Tuesday, February 25, 2014


As Red Sox spring training progresses, we get closer and closer to starting actual games, like the ones against Boston College and Northeastern University on Thursday. Shank takes a column to consider the possibilities.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox hitting coach Greg Colbrunn doesn’t have a recipe for a new leadoff hitter. What he knows is that this powerful lineup that produced a league-best 853 runs in 2013 will look different, but not necessarily worse.

He can’t mix Shane Victorino with Dustin Pedroia and a little Grady Sizemore and come up with another Jacoby Ellsbury. Not possible. The speed, the disruptive nature of Ellsbury’s game, that’s gone.
Shank didn't seem terribly concerned in 2010, when Ellsbury wasn't in the lineup.
Ellsbury accounted for 92 of those 853 runs, fifth among leadoff hitters. But the excitement he brings, the pressure on the pitcher, and his defense are gone.
Dan was definitely excited the last time Ellsbury was gone from the lineup for an extended period:
It’s impossible and unfair to measure another man’s pain. Some professional ballplayers play hurt, while others wait until they are 100 percent before they step on the field. Jacoby Ellsbury broke five ribs back in April and he’s the only person who knows the extent of his pain at this hour.

But the situation with the Red Sox and Ellsbury has become absurd. The Sox are falling fast against mediocre competition and Ellsbury is still on the disabled list even though he’s played five games of minor league ball, and Sunday went 2 for 5, almost jumping out of McCoy Stadium in pursuit of a Durham Bull home run.
The only thing Shank will miss about Ellsbury is having a target.

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