BOSTON -- Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury spent three separate stints on the disabled list this season after hurting his ribs three different times, so it's safe to say he’s looking forward to the offseason.
Limited to 18 games this season, Ellsbury spent Friday afternoon cleaning out his locker and packing boxes for his trip home to Arizona.
He was smiling and joking with teammates who also were packing, but when Ellsbury was asked to describe his season, his mood changed.
“There’s nothing really to talk about,” he said. “I’m excited to work out this offseason and I’m excited to have a normal offseason. I’m already looking forward to playing in spring training.”
The relationship between the Red Sox and their oft-injured outfielder was, at times, tumultuous this season.
After suffering his first rib injury on April 11 in Kansas City when he collided with third baseman Adrian Beltre, Ellsbury managed to injure his rib area two more times during the season. During his second stint on the DL, which he spent the majority of at Athletes Performance Institute in Arizona, Ellsbury drew some criticism from teammates, Kevin Youkilis in particular, for being away from the club.
Ellsbury rejoined the Sox in Toronto prior to the All-Star break in July and wanted to give his side of the story, at times questioning the team’s medical staff.
Ellsbury returned to the lineup on Aug. 4, but hurt the ribs again when he was involved in a collision at first base in Texas on Aug. 14. He went back on the DL and his season was over.
Ellsbury said Friday that he’s feeling better and that he and the organization are on the same page heading into the offseason.
“We’re all on the same page as far as what we want to accomplish during the offseason, that’s pretty easy,” he said. “I just need to see the doctor in a couple of weeks, and by that point we’ll know what kind of progression we want to make and how far to push it. They’ll give me a timeline.”
The club is conducting its exit physicals this weekend, and Ellsbury will be examined before he leaves Boston.
“He will be examined front and back,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona, referencing Ellsbury’s comments from July, when he said the team did an MRI of the front and back of his ribs only at his insistence.