While he'll be trying to best Pedroia and the Red Sox this year, Ellsbury doesn’t suddenly feel any hatred for his former team now that he’s switch spots in the rivalry.
"When it comes down to playing, we're all competitive. It will be fun playing against them," Ellsbury said. "They wished me the best. They understood. It was nice to hear that."
Ellsbury had only positive things to say about the Red Sox as he was formally introduced as the newest Yankee at a press conference at Yankee Stadium on Friday morning. Ellsbury signed a seven-year, $153-million deal with the Yankees that could potentially net him $169 million over eight years.
"It was seven great years. The fans treated me great. The guys in the clubhouse, those are relationships I'll have for the rest of my life regardless of what uniform I'm in or they're in," Ellsbury said. "The two world championships. Started my career with a world championship, ended my career with a championship. Unbelievable first part of my career. Definitely excited for the new chapter."
Ellsbury didn't want to get into specifics about Boston's interest in re-signing him, but said the Yankees were aggressive in their pursuit, letting him know early they wanted him in the Bronx. The momentum kept building, and the Yankees ultimately signed Boston's center fielder. Ellsbury said he always liked playing at Yankee Stadium, and likes the team's tradition and commitment to winning.
During Ellsbury's tenure in Boston, the Red Sox won two titles, including one this past season. Ellsbury hit .297 with 65 homers, 314 RBIs and 242 stolen bases during his tenure, and led the league with 52 stolen bases last season. In the postseason, while playing through a compression fracture in his right foot and an injured left hand, Ellsbury batted .343 and stole six bases as the Red Sox won their eighth title.
"There was a lot -- Boston strong, the bombings, a lot of things went into that season. I know the city, Jonny (Gomes) always said this -- we picked up the city, but I felt like the city helped us as well," Ellsbury said. "The cheering, the support, everything. It was a special season and a season I'll never forget. I'm just happy to be a part of two world championships with the Red Sox."
Ellsbury will make his return to Fenway Park on April 22, although the Yankees and Red Sox will battle for four games at Yankee stadium before then. For as positive as he was about the Red Sox on Friday, he recognizes Boston fans might not look on him so fondly when he wears Yankees colors that day.
Even with two titles, the boo birds are likely going to be out for Ellsbury.
"I guess how I look at it is just the memories I have there. When I was there the fans cheered me, they were great for me, they cheered me on. Fans were great to me. I think of the winning, the world championships. I guess we'll see. Definitely appreciate them," Ellsbury said. "Fans like to boo. It's just kind of fun to boo. It's kind of fun to join in."