Sox In Focus: Jacoby Ellsbury
Jacoby Ellsbury was signed by the Red Sox in 2005 as the 23rd overall pick. He began playing for the Lowell Spinners. From the start, he showed that his patience and great speed were an asset when he led off the game by walking on a 3-2 pitch, stealing second, continuing to third on a throwing error and then scoring on a wild pitch.
Ellsbury made his Major League debut on June 30th, 2007 when he was called upon to replace the injured Coco Crisp. Ellsbury was then sent back down, despite his recent success.
As the playoffs approached, Ellsbury was brought back up to the Sox, and fit in perfectly. In eleven total postseason games, he hit .360 in 25 at-bats with two stolen bases.
He began his career with 25 consecutive stolen bases, but that streak was ended in a game against Milwaukee when the Brewers used a pitch out to throw him out.
Ellsbury has a lot more than just speed and hitting. He knows how to play the outfield as well.
On April 12, Ellsbury played his 179th straight regular-season game without an error, breaking Mike Greenwell’s Red Sox franchise record for outfielders. On April 15, Ellsbury with six errorless chances passed Coco Crisp for most errorless chances by a center fielder, setting a new Red Sox franchise record of 433.
About a week later in a game against the Yankees, Ellsbury stole home and then received a curtain call from all of the fans at Fenway Park.
With the Red Sox signing free agent center fielder Mike Cameron and not resigning left fielder Jason Bay, Ellsbury was moved to the starting left field position as opposed to center. Ellsbury spent a considerable amount of time playing left field during the 2007 playoffs in late innings when players were being substituted, before earning the primary job in center field over Coco Crisp.
The move was made as the result of Cameron’s experience in center and inexperience in left. Ellsbury tends to play more flexibly and can thus be moved. Manager Terry Francona expressed excitement over the prospect of playing a true center fielder in left field, creating a larger fielding range and more aggressive style.
During the off season Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills (#2) became the manager of the Astros. Jacoby changed his number from 46 to 2 with permission from the Red Sox.