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? 

The Japanese playoffs are super unfair

Hiroshima Carp
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I know a little about Japanese baseball. Not a lot, mind you. Like, I couldn’t hold my own with people who actually watch it or report on it or whatever, but I could explain some of the broad differences and similarities between the NPB and the U.S. majors.  I can say a few things about how the two leagues compare competitively speaking. I can name some stars and (I think) all the clubs. But there’s, quite obviously, a ton I don’t know.

A thing I did not know until today: the NPB playoffs are really messed up.

The NPB is divided into two leagues, the Central and the Pacific, with the winner of each league facing off in the Japan Series. Like the U.S. majors, they have preliminary playoff rounds in each league. Each league has three playoff teams, with the second and third seed teams playing a series first, and the winner of that series playing the top seed — the team with the best record in the league — in what is called the Climax Series.

Here’s the weird part: the higher-seeded team in the Climax Series — the team which won the league in the regular season — gets every single playoff game at home. What’s more, that team begins the Climax Series with an automatic 1-0 advantage. So, yes, it’s a seven-game series on paper, but one of the teams only has to win three games to advance to the Japan Series.

Oh, in Japan, they also have no problems ending a playoff game early if it rains. That’s what happened in the Central League Climax Series last night, where the lower-seeded Yokohama BayStars took on the league champ Hiroshima Carp. Here’s the report from Jason Coskrey of The Japan Times:

The rainy conditions in Hiroshima caused the umpires to stop play for over 30 minutes and ultimately call the game after five innings, minutes after the Carp put three runs on the board. Just like that, it was over. The Carp won 3-0, with Yokohama robbed of the four innings (at least) it would’ve had to try and rally.

Even better: as Coskrey notes, there are five days in between the end of the Climax Series and the beginning of the Japan Series, so there is no reason they could not suspend a game and resume it the next day. They just choose not to. The upshot: the Carp were staked to a 2-0 series lead despite the fact that they had only played five innings of baseball. UPDATE: they played a full game today, the BayStars won, so now it’s 2-1 Hiroshima.

Imagine if that happened in the NLCS. Imagine if the Dodgers began the series with a 1-0 lead over the Cubs and played all of their games in Los Angeles. Imagine there was a freak L.A. storm and it ended one of the game in the fifth inning, right after Justin Turner hit a homer. I’m pretty sure people would riot.

Kinda makes our complaints about the replay system seem rather quaint, eh?