Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the lineup on Saturday night after having been out since Sept. 20 due to an unspecified injury. Ellsbury, who went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts and a single, declined to offer any insight into what had sidelined him for the stretch.
"Nothing real exciting to report on. ... Just something that I needed to sit out a few days and be back ready to go the rest of this stretch for the last four games," he said. "It's just good to be back."
Ellsbury said that the injury "wasn't a big deal" and that he and the team's medical staff knew that he would play again before the end of the season.
In 71 games this year, Ellsbury is hitting .277 with a .320 OBP, .381 slugging mark and .701 OPS, all of those marks representing career lows for any season in which he had at least 100 plate appearances. After last season's 30/30 performance earned him MVP runner-up status, Ellsbury has just four homers and 14 steals this year.
Of course, his playing time has been limited considerably by injuries, particularly the right shoulder subluxation that sidelined him for three months from mid-April through the All-Star break. However, manager Bobby Valentine said before Saturday's game that it wasn't clear if Ellsbury's struggles were a product of injuries.
"I didn’t see him play that way this year. He never quite hit his stride this year," Valentine said, referencing the performance gap between 2011 and 2012. "I don’t know [if injuries were at the root of the struggles]. I’ve had a lot of conversations with the coaching staff about it, a few with Jacoby about it. It’s just the feel. He hasn’t had the feel, from what I gather."
“I haven’t really thought of it. If you think of it, you can get back to me tomorrow on that one. I don’t really have a response right now,” said Ellsbury. “I’ve only been back, what, how long? You guys know? ... You give me the at-bats, and my numbers will be right there.”
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