Thanks to an early season collision with teammate and human freight train Adrian Beltre, a controversial diagnosis by team doctors of the five broken ribs suffered from it, and a re-injured or newly fractured rib suffered in last Friday night’s game in Texas, speedy outfielder and Red Sox leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury is back on the DL for a third time. Now, sources say his 2010 season is in doubt.
Between Ellsbury’s (probably valid) claim of being misdiagnosed, and some restless Sox fans and members of the media (like Tony Massarotti) questioning his toughness, it’s been a nightmare season for him, which has spanned only 18 games so far, the highlight of which was his four steals in Yankee Stadium during Boston’s last road trip.
I’m not a doctor so I can’t say how Ellsbury should’ve been treated had doctors spotted the complete severity of his fractured ribs to begin with. But Ells has done all he can to play this year, and what I can’t stand are fans and Boston media who question an athlete’s toughness behind a phone, computer, newspaper or mic when there is no real history of a player like him being soft. This isn’t J.D. (“Nancy” or “DL”) Drew we’re talking about here. The only warranted criticism of Ells is him rehabbing in Arizona for a whole month, with the Red Sox’s permission, of course, but without doing much to support his teammates during that time.
But Ellsbury has twice tried to come back from these injuries now, and didn’t even want to come out of Friday night’s game in Arlington, Texas. That was manager Terry Francona’s call.
Ask any teammate or even ex-teammate like the Rangers’ David Murphy, and they’ll tell you Ellsbury is a “gamer” who’s played hurt and always plays hard and fearlessly in the outfield. Even in May, he played ball knowing his soreness wouldn’t go away until the offseason.
But questioning whether he wants to play or play hurt like Massarotti did in May, Dan Shaughnessy did a couple of weeks ago and some supposed Sox fans on talk radio have done lately is wrong. There is just no basis for it. Period.
Jacoby Ellsbury tried to play hurt and re-injured himself now twice in the process. He should be commended for his efforts, not criticized by an impatient Boston media looking for something to scream about during what has been a very frustrating Red Sox season. This isn’t it, folks. Find something else to whine about.