Ellsbury: Bruised, but unbowed

May, 3, 2011
BOSTON -- Jacoby Ellsbury remained in the Red Sox lineup Tuesday, a day after coming out with a bruised left knee after bumping catcher Jeff Mathis on a play at the plate during Boston's 9-5 win over the Angels.

Manager Terry Francona said he called Ellsbury on Tuesday morning to check on the player. "He called us back and said he felt pretty good,'' Francona said. "He came in for a little treatment, and he's good to go.''

Ellsbury had a big night Monday, with two hits, two stolen bases, and three runs scored. He has hit in 11 straight games, batting .383 (18 for 47) in that span. The streak is the longest active streak in the AL and second longest of his career, to the 22-game streak he had in 2009 (May 2-27).

Ellsbury's streak began with a broken-bat, two-run single on April 21 in Anaheim, when he was still batting in the No. 9 spot in the order. He was restored to the top of the order the next day, and has scored 11 runs in the team's next 10 games, with a batting line of .395/.435/.558/.993. That's a striking difference from the way he began the season in the leadoff spot (.167/.259/.333/.593) before Francona elected to drop him to the bottom of the order after six games.

"You're seeing success,'' Francona said when asked if there is any difference in Ellsbury's approach at the plate now. "I don't know about the approach. I just think you're seeing him hit balls he didn't hit earlier in the season. I think he's always tried to use the entire field and things like that, but when you do it, and get to pitches that he wasn't getting to earlier in the season, because of that he's not afraid to hit deeper in the count so he's probably a better hitter.''

Ellsbury now is tied for fourth in runs scored in the AL with 20, one behind Howie Kendrick of the Angels and five behind league leader Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays. He also has moved up on the leader board in stolen bases with seven, three behind Sam Fuld of the Rays and Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners, who have 10 apiece.

His stolen bases Monday night were his first in eight games, though he had been caught once. In 2009, when he stole a club-record 70 bases, he already had 15 steals at a similar point in the season.

While Francona restored Ellsbury to the top of the order, he has left things status quo with Carl Crawford, leaving him in the 8-hole even though he has had back-to-back two-hit games that have raised his average to .181, 26 percentage points than it was at the start of Sunday (.155).

Here is tonight’s Red Sox lineup against the Angels:

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
5. David Ortiz, DH
6. J.D. Drew, RF
7. Jed Lowrie, SS
8. Carl Crawford, LF
9. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
SP -- Jon Lester, LHP

Gordon Edes

ESPN Staff Writer



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