Red Sox manager Terry Francona confirmed that Jacoby Ellsbury will play left field for the Red Sox in 2010 and two-time Gold Glove winner Mike Cameron will play center field. The news was first reported by The Providence Journal.
Cameron, who signed a two-year, $15.5 million deal with the Sox last month, has played only center field since the 2005 season, when he and Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran had a frightful collision while Cameron was in right field. Cameron made clear that he was more than happy to play any outfield position for the Red Sox, but Francona, in concert with bench coach DeMarlo Hale and general manager Theo Epstein, decided that having Ellsbury in left, Cameron in center and J.D. Drew in right made for the optimal defensive lineup.
"With [Cameron's] long strides and him being a center fielder, and Jacoby's first-step quickness, I think this sets us up better where we can get, I think the word is 'dynamic' out in the outfield," Francona said. "I can't tell you how many times Carl Crawford's come across in left field and taken away a hit and I've thought, 'Damn.' Any time you have the ability to put a center fielder in left field, you're going to be better. That's what we're doing."
Francona and Hale informed Ellsbury and Cameron of the decision by phone just before Christmas.
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