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.

MLB investigation confirms that the baseball has changed

MLB
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You know the baseballs are different. We know the baseballs are different. Pitchers have been saying the baseballs are different. And now Major League Baseball has acknowledged that the baseballs are different in a report of findings by a team of scientists from some of the top universities in the world, like Stanford, Caltech, and M.I.T.

You can read the whole thing here in PDF form. Here’s the gist …

The ball is not bouncier — or “juiced” — but it is most definitely carrying farther. From MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince …

Though the study did not discover meaningful changes in the ball’s lift, it found that the drag coefficient of MLB balls has decreased since 2015. The researchers used a physics model to calculate that if the change in home run rate was attributable entirely to changes in drag, one would expect the drag coefficient to have decreased by approximately 0.012. The exact change in drag coefficient in the time period studied — if you’re scoring at home — was 0.0153.

It’s not the seams or the core that has changed — those aspects were tested — and it’s not the weather either. In fact, the commision couldn’t figure out what is causing the decrease in drag, despite numerous tests on all elements of the ball. It might simply come down to manufacturing advancements. Looking at you, Rawlings …

“Rawlings is always trying to improve the manufacturing process to make it more uniform,” Alan Nathan, professor emeritus of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign told MLB.com. “So the interesting question that comes up is whether the goal should be to improve the manufacturing process or to keep the ball performing exactly the way it is, regardless of whether it’s improved or not.”

Baseball Prospectus began studying this three years ago, as home runs began to increase around the league. Their write-up on MLB’s report is a must-read.