Francona, Epstein give conflicting updates on Ellsbury


Francona, Epstein give conflicting updates on Ellsbury

By Sean McAdam

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- It may have been only a matter of semantics, but Terry Francona and Theo Epstein seemed to give different updates on Jacoby Ellsbury as he comes back from the broken ribs which sidelined him for all but three weeks in 2010.

In the afternoon, when asked about Ellsbury's progress, Francona noted that in a conversation a few weeks ago, the outfielder told him he "still feels it in the back.''

But hours later, Epstein indicated otherwise.

"He was ruled asymptomatic a couple of weeks ago,'' said Epstein. "I'm sure there are still come things he can do that create soreness, with rotation and whatnot. But I think that's normal.

"My understanding is that the fracture of a rib like this will still show up like a slight line on a scan for another couple of months. But that's a natural part of the process. You're actually healed before the line will completely disappear on the scan. He's been asymptomatic and very enthused about where he is in the offseason, getting ready for a normal season.

Ellsbury is in Arizona, training at Athlete's Performance Institute (API), as he would usually do in the winter.

"I think he's still tailoring his workouts for what he went through,'' said Epstein, "which is smart. He's not rushing it. The rotational stuff is where you can really feel the rib cage-area. I think he's easing into that, which makes sense.''

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McAdam: Ridiculous to think Bradley's streak ended because he hit leadoff


McAdam: Ridiculous to think Bradley's streak ended because he hit leadoff

BOSTON -- If you think John Farrell's decision to hit Jackie Bradley Jr. leadoff for one night is the reason Bradley's 29-game hit streak came to an end, I've got some swamp land you might be interested in buying.

Such silly talk first surfaced mid-afternoon when the lineup was announced. With Mookie Betts getting his first day off this season, somebody had to hit leadoff. Farrell went with the guy who was leading the league in hitting.

That sounds reasonable. But not to some, who cried that putting Bradley at the top was (take your pick) disrupting Bradley's routine, putting him in a place with which he wasn't familiar, or asking him to change his approach.

Of course, none of those made much sense.

First of all, Thursday night marked the sixth (SIXTH!) different spot that Bradley has hit during the hitting streak. He had hit second, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth. So the notion that any change was disruptive was absurd.

As for the notion that Bradley would treat his at-bats differently because he was leading off? Also wrong. Bradley's major adjustment since spring training has been being aggressive early in the count. So, do you know how many pitches Bradley saw in four at-bats as the leadoff hitter? Eight.

Does that sound like someone who was being forced to be more patient for the night, or someone changing their approach by working the count more?

Finally, Bradley hit two balls on the screws -- one to the warning track in right, just in front of the bullpen in his first at-bat and another in front of the center field door, some 400 or so feet away, in his third.

Streaks come to an end, even when hitters belt the ball hard. Twice.