<
>

Ellsbury: Slump? What slump?

5/23/2013

CHICAGO -- Well, glad we got that cleared up. What the rest of the world might view as a slump, Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury on Wednesday night insisted has been not much more than an inability to "find some grass out there."

Ellsbury had two singles and also walked twice in Wednesday night's 6-2 Red Sox win over the White Sox. He also singled and walked in his last two plate appearances Tuesday.

It was his first two-hit game since May 5, a span of 16 games, and only the second time this month he has reached base four times in a game. The other time came May 14 against Tampa Bay, when he singled, walked twice and was hit by a pitch.

He has not scored two or more times in a game since April 18, a span of 31 games, and has scored just 12 runs in that time, even with Mike Napoli driving in runs at a near-record rate in April and Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz hitting at a furious pace.

But Ellsbury on Wednesday night did not acknowledge that he has struggled, or that he has been in a slump, or employ any other term suggesting something has been amiss. Fact is, he was inclined not to talk at all, telling reporters he'd see them tomorrow, until thinking better of that idea.

His manager, John Farrell, has spoken openly of Ellsbury's struggles, admitting that the team has considered dropping him in the order. The reason he hasn't done so, Farrell indicated, is that he's not convinced that's the best way to get Ellsbury going. He also expressed confidence that Ellsbury will come out of it; most good hitters do.

Perhaps for Ellsbury, the first step toward effecting a turnaround is denying the need for one. If that works for him, no one on Yawkey Way will complain.

"I feel like I've been having good at-bats," Ellsbury said. "Fortunately tonight, I found some grass in the outfield. I've had quite a few swings that have been the same, balls just haven't got out there. I just have to stick with the plan, have a good approach, have a good plan and it's a matter of sticking to the plan."

He couched several of his responses in the same language -- approach, plan, stick to it. "All I can do is hit the ball hard and find some grass," he said.

"Got to keep my confidence, have fun, go up there knowing that it's all a matter of time before all that hard work pays off."

Chances are, he's right. Healthy players, their talent doesn't just melt away.