UPDATE: According to Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe, Ellsbury’s absence from the lineup today has nothing to do with last night’s catch.
“The only fallout (from last night’s catch) is he might’ve had a little grass in his teeth,” Terry Francona told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
Conspiracy theories are fun, we have to give them the benefit of the doubt here. It’s worth mentioning that Ellsbury is 0-for-12 since returning from the DL, so sitting him against lefty CC Sabathia might not be the worst idea in the world.
1:20 PM: Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports that Jacoby Ellsbury was “feeling it” with his cracked ribs before Friday’s game against the Yankees. And now, one day after making a diving catch in the eighth inning, Ellsbury is out of the starting lineup.
Here’s what Ellsbury told the Boston Globe after last night’s game:
“[The dive] didn’t help it,”
Ellsbury said of his ribs. “But I’m just happy I made the catch. Those
are tough balls for outfielders. I’ve always played on instincts. To
play the outfield, play baseball, you really have to rely on your
instincts. If you’re thinking out there, the ball’s already by you. With
how hard he hit it, line drive, [if it] gets by me it’s going to the
fence. It’s at least a triple for Berkman.
“Somehow [I] managed to keep my face good. It looked like I ate some grass, but I actually didn’t get any.”
It’s not like Ellsbury was completely pain-free when he came back, but he did feel confident enough that he would be able to play through the discomfort. We haven’t heard any comments from Terry Francona yet, but today’s absence will only embolden those who believe that Ellsbury is “soft.”