Jacoby Ellsbury, the former Oregon State star who made a huge impact in the Boston Red Sox's run to the World Series Title last year, is pushing for a starting role in the outfield. Incumbent Coco Crisp, who played four years with the Cleveland Indians before coming to Boston in 2006, doesn't want to play in the reserve role. The Boston Globe has the story:
"Honestly, I think so," Crisp said. " 'Cause I want to play. Like I said, I wouldn't be happy sitting on the bench."
Losing didn't seem to be an option for Crisp. He already lost a starting center-field job to Grady Sizemore in Cleveland, but in that case, there was an open left-field spot to fall back on. This time, there is only a reserve role.
"I want to play every day," Crisp said. "I think everybody wants to play every day. If you don't, I think there's something wrong with you. I don't want to sit on the bench. I mean, I can cheerlead with the best of them. That's not where I want to be, though. I would honestly rather be somewhere else and play than be on the bench, but like I said, I'll take whatever comes and deal with it."
Manager Terry Francona has reiterated that Crisp is the incumbent and there will be a competition, but Crisp seemed unconvinced. Does he think he will get a fair shot?
"I'm not sure," he said. "I'm not sure how everything's going to break down. I'm really unsure of a lot of things this year, and with that, all I can do is just go out there and, like I said, try to have fun like I did in the past."
After being recalled from the minors Sept. 1, Jacoby had 41 hits in 116 at bats, and scored scored 20 runs. He finished the season with a .353 average with nine stolen bases in 33 games.
Jacoby arrived on Monday to Red Sox Camp after a whirlwind Winter that included a parade through his hometown of Madras, Oregon.
"For the first time in my life, I had to have a calendar to know where I'm at," Ellsbury said. "It was a packed offseason."
Still, with his arrival at Red Sox camp Monday, reality slapped Ellsbury, 24, in the face. For the second straight year, Rawlings supplied Ellsbury, a lefty, with fielding gloves designed for the wrong hand. "Might as well keep the tradition," Ellsbury said.