Kevin Youkilis spills the beans on Jacoby Ellsbury

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Jacoby Ellsbury re-joined the team in Toronto last night after spending the past five weeks in Arizona rehabbing his broken ribs. And according to what Kevin Youkilis told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, he and his teammates wonder why he hasn’t been with the team all along.

“I don’t know what’s going on with Jacoby,” he said. “I don’t think
any of us really know.”

Was it strange for Ellsbury to be away from the team that long?

“Don’t go down that road,” Youkilis said. “One thing I can say is
there’s a lot of guys here that are hurt and supporting the team. We
wish Jacoby was here supporting us, too.”

Plenty of players feel the same way. Youkilis is one of the few with
the courage to say it on the record.

That may be the case, but this will only give more credence to the notion that Ellsbury is a wuss. Kevin Youkilis isn’t a doctor — and neither am I, by the way — so I’m not sure whether his criticism is fair. Remember, Ellsbury already came back from the injury once and went back on the disabled list less than a week later.

I’ll concede that his absence is unique for a player without a season-ending injury and I’m certainly not privy to clubhouse chatter, but if Ellsbury went to Arizona with the organization’s blessing, we should probably give them the benefit of the doubt that he was receiving the best care possible down there.

Ellsbury didn’t arrive at Rogers Centre until the start of Friday’s game. I’m guessing there’s a pretty good chance he will be asked about this when he arrives at the ballpark today.

Danny Espinosa reportedly skipped Nationals Winterfest because of Adam Eaton

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Danny Espinosa #8 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after teammate Chris Heisey #14 (not pictured) hits a two run home run in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.

A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.

Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.

Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.

Nick Cafardo: Red Sox should deal Pomeranz, not Buchholz

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Drew Pomeranz #31 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.

The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.

Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.

Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.