ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Following the Red Sox' 6-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, Jacoby Ellsbury confirmed what was learned by WEEI.com earlier Monday night -- that he is slated to be manning center field on a regular basis for the Sox, even with the return of Mike Cameron from the 15-day disabled list.
Cameron, who will be activated from the DL Tuesday, had been identified as the Red Sox' starting center fielder prior to the season but was sidelined with a lower abdominal strain after playing in just 11 games.
For Ellsbury, the news was welcomed with open arms.
"That's where I've always played, center," said Ellsbury, who has been playing center field since returning from the disabled list last Saturday, "So, yeah, I was pretty happy about that.
"I think that's definitely my natural position and where you would think I would play. So, yeah, they told me I was going to left and I told them basically whatever would help the team out, I would go to left. Now it's come back around and I'm fine with it."
Part of the impetus for the move appears to be the need to put less strain on Cameron, who continues to adjust to the healing process that goes with his injury. Prior to the Sox' win, the 37-year-old wouldn't specify where he planned on spending the majority of his time.
"Yeah, I should be OK. Yeah, I don't know, you'll have to talk to Tito," said Cameron, who played left field during his rehab stint but has only manned the position three times throughout his 16-year career (with 2000 serving as his last stint in left). "I may even move around a little bit, to different spots."
When asked if he was hoping this would cement him in center field for the remainder of his career, Ellsbury was diplomatic yet clear in his motivation.
"Yeah, I think anybody who has played center, had success there, done well, wants to play in that position," he said. "No matter if its infield or outfield, you want to play there."
Ellsbury went 0-for-5 against the Rays Monday night after going 1-for-9 in his two games against the Phillies. Cameron hit .333 in eight rehab outings, hitting three home runs. Darnell McDonald will be designated for assignment Tuesday to make room for the veteran outfielder.
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