It's been three months--from one Friday the 13th to the next--but Jacoby Ellsbury is finally back in the Red Sox lineup, batting leadoff and playing center field against Jeremy Hellickson and the Tampa Bay Rays.
It's a scenario that's almost a bit discomforting. Friday the 13th, the Rays...the biggest differences are that they're on the road, and that Reid Brignac--the man who did the damage--hasn't been with the team since shortly after that incident. For those that aren't superstitious, all this means nothing. For those that are...
Do something with salt.
Jacoby Ellsbury isn't the only one making his return, either. The Sox will have Will Middlebrooks playing third base, getting Mauro Gomez' unfortunate glove out of the field and hopefully bringing a rejuvinated bat to the fifth spot. Middlebrooks had been flagging a bit after the Youkilis trade, but that's nothing a week off can't fix.
The Red Sox have a few long weeks ahead of them. It all starts here. Every one of the next 18 games is crucial. They're getting healthy--now they just need to prove that means something.
|BOSTON RED SOX||TAMPA BAY RAYS|
|Jacoby Ellsbury, CF||Elliot Johnson, SS|
|Daniel Nava, LF||Carlos Pena, 1B|
|David Ortiz, DH||Ben Zobrist, RF|
|Adrian Gonzalez, 1B||B.J. Upton, CF|
|Will Middlebrooks, 3B||Jeff Keppinger, 2B|
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C||Sean Rodriguez, 3B|
|Ryan Sweeney, RF||Luke Scott, DH|
|Mike Aviles, SS||Desmond Jennings, LF|
|Pedro Ciriaco, 2B||Jose Lobaton, C|