What should have been a very encouraging double digit win at Fenway Park in the Red Sox 2012 home opener was marred by the injury to arguably the best player on the roster, Jacoby Ellsbury, in the fourth inning of this afternoon’s ballgame at Fenway Park. Backed by a fantastic outing by Josh Beckett (8 innings, 5 hits allowed, 1 walk, 1 K, 1 earned run) the hometown Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 12-2 to improve to 2-5 on the young season. Unfortunately the biggest news of the day is that the runner up in last year’s American League Most Valuable Player race, Ellsbury, left the game in the fourth inning after a collision with Rays shortstop Reid Brignac on a double-play ball off the bat of Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Moments after Ellsbury hit an RBI single to right to give Beckett a 4-1 lead, he took a rough slide into second base trying to break up a double play on a hit-and-run off Pedroia’s bat and both Ellsbury and Brignac came up hobbling. Sadly, for the Red Sox, Ellsbury was too injured to continue the game and was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for further testing.
I am not a doctor and do not want to speculate on how bad Jacoby’s injury could be, but from all accounts it sounds like he is headed back to the disabled list. Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, who was still awaiting word about the extent of the injury to Ellsbury’s shoulder said that the team would call up an outfielder for Saturday’s game. That man appears to be defensive centerfielder Che-Hsuan Lin who was scratched from the Pawtucket Red Sox lineup less than two minutes before first-pitch today. Lin is the only healthy outfielder on the Red Sox 40-man roster that is not already in Boston, and it is being reported that he is on his way to the big club as I write this. Lin will likely serve as the Red Sox fourth outfielder while Ryan Sweeney, Cody Ross and Darnell McDonald man the outfield until Jacoby Ellsbury and 4-time all-star Carl Crawford (who is dealing with his own elbow injury and reportedly had another setback today) are healthy enough to come back to play.
This is yet another blow to the Red Sox 2012 hopes and some tough news for a club that is already struggling to regain the trust and admiration of a fan base that still remains upset about the chicken and beer antics and the historic collapse of last September. Injuries are the one part of the game that nobody wants to see, and that management can’t predict, but for fans the frustration cannot get much higher. Hopefully for the Red Sox these average at best players will be able to hold down the fort and provide some production while Ellsbury and Crawford are out. And who knows, maybe Linsanity can extend beyond New York and be revived by the Red Sox version Che-Hsuan Lin.