Ellsbury hasn't got time for the pain

191542.jpg

Ellsbury hasn't got time for the pain

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It's early yet, but a common theme has definitely emerged in the first week of spring training: Don't look back.

John Lackey sounded it first. Then, Josh Beckett. And Wednesday morning, within an hour of checking into Red Sox training camp, Jacoby Ellsbury did, too.

It was only natural, of course, that the outfielder's lost -- and at times, controversial -- 2010 would be asked about. Ellsbury missed all but 17 games with a number of broken ribs, and teammates grumbled privately about his extended absence. And in one notable case, Kevin Youkilis publicly questioned Ellsbury's dedication to rehab the injury in Arizona rather than with the team.

Ellsbury was far from nostalgic about last season. In fact, perhaps predicitably, he did everything he could to avoid talk of the injury and the surrounding white noise it set off.

Asked about his health and when he got cleared to resume full offseason baseball activity, Ellsbury was vague with his responses, saying he "wasn't even sure of the exact date, but it's been a while now."

"It feels good to put 2010 behind me," he said, "and look forward to 2011."

Asked how frustrating the season was, Ellsbury had a ready response: "I've already put that behind me. I can't really change last year. But I'm definitely excited for 2011."

When asked when he was finally fully pain-free -- in his ribs and in his back -- Ellsbury was, again, somewhat evasive.

"I'm not sure exactly," he said. "All I know is that I feel good now . . . It's hard to say. But I've been healthy for a while now."

Ellsbury was asked about some of the criticism he received -- in the media and from others.

"I've put that in the past," he said. "Like I said, I'm moving forward and I'm excited about 2011."

Was the criticism unfair?

"Moving on . . . moving on," said Ellsbury with a smile. "You know, 2011."

And finally, he was asked if he felt some a connection with Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who was roundly criticized for not being tough enough after coming out of a playoff game with a knee injury.

"No real comments on that, either," he said. "I'm going to sound like a broken recorder."

He professed to be unconcerned about where he would hit in the batting order -- "That's up to Tito. I just want to help the team, wherever I fall in that order."

Ellsbury revealed that during the offseason he worked on "a lot of core stability and letting the ribs heal."

Recounting his 2010 season and what he learned from the experience, Ellsbury said: "I definitely grew. But I'm definitely not looking at the past. I can't change anything that happened. I'm definitely excited for 2011. Every spring training is a fresh start for everybody."

After playing just 17 games since October of 2009, Ellsbury will have to adjust to the rhythms of the game again. But he's confident that won't take long.

"The way I play," he said, "and being an athlete, you can transition back into it fairly quick. I'll definitely be 100 percent by Opening Day."

A big test will come the first time Ellsbury, in-game, finds himself sliding head-first into a base or laying out for a ball in the outfield.

"I'll be able play with my natural aggressiveness," he vowed, "the way I've always played. I'm not worried at all. It's not like I'm coming off major surgery. If anything, they should be stronger than they were. Any time you break something and let it heal, it should be stronger."

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Report: Pedroia to be away from the team temporarily

Report: Pedroia to be away from the team temporarily

Dustin Pedroia will miss Sunday night's game against Kansas City to attend to a family matter, according to Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald.

Drellich also reports that Pedroia may miss Monday's game against Tampa Bay, too.

This of course comes after Pedroia went 11-for-11 over a three-game stretch, and saw the streak end in the eighth inning of Saturday's 8-3 win over the Royals.

Pedroia is batting .398 (37-for-93) through 24 games in August, with a .430 on-base percentage. Boston's second baseman is one of -- if not the -- team's hottest hitter this month, hitting .458 (33-for-72) since moving to the leadoff role.

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

BOSTON -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-3 win over the Royals:

QUOTES

“I hadn’t really thought about it. Trying to win games. It’s late in the year . . . I don’t really have time to sit back and pat myself on the back for anything. We’re trying to win as a team.” - Dustin Pedroia on the importance of the 11-for-11 stretch in his career.

“It’s fun. It’s why you go to work in December, January, February. It’s all the work you put in up to this point. It feels good to go out there and get the results you expect to get, especially against a team like [the Royals] who is hot as they are right now.” - David Price on pitching meaningful games with a playoff-like atmosphere.

“Yeah, yeah we [knew about the streak] . . .  It was an awesome roll and it was fun to see . . . Every time I went up to hit, I let Salvador Perez know.” - Xander Bogaerts on Dustin Pedroia’s 11-for-11 streak.

“I think we’ve been able to handle velocity very well. We’ve got good bat-speed in out lineup, and we’re able to handle that.” - John Farrell on the offense thriving against good pitching.

 

NOTES

* David Ortiz played in his 1,000th game at Fenway Park, becoming the fifth player to do so.

* Ortiz also became the first player ever to play 2,000 games as the designated hitter.

* Mookie Betts scored his 100th run of the season off his 29th home run of the year, joining Fred Lynn, Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams as the only players to reach 100 runs before turning 24.

* The Red Sox hit back-to-back home runs for the fourth time this season with Betts and Hanley Ramirez going yard in the fifth.

* With his 2-for-4 day at the plate, Jackie Bradley Jr. improved to 34-for-94 (.362) batting ninth.

 

STARS

1) Dustin Pedroia

Pedroia finished 4-for-5, extending his streak to 11 hits in 11 at-bats, finishing one shy of tying the MLB record.

2) David Price

Price logged his fourth straight quality start with his six-inning, two-run start. He also dropped his ERA below 4.00 for the first time since his Opening Day start with Boston.

3) Salvador Perez

Perez finished 2-for-3 with two home runs. Saturday marked only the second multi-home run game of his career.