Notes: Ellsbury doing it all as of late

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Notes: Ellsbury doing it all as of late

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON As if trying to assure his fellow players they did the right thing by electing him to the American League All-Star team, Jacoby Ellsbury has flat-out sizzled since his selection was announced.

Wednesday night's 3-for-5 performance in the Red Sox' 6-4 win over the Blue Jays puts him at 9-for-18 with a home run and two stolen bases from the time he was named to the team.

Im just relaxing, having fun, he said. Its such an honor to be selected by my peers to the All-Star Game. Those are the guys that see you play in spring training and during the regular season. I'm just relaxing and having fun.

Hes strong, manager Terry Francona said. Hes wiry strong. When he gets under a ball and it backspins, it goes a long way. Hes been terrific in the outfield, on the bases and at the plate. Hes settled into that leadoff role and hes been terrific.

Hes also made some sparkling plays in the field. One of those plays includes a catch that will never make it into the record books. With one out in the fifth inning Wednesday night, a runner on first and Eric Thames batting, Ellsbury ran into the center-field wall as he tracked down Thames' fly ball to deep center. The only problem: Time had been called and the catch didnt count. After a brief delay to clear up the confusion -- plate umpire Tim McClelland made no motion to indicate time had been called until after the ball was hit -- Thames eventually struck out.

I didnt realize the catch didn't count until I came in, Ellsbury said. I didnt even know what happened. Fortunately, I didnt crash into the wall harder than I did. Never had anything like that before.

But there was no doubt in the bottom of the first, when he launched a leadoff home run off Ricky Romero. It was Ellsburys third lead-off homer of the season, sixth of his career. It was also a career-high 10th home run of the season for him.

I was just trying to get a pitch I could drive, he said. Fortunately, he gave me something over the plate.

He was also a key in the Sox two-out, four-run rally in the fourth inning, with a double off thewall in left-center to score two runs.

I thought our whole lineup swung the bat well tonight, he said. Thats huge. Guys in scoring position. Any time you get the bottom of the order rolling, youre going to score some runs.

It was Ellsburys 12th three-hit game of the season. He is now batting .310 this season. Leading off games, he is batting .343.

When he first got here, I knew he was going to be a great player, said Tim Wakefield, who got the win. Hes got all five tools and hes taking advantage of the opportunity hes been given. Hes gotten better. Hes maturing. Hes an All-Star. What more can you say?

Right-hander Clay Buchholz, on the disabled list because of a lower back strain, returned to Boston after being examined Wednesday morning by Dr. Craig Brigham in Charlotte, N.C.

After the game, the Sox issued a statement from team medical director Dr. Tom Gill:

Clay Buchholz was seen in consultation by Dr. Craig Brigham today in Charlotte. Dr. Brigham agreed with the teams assessment that the back symptoms can be treated with rehabilitation. Clay will be advanced in his activities as his symptoms allow."

With Adrian Gonzalez getting a day off, Kevin Youkilis played first base for the first time this season. Batting in the fifth spot for the fifth time, he went 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. raising his average to .277. He hit his 12th home run of the season leading off the second inning. It was his first home run in the fifth spot since June 14, 2008, at Cincinnati. He has reached base safely in a season-high 18 straight games. In his last 20 games since June 12, he as driven in 20 runs, batting .343 (24-for-70) with six doubles and four home runs.

Hes also been dealing with assorted dings, including being hit by a pitch in the upper left back from Brandon Morrow Monday night.

My left shoulder is a little tight, he said. Basically lifting it up a little bit and moving it backwards is a little tight. But hitting-wise, luckily, there's no affect; mainly its if I have to dive and throw the ball . . .

"Tomorrow and the next day, itll be feeling better. Its just one of those things that the fluid and swelling moves out and hopefully tomorrow Ill feel great.

Gonzalez missed his first game of the year, having played in all 85 games prior to Wednesday night. With Youkilis at first, Yamaico Navarro played third.

Gonzalez had a stiff neck last night, Francona said before Wednesday's game. We talked after the game and he said, You know, I know you talk about guys having days off and he hasnt had one. I said call me in the morning let me know how you're doing. He said, I really dont see the ball off Romero that well.

He hasnt had one day off yet. When players don't put up a fight about getting a day off, sometimes it's an indication guys need a day. So itll be good for him."

The game was delayed by rain for 40 minutes with two outs in the top of the eighth. Daniel Bard had started the inning, but Dan Wheeler came out after the delay.

Bard extended his career-high scoreless inning streak to 17, retiring the only two batters he faced before the delay. In that stretch, Bard has allowed just nine baserunners on five singles and four walks with 17 strikeouts.

Dustin Pedroia extended his on-base streak to a season-high 20 games with a first-inning single, passingEllsburys 19-game stretch for longest on the team this season.

The Sox batted around in the four-run fourth. It is the 17th time his season they have done so. They entered the game tied with Colorado for most times batting around this season with 16.

