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? 

Video: Nelson Cruz hits second-longest home run of 2016

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Nelson Cruz #23 of the Seattle Mariners celebrates his solo homerun with Daniel Vogelbach #20 of the Seattle Mariners to take a 2-1 lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the seventh inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 14, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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There’s certainly never a bad time to hit a home run, but when you get the opportunity to crush a triple-deck, 493-foot shot off of Tyler Duffey, you should take it. With the Mariners down 2-0 to the Twins in the fourth inning, Cruz hammered a fastball to deep left field for his 39th long ball of the season — and the second-longest home run hit in 2016, to boot.

It doesn’t hurt that the Mariners are 1.5 games back of a playoff spot, although they’ll have to oust the Blue Jays, Orioles, or Tigers to get a wild card. They’ve gone 3-3 in the last week, dropping two consecutive series to the Astros and Blue Jays and taking their series opener against Minnesota 10-1 on Friday night.

Cruz, for his part, entered Saturday’s game with a .299/.337/.610 batting line and six home runs in September. According to ESPN.com’s Home Run Tracker, Cruz sits behind Edwin Encarnacion and Mike Napoli with 13 “no-doubt” home runs in 2016, third-most among major league sluggers. It’s safe to say he can add Saturday’s moonshot to that list.

Marlins’ outfielder and undisputed home run king Giancarlo Stanton remains untouched at the top of the Statcast leaderboard with a 504-ft. home run, and it’s difficult to envision any slugger reaching beyond that before the end of the season. Even so, Cruz won’t need to clear 500 feet to extend an impressive hitting record. One more home run will put the 36-year-old at 40 on the year, making 2016 his third consecutive season with at least 40 homers, and his second such season doing so in Seattle.

Report: John Farrell won’t rule out a postseason return for Pablo Sandoval

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 11:  Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox looks on from the dugout before the Red Sox home opener against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park on April 11, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Orioles defeat the Red Sox 9-7.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.

On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.

At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.

If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.

Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.

Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.