah, I'm definitely working on stuff.

"Just because I don't wear batting gloves doesn't mean I'm just going out there -- I definitely still got an idea what I'm trying to do."

Travis said he tried batting gloves once in high school and they just didn't feel right. So he takes hacks with a 34-inch bat with no frills..

But even when hitters say they don't think at the plate, they do.

If you're up 2-and-0, the thought has to cross your mind: fastball?

"I mean, yeah, you definitely are talking to yourself," Travis said. "But you don't want to get too far into your own thoughts because then that's when you get in trouble."

Slugging involves calculating.

Travis will look at scouting reports, but they're not his end-all be-all. The written ones, anyway. He keeps others in his head.

"I like to know what pitches [an opponent] has, which way pitches are going to move," Travis said. "But you know, you find that out from other players, and of course scouting reports and video. But the best experience is when you're actually in there, when you actually see it first hand.

"I remember everybody."

Video can be used to break down one's own swing, too. But that's not Travis. Tinkering's not his bag.

In part, that's because he's always had a simple approach mechanically.

"I don't really take much of a stride or anything. I kind of just pick it up and put it down," Travis said. "I've always been the guy that can make an adjustment pitch to pitch and at-bat to at-bat depending on what the pitcher is, it just goes with like timing and stuff."

Usually, somewhere along the way -- in the professional or amateur chain -- a coach will try to change a player's swing. Travis said that wasn't the case for him, though.

"No. Not really," Travis said. "Everyone's still gonna have minor adjustments, it's just how the game works. You know, you're going to put a bad swing on the ball. But as long as you recognize it and get right back to where you are . . .

"I've always been a guy who believes less movement, the better it is. That's my own personal opinion. Whatever works for people, that's what they're going to do."

Sometimes, that means loosening a few buttons and just letting it rip.

After watching a little video before the game.