Notes: Ellsbury downplays success

191542.jpg

Notes: Ellsbury downplays success

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

DETROIT Jacoby Ellsburys speed led to the Sox' first run. His power gave them their second run, as they beat the Tigers, 6-3, Friday night.

He led off the game with a single to right, taking second on his league-leading 18th stolen base of the season. He went to third on Adrian Gonzalezs groundout, and scored on Rick Porcellos wild pitch.

He led off the third with his sixth home run of the season, to tie the game. It was his second home run in as many games. Ellsbury went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI, raising his average to .299. He is slugging .463 with a .365 on-base percentage.

I think hes a good player, manager Terry Francona said. He's good. Like always, we're thrilled when anybody hits a home run. But whatever he does powerwise is great but we don't want to talk about it. Hes a strong kid and those will come when he takes enough good swings. When he gets on base and disrupts the game that's whats important. Those home runs are going to come though.

After missing all but 18 games last season because of fractured ribs, Ellsbury is low-key about his solid start this season.

I go out there and try to help my team win every single night and prepare to play every day, he said. So its been nice to see and how well weve been playing as of late.

His teammates appreciate what he does, though.

Hes a great player, said Dustin Pedroia. We knew. We expect this of him. He can do anything. He hits homers. He steals bases. He plays great defense. Hes a special player man.

"Hes very important, said Tim Wakefield, who got the win Friday. He's our starting centerfielder. He provides not only offense but speed and defense. He's an all-around great player and he was missed last year."

Bobby Jenks pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit with one strikeout, in his rehab outing in Pawtucket Friday night. "Good velocity. Everything felt good. Bicep felt real good. Threw two-seamers and four-seamers and changeup. Sounded like everything positive, Francona said.

Jenks is expected to pitch an inning Sunday, with the possibility of being activated during the week.

J.D. Drew, who has been sidelined for the past three games with a hamstring strain, had said before the game he was optimistic about playing Sunday. But with left-hander Andy Oliver starting for the Tigers, Francona said Drew would likely not be in the starting lineup.

Carl Crawford went 1-for-3 with a two-run homer in the five-run third inning. In his last nine games, he is batting .429 (15-for-35) with 11 runs scored, and 11 RBI.

David Ortiz went 0-for-4, ending his eight-game hitting streak.

Adrian Gonzalez went 2-for-5 extending his hit streak to eight games.

Right-hander John Lackey, on the disabled listsince May 12 with an elbow strain, continues to progress. Fridayafternoon, he threw two innings of a simulated game, with about 40pitches.

Lackey, threw all his pitches, saying he thought hiscommand was pretty good while his velocity was close to what itshould be.

It was pretty good, he said. I felt like I waslocating my fastball pretty good today. Working on tightening up mycutter a little bit. Its gotten a little bit loose. Thats one of themain things I was working on.

I was pretty close to letting it go. Ill probably be a little sore tomorrow but it feels fine today.

Lackeyis scheduled to make a rehab start, with about 70 pitches, Tuesday inPawtucket. If everything goes well in that game, he should be ready tobe activated.

I think thats what we're thinking right now, hesaid. But definitely have to see how I feel after the real game. Idont see why I shouldnt be ready.

Shortstop Marco Scutaro hit off a tee for the thirdconsecutive day, as he makes his way back from the DL (since May 8)with a left oblique strain. He said he hasnt felt any pain in hisside, and could advance to hitting in the cage on Sunday.

Itsthe first time in his career hes been on the DL. How is he handlingit? Im bored, he said. Actually, I was bored a couple of weeks ago.

Talking about the collision at home plate that left Giants catcherBuster Posey injured and likely out for the season, Francona recalled asimilar play from his own career: Mike Scioscia got me once. He hurtme. We were facing Fernando Valenzuela, so the lefties played. BryanLittle led off with a double. I hit a ball to right center. They end upgiving me a double. They threw Bryan out at the plate. Scioscia chargedhim and just knocked him back towards third. I was standing on secondlaughing. Andre Dawson hits a base hit. The same thing happened tome. Neither one of us even got to the dirt. I slid, but he attacked me.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Market for Encarnacion is shrinking, yet Red Sox still don't seem interested

Market for Encarnacion is shrinking, yet Red Sox still don't seem interested

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- As the annual winter meetings get underway today, the market for arguably the best free-agent hitter may be -- against all logic -- lessening.

Edwin Encarnacion, who has averaged 39 homers a year over the last five seasons, should be a player in demand.

But in quick succession, the Houston Astros and New York Yankees, two teams thought to be in the market for Encarnacion, opted to go with older hitters who required shorter deals -- Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday.

Further, the Toronto Blue Jays' signing of Steve Pearce to a two-year deal Monday, coupled with their earlier acquisition of Kendrys Morales, closes the door on a potential return to Toronto for Encarnacion.

Seemingly, all of that would position the Red Sox, in search of a DH to replace the retired David Ortiz, to swoop in and land Encarnacion for far less than they could have imagined only weeks ago.

And yet, it appears as though things would have to change considerably for the Red Sox to reach agreement with Encarnacion.

While the first baseman-DH is known to be Ortiz's first choice as his replacement, for now, the economics don't work for the Sox -- even as Enacarnacion's leverage drops.

Encarnacion is expecting a deal of at least four years, with an average annual value around $20 million.

The Red Sox, industry sources indicate, are very much mindful of the luxury tax threshold. The Sox have, however modestly, gone over the threshold in each of the last two seasons, and even with a bump due to last week's new CBA, the Sox are dangerously close to the 2018 limit of $195 million.

Should the Sox go over for a third straight year, their tax would similarly ratchet up.

That, and the fact that Encarnacion would cost the Sox their first-round pick next June -- for this offseason, compensation for players given a qualifying offer comes under the old CBA rules -- represents two huge disincentives.

It's far more likely that the Sox will seek a cheaper option at DH from among a group that includes Pedro Alvarez and Mike Napoli. Neither is in Encarnacion's class, but then again, neither would cost a draft pick in return, or the long-term investment that Encarnacion is said to be seeking.

Boomer Esiason witnessed Pete Rose hire people to sign autographs

Boomer Esiason witnessed Pete Rose hire people to sign autographs

Boomer Esiason tells Toucher & Rich a story from his early days in Cincinnati when he witnessed Pete Rose overseeing five guys he paid to sign a stack of photographs for fans.