Red Sox role reversal; Ellsbury close to return; Cook gets fried

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Red Sox role reversal; Ellsbury close to return; Cook gets fried

BALTIMORE - Almost exactly a year ago, the Red Sox closed out their season at Camden Yards, hoping to clinch a playoff spot against the last-place Baltimore Orioles.

This year, the situation has been completely reversed. It's the Orioles who are trying to secure a post-season bid and the Sox are trying to finish out of the cellar.

But as further evidence of how much everything has changed since last September, the lineup the Sox fielded for the opener of their weekend series here featured only two players who were in the starting lineup in Game 162 last year: second baseman Dustin Pedroia and catcher Ryan Lavarnway.

Four other starters in Friday's lineup -- Scott Podsednik, Pedro Ciriaco, Cody Ross and James Loney -- weren't in the Sox' organization at the end of 2011, and neither, for that matter, was starting pitcher Aaron Cook.

Two others -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jose Iglesias -- were on the bench in September -- and another -- Daniel Nava - was in the system, but wasn't called up when rosters expanded in September.

Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who has been out of the starting lineup for the last seven games, may return to action Saturday.

The Red Sox, acting on Ellsbury's request, have not disclosed what his ailment is. He missed the entire final five-game homestand at Fenway.

"He'll try everything (Friday),'' said manager Bobby Valentine. "We hope all goes well.''

With Ellsbury out, the Sox had Scott Podsednik in center field.

Alfredo Aceves relieved starter Aaron Cook in the second inning, his 68th appearance of the season.

Aceves has a 1.2 million contract, with incentive payouts of 25,000 for his 55th, 60th, 65th and 70th appearances.

The veteran righty has already earned his first three bonuses and will need two more appearances in the final five games.

Given his rocky relationship with Valentine, it will be interesting to see if he gets the final two appearances to qualify for the next bonus.

Farrell on WEEI: Have not apologized to Eckersley

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Farrell on WEEI: Have not apologized to Eckersley

Red Sox manager John Farrell said today on WEEI's Dale and Holley Show that he has not apologized to Dennis Eckersley for the recent incident on a team flight in which David Price ripped into the Hall of Fame pitcher -- to the applause of some teammates -- for being too critical in his role as a team broadcaster.

“Yeah, that’s a no,” Farrell responded when asked specifically if he had apologized to Eck.

MORE ON PRICE-ECKERSLEY

According to Brooks Sutherland's story on WEEI.com, Farrell said he has spoken to Eckersley since the incident and has a "positive in a professional way" relationship with Eck.

Sutherland quoted Farrell as saying: “I’ve had interactions with Eck, yes. I have, yeah. Whether it’s been at the hotel, or whether it’s been at the ballpark, there’s been interactions there, yes . . . At the time when we did meet, which was down in Texas, as I mentioned, and then again in the ballpark there. I’m aware that people reached out to him the morning after the incident when we were headed in to Toronto. So, knowing that that was in place, you know, I followed with my conversations with Eck as I’ve always done. They’ve been cordial, there’s been professional respect on both side and I think my relationship with him is positive in a professional way.”

Farrell said he heard Price yelling at Price on the plane.

“You know at the time when it did happen,you heard some loud talk,” he said. “but I can’t say that that’s . . . you know there’s banter that goes back-and-forth that’s relatively calm, and I would say this was a different situation. I can’t say that the banter is in this nature. After it did take place, I know Eck came up to the front of the plane to talk to Dave Dombrowski and myself. Obviously outlined what took place and that’s why we met with David the next day in Toronto."

Schilling defends Eckersley, says Sox are 'devoid of clubhouse presence'

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Schilling defends Eckersley, says Sox are 'devoid of clubhouse presence'

Curt Schilling talks mostly politics on Twitter these days, but the Dennis Eckersley-David Price incident got him back to baseball.

And if Red Sox players think Eckersley is too critical, well, try this one on for size:

He didn't have only Price in his gunsights, either. When asked "what kind of team" would applaud the bashing of a Hall of Famer, he responded:

He even had kind words -- sort of -- for mortal enemy Dan Shaughnessy: