Jacoby Ellsbury finally cleared for batting practice

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Finally, some good news on the injury front for the Red Sox and their fans.

Jacoby Ellsbury, who has played in just three games since April 11 due to fractures in his rib cage, finally took batting practice Wednesday at the Red Sox’s spring training complex in Fort Myers, Florida.  This from Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe

There is still no timetable for the center fielder’s return, but progress is progress.

Ellsbury has made only 45 plate appearances in the big leagues this season and his absence from the Boston lineup has shown up vividly in the American League East standings.  The Red Sox currently sit seven games back of the Yankees in the division and 4.5 games back of the Rays in the hunt for the Wild Card.  There’s a real chance that we could see the first Boston-free October since 2006.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.