Jacoby Ellsbury tells his side of the story

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Jacoby Ellsbury just met with reporters a short while ago at Rogers Centre in Toronto, according to Brian McPherson of the Providence Journal. And let’s just say that he didn’t do anything to put an end to the controversy.

Reportedly referring to several pages of notes throughout the brief Q & A —  thanks Scott Boras! — Ellsbury said that the fractures in both the front of his rib cage and the back of his rib cage all occurred during his collision with third baseman Adrian Beltre on April 11. This contradicts the diagnosis of Red Sox medical director Dr. Thomas Gill, who said the fracture in the back of his rib cage occurred when Ellsbury made a diving catch against the Phillies on May 23, just three days after returning from the disabled list.

Ellsbury said that he requested — but did not receive — MRI exams on both the front of his rib cage and the back of his rib cage after suffering the original injury in April.

“That’s where the pain was — front and back,” he said, referring
frequently to the notes on his lap. “That’s important to remember that.
Front and back. That’s what I asked for.”

Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com gets a bit more specific, reporting that Ellsbury said the Red Sox told him “we don’t MRI bruises.” Wow.

Ellsbury said he actually landed on the disabled list in May due to a strained latissimus dorsi muscle that he said developed because of the fractured rib on the back of his rib cage. The posterior rib fracture wasn’t discovered until late May by Dr. Lewis Yocum. He claims that the initial misdiagnosis of the injury cost him extra rehab time.

As for spending the past five weeks in Arizona, Ellsbury insisted that he had the team’s blessing, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.

“I wanted what was best for the team,” Ellsbury said, explaining his
reason for staying away. “I didn’t want to be a distraction to the team.
That’s the last thing I wanted. My teammates know that. The Red Sox
were in favor of it. They gave me their blessing. And when I was at API,
every single day, they’d get a report of exactly what I did. Every
detail was submitted to them, and I was in constant contact with my
teammates, (manager Terry Francona), my teammates, my
coaches.”

Welcome back? Geesh.

Granted, it’s not his knee, but is anybody else finding this eerily similar to the Carlos Beltran situation? 

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.