Giving a prepared response
Ellsbury continues torrid spring pace
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The day he reported to camp, Jacoby Ellsbury said he was ready to play and had put the injuries and events that ruined his 2010 season behind him.
His actions have matched his words. Yesterday, Ellsbury had two doubles, a home run, and three RBIs, helping the Red Sox bash the Florida Marlins, 9-2, at City of Palms Park.
Ellsbury is 8 for 13 in his last four games, improving his spring average to .440 through eight games.
The three hits yesterday came off Florida ace Josh Johnson, with the home run soaring high over the fence in right-center.
“That was a pretty swing; that ball jumped out in a hurry,’’ manager Terry Francona said. “It’s safe to say he feels good about himself at the plate.’’
Ellsbury played only 18 games last season because of fractured ribs, his last game coming on Aug. 13. That enabled him to put in a full offseason that included extra time in the batting cage.
“I got a lot of work in,’’ he said. “My main thing was just to be ready day one of spring training. I knew a while ago coming into spring training I was ready to go. It’s not a surprise to me.’’
Francona has made it clear he wants Ellsbury to be the leadoff hitter, with the caveat that he could start lower in the order until he’s ready. But so far Ellsbury looks up to the task.
“It feels good just to be out playing,’’ he said.
In a good place John Lackey had a taxing day, throwing 75 pitches over 4 1/3 innings and giving up six hits. But he allowed only one run.
“I feel good about location right now,’’ he said. “Today I kind of pitched like I would during the season.
“I incorporated a lot more pitches today as opposed to the first two times I was pretty fastball-heavy.
“Today it was more like a regular-season start and I was able to throw some offspeed pitches behind in the count and do some things I need to do during the season.
Said Francona, “Never felt like he was out of control of the game. Gave up some base hits, but only gave up the one run. Always seemed like he was in command of what he was doing.’’
Francona and pitching coach Curt Young are in the process of reconfiguring the rotation to line the pitchers up for the regular season.
First cuts made Infielder Oscar Tejeda and righthander Stolmy Pimentel were optioned to Double A Portland.
Tejeda, 21, was 9 for 24 (.375) over 13 games with three extra-base hits and eight RBIs.
“He was one of the funner stories to spring training,’’ Francona said. “He’s the youngest guy in camp. He’s got a smile that’s about as infectious as you can get. He loves to play.
“We were really excited to get a chance to watch him. He’s got a lot of work to do defensively and we told him that. There’s nothing wrong with that. He’s a young kid and he made a position change [from shortstop to second base]. But he’s got some thunder in his bat and his body’s going to continue to get bigger and fill out.
“He’s a really exciting young player.’’
Ten players were reassigned to the minor league camp: infielder Brent Dlugach, catcher Tim Federowicz, outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin, infielder Hector Luna, catcher Ryan Lavarnway, and righthanders Jason Rice, Tony Pena Jr., Kyle Weiland, Clevelan Santeliz, and Alex Wilson.
The team also voided the minor league contract of righthander Jason Bergmann, who arrived at camp with a shoulder injury.
The Sox now have 49 players in camp.
They meet again Francona said righthander Alfredo Aceves would face the Yankees at City of Palms tomorrow night. Aceves was with the Yankees from 2008-10, going 14-1 with a 3.21 earned run average. He was non-tendered for injury reasons, but has allowed only three earned runs on seven hits over 7 1/3 innings this spring. The Yankees are planning to start Sergio Mitre . . . Carl Crawford did not play yesterday and will not play today. “Going to give him two days to work out,’’ Francona said. “He’s OK. Normal kind of spring training soreness.’’ . . . Mike Cameron, who missed a week with a sore left knee, played left field and beat out a bunt single . . . David Ortiz had two doubles and is 9 for 27 (.333) this spring. “Nice and quiet,’’ he said. “Just getting ready. But I feel good about my swing.’’ . . . Dustin Richardson, the lefthander the Sox traded to Florida for lefthander Andrew Miller, made the trip with the Marlins. He has appeared in four games this spring, allowing one earned run in 3 1/3 innings. He is in a large pool of relievers trying to make the team.