On July 30, Peter Abraham of the Globe answered some questions at SoSH:
absintheofmalaise: A few weeks ago Youkilis spoke out about Ellsbury spending most of his DL stint away from the team. From what you heard, was what he said the general consensus among the players or was it just Youkilis mouthing off?A few days later, on August 5, Globe columnist Christopher Gasper wrote that Ellsbury is
PeteAbe: That was the general consensus by far. Terry Francona has all but come out and said the same thing. Jacoby has a lot of making up to do in there.
johnlimberakis: Lately chemistry has been the focus of several stories. There was a lot of media coverage on Jacoby Ellsbury being away from the team during his stay in Arizona. Why did it matter to the players where he was during his rehab? Or was this less of an issue to his teammates than it had been previously reported? Has/had anyone stood up for Ellsbury or, at least didn't care either way or was the whole team upset about his decision?
PeteAbe: The Ellsbury thing was two-fold: They questioned who it took so long for him to come back from hairline fractures in his ribs and they wondered why he had to do it in Arizona, where he lives. Why did every other injured player, every one of them, stay with the team? Jeremy Hermida had the same injury. His ribs seemed to heal fine in Boston. It wasn't a day to day issue because he wasn't there, just a lot of eye-rolling and "yeah, Jacoby, whatever." Nobody that I saw stood up for him.
in the equivalent of an 0-and-2 hole with many frustrated Red Sox fans, media and teammates who feel he dawdled in his return (for the second time) from five fractured ribs. ...Gasper also noted that Ellsbury has "gotten a bit of a raw deal", pointing out that the recovery times for both Ellsbury and Jeremy Hermida were nearly identical.
There is nothing Ellsbury can say, relay or explain that is going to change the belief of his detractors that he malingered the last couple of months with the rib injury. That might be unfortunate and unfair, but it's fact.
It's interesting that Abraham mentioned Hermida since Gasper reported that the time it took Hermida to return from his rib injuries was no shorter than Ellsbury's, yet Ellsbury's time away was clearly perceived as longer. Abraham implies that the main issue was Ellsbury being away from the team -- which is a far different thing (and far less important, I'd say) than refusing to play in pain.
Also, didn't the Red Sox give their consent to having Ellsbury go to Arizona? There is no way in hell Ellsbury dictated his terms to management (regardless of who his agent is), so if the team signed off on Ellsbury-to-Arizona, then any disgruntled teammates should talk to Theo Epstein.
The following day, August 6, Amalie Benjamin of the Globe participated in an on-line chat. She was asked:
How's the Jacoby Ellsbury situation playing out? Is there tension amongst the team and management with him, or was this a media-created issue?Her answer:
Not sure why people continue to think this was media created. I don't make things up, nor do any of my colleagues. This is stuff we're getting from being in the clubhouse, from talking to players. Sometimes we can't report who said what, due to off the record conversations, but we're not creating this.Around the same time, team owner John Henry wrote in an email to AOL FanHouse:
It's frustrating to hear people question why a player doesn't come back as quickly as some would like. One of the problems we have is players trying to come back too soon. ... The questioning of whether or not Jacoby Ellsbury should have been back earlier hopefully was rooted in the desire to see him come back. No one should question his desire to compete. In fact, he came back too soon initially. We didn't realize he was as badly hurt as he was. No one was looking forward to this season more than he was.My first impression was that this was classic CYA by Henry. These issues surrounding Ellsbury simply appeared in the media one day (May 28, to be exact) and everyone quickly picked up on it.
While I'm willing to believe that where there is smoke, there is fire, this entire controversy seemed orchestrated, most likely from a leak from management. A back-handed slap from an anonymous club source -- who declined comment, not wanting to make Ellsbury's sour relationship with his teammates any worse (paraphrase) -- did nothing to dissuade me from that opinion.
In his initial salvo, Tony Massarotti stated that Ellsbury always had issues with management about not playing hurt, including throughout the minor leagues -- he "required a great deal of maintenance" is how Mazz put it. I had never heard that before. Maybe I missed something. I'd love to see any reports since 2005 if they exist.