Ellsbury back in the leadoff spot against Northeastern

Ellsbury back in the leadoff spot against Northeastern
February 27, 2011, 3:52 am
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By MaureenMullen

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