The Sox' five consecutive hits in the fourth tie their season high, with the fifth inning against the Blue Jays on June 11.

Left-hander Rich Hill, on the DL after Tommy John surgery, said the range of motion in his elbow and shoulder is almost back to normal.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.

Quotes, notes and stars: Price says season has been "terrible"

Quotes, notes and stars: Price says season has been "terrible"

Quotes, notes and stars from the Boston Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Minnesota Twins:

QUOTES

* “It’s been terrible . . . Just awful.” Price on how his season has gone.

* “Tough night from the mound -- obviously.” John Farrell on Red Sox pitching in the loss.

* “Honestly I don’t think it’s either one of those. It’s me going out there and making pitches. It’s what I’ve done for a long time now -- and I haven’t done this year. That’s why this year’s been the way it has been.” Price said when he was asked if he felt his problems boiled down to physical or mental issues.

* “Given that [we] had to stay away from [Matt] Barnes and [Junichi] Tazawa today, [Clay Buchholz] was a guy that was going to be needed to hopefully multiple inning to bridge us to where were able to match up a little bit more in the eighth inning to get to Ziegler. Unfortunately it didn’t happen.” Farrell said on why he turned to Buchholz -- not Barnes – despite having the lead.

* “It was crazy. When the fly ball [went] into the sky it turned into like a twister of some sort and you didn’t know where the ball was going to fall. I’ve never seen anything like that before.” Michael Martinez on dealing with the howling wind in right field.

* “It wasn’t much wind. I went and looked at it, definitely should have made the play. Just running at it full speed -- it was one of those things I didn’t know how close I was getting to the wall so I went into a slide. And it was an early slide, so it kind of threw me off a little bit . . . Just thought I was closer to the wall than I really was.” Brock Holt on the fly ball he misplayed.

NOTES

* Jackie Bradley Jr. knocked in two runs, becoming the fourth Red Sox hitter to reach the 60 RBI mark this season -- the most in the MLB. Bradley also had a double, marking is 46th extra-base hit of the season -- with 99 hits overall.

* Dustin Pedroia reached base for the 26th consecutive game with his double in the second inning. He has a .402 OBP during this stretch and a .311 average.

* The Red Sox have lost consecutive games for the first time in nearly a month (6/26-27). Both losses were comeback victories for Minnesota. Boston’s record drops to 3-3 against the 37-60 Twins this season.

STARS

1) Eddie Rosario

Rosario finished 4-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored, bumping his average from .244 to .262.

2) David Ortiz

Ortiz finished 3-for-3 with a walk, double, two RBI and two runs scored -- giving Boston just about as much offense as anyone can hope for.

3) Miguel Sano

The burly Twins third baseman finished 3-for-5 with a long ball, two runs scored, a walk and an RBI in Minnesota’s win.

Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar

First impressions of the Red Sox' 11-9 loss to the Twins

First impressions of the Red Sox' 11-9 loss to the Twins

BOSTON -- First impressions of the Boston Red Sox 11-9 loss to the Minnesota Twins:

David Price was once again disappointing.

Minnesota is a team opposing pitchers should long to face.

Their No. 3, 4 and 5 hitters all have averages below .250 with average to below average home run totals.

The only hitter who poses and all-around legitimate threat is Eduardo Nunez, who would probably bat seventh in Boston’s lineup.

While there were other factors at play, Price once again left the ball up in the zone too much. That’s a big problem when nature’s playing a factor in the game.

Either way, with the Twins in town, Price has to be better.

Saturday marked the second time of the season where Sandy Leon registered back-to-back hitless performances.

The previous pair came back on June 29th and July 2nd with a layoff between the two contests.

In his last five contests, Leon is 3-for-17. His power numbers are also down in that stretch, with only two extra-base hits that came on the same night.

It could be a small rough patch given Leon was 7-for-19 with a home run and a double (in separate contests) in the five games preceding this dry spell.

Either ay it’s something to watch as Leon plays more and more.

The wind played a factor in the high-run total.

The second hit of the ball game seemed like a medium-depth fly to right, and nearly carried out of the ballpark.

Michael Martinez was twisting and turning on fly balls changing direction all night -- and there’s evidence it wasn’t just him.

David Ortiz reached on a pop up that Nunez went after, which never left the infield.

Trash and dust were flying everywhere in the first inning. While that intensity didn’t maintain all night, it was definitely an issue players had to consider throughout the game.

The bullpen mop-up crew couldn’t get the job done.

While some of the hits in the five-run seventh were luck, Clay Buchholz and Tommy Layne flat out couldn’t get the job done against a rough lineup.

Neither is a terribly great option -- so the Red Sox might want to reconsider using either one in those situations.

Even Heath Hembree couldn’t put together a decent night. Someone has to stop the bleeding when things get out of control.

The Red Sox pitchers can’t keep throwing away nine-run performances.

With Friday night serving as evidence, the offense will not always have great nights.

So when they do, the pitch has to be decent -- but they couldn’t even do that Saturday.

Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar