It has been 79 games since Jacoby Ellsbury last suited up and took the field for the Red Sox. Nearly half of a season has been lost due to a subluxed shoulder that sidelined the all-star centerfielder on April 13, but finally he is ready to return to the Red Sox lineup; something that will happen this Friday when the Red Sox open a three game-set against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The first seven games of the year were not kind to Ellsbury, putting forth a slash line of just .192/.300/.269/.569 with 3 RBI and 2 doubles. But it’s hardly worth analyzing such a small sample pool, especially given it was the first ten days of the regular season.
Rather, Red Sox fans can get excited about the potential that Ellsbury brings along with the immediate impact he will have on the Sox lineup. Finally the team will have a cemented lead-off hitter that brings both power and speed to the plate. When on base Ellsbury will also bring a return of the running game back to a team that is all but non-existent given the lack of stolen bases they’ve been able to swipe so far this season. And don’t forget about his ability to track down sharply hit balls destined for the wall and surely a two bagger, only to land in Ellsbury’s glove when he’s in full stride.
Anyway you look at it, the return of Ellsbury makes this team better and he does so immediately. He may struggle at the plate with his timing given his lack of at-bats against major league caliber pitching. Then again it would not come as a surprise to anyone if he started racking right out of the gate.
Welcome back number 2.