In his first year with the Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury is off to such a strong start, his numbers are almost as good as Yangervis Solarte’s. Ellsbury has hit for the second-highest average on the team, he’s gotten on base at a .395 clip, and he’s driven the ball enough — five doubles and a triple — that the Yankees were able to move him into the heart of the order while Mark Teixeira was hurt.
“I’ve gotten off to slower starts, I’ve gotten off to decent starts,” Ellsbury said. “I try to stay even as keel as possible throughout the season. I know it’s a long season and guys that are typically successful in this game try to keep that even keel, go about their approach each day regardless of the previous day’s results. That’s how I try to go about my business. Each at-bat, I take it serious and treat it as my last at-bat. You’ve got to keep even as keel as possible. It wouldn’t matter what I was hitting right now going into Boston.”
Even so, surely having good numbers leading into his Fenway return can only be a good thing for Ellsbury.
Ever since spring training, Ellsbury has consistently dismissed any curiosity about his decision to switch sides in baseball’s biggest rivalry. He’s acted as if it’s no big deal moving from the Red Sox to the Yankees — said his teammates haven’t even given him a hard time about it — and certainly it’s been done before, but it’s hard to imagine the Boston fans are going to treat Ellsbury’s departure as no big deal this week.
Fenway isn’t the friendliest place for any Yankees player. Probably won’t be particularly welcoming for Ellsbury.
“I haven’t really thought about it too much,” he said. “We’ll see what happens when the time comes. You can’t think about what they’re going to do. In this game, you can really only focus on what you can do, not worry about all that other stuff that you can’t control. We’ll see what happens. I gave the organization everything I had for a third of my life. Nine years in an organization, drafted by them, came up and won two World Series. I left it all on the field.”
In my business, it’s a lot more fun to make a big deal out of things like this.
Derek Jeter’s first Fenway appearance of his final season!
Masahiro Tanaka’s introduction to baseball’s biggest rivalry!
Ellsbury’s return to Boston after switching sides!
Seems like all of this should be a big deal, but the Yankees have bigger concerns — mostly in Ivan Nova’s right elbow — and the city of Boston has been focused on the return of yesterday’s marathon. The players themselves seem not to get too caught up in the rivalry any more. I’m sure there will be quite a bit of buzz by the time tonight’s game gets started, but for now — on the morning of the series opener — things actually seem pretty calm and routine heading into the Yankees first Fenway series of the year.
“I saw Johnny (Damon) the other day, too,” Ellsbury said. “I didn’t ask him (what it’s like) or anything like that. We’ll see what happens. I’m not going to try to think about what they’re going to do or what they’re not going to do.”
Associated Press photos