I don’t know what’s worse—the fact that Jacoby Ellsbury is injured again or the fact that the injury seems to differ depending on who you ask.
In Sunday’s Grapefruit League action, the Boston Red Sox fan base suffered a scare when Ellsbury was removed from the game for “precautionary reasons” after awkwardly jamming his foot into first base in an attempt to avoid being tagged on a pickoff play.
After the game, Manager John Farrell called the injured a “jammed right heel” and considers Ellsbury day-to-day. The outfielder himself, however, described the injury differently.
“I just stepped on the base and kind of rolled my ankle a little bit,” said Ellsbury. “It just got a little tight, but it’s nothing of a concern.” The 29-year-old stayed in the game initially, but he later came out when he started feeling tightness and discomfort.
Ellsbury has suffered some pretty freak and serious injuries in his career, so to refer to him as “injury-prone” or “brittle” is a little unfair. But having said that, he is quite possibly the slowest healer in the history of MLB. In the past three seasons, the 2011 MVP runner-up missed over 230 games, and his toughness and ability to play hurt has constantly been in question in the Boston media.
A speedster who once stole 70 bases in a season, Ellsbury has taken it easy in spring training thus far, attempting only one steal. The Red Sox are clearly trying to play it safe with their center fielder—hoping to avoid exactly what happened on Sunday.
Hopefully this injury is nothing more than an inconvenience that will take a couple of days to heal, but considering Ellbury’s history (as well as the mystery regarding what exactly is injured), it’s certainly a situation worth monitoring.
(JM Catellier is the author of the book Fixing Baseball, a guide to restructuring the Hall of Fame. Follow him on Twitter: @FixingBaseball and Facebook, and check out his site: www.fixingbaseball.com)