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Dustin Pedroia: Jacoby Ellsbury ‘doesn’t have to answer anything’

10.02.12 at 6:41 pm ET
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NEW YORK — Though Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was diagnosed with a broken left ring finger on Monday, he returned to the lineup on Tuesday after missing the opener of a three-game series between the Red Sox and Yankees. He was not alone in making his return to the Sox lineup.

Jacoby Ellsbury had also sat out of Monday’s game, and his absence raised some eyebrows given that there wasn’t a specific injury that seemed like it would prevent him from playing. Instead, manager Bobby Valentine said on Monday that Ellsbury — who played in Baltimore on Saturday and Sunday after missing the previous eight games with an injury — could use a breather while getting back into the mix and that with left-hander CC Sabathia on the mound for the Yankees and a large outfield expanse, he preferred to use Che-Hsuan Lin in center while Ellsbury sat.

Valentine further expounded on that decision prior to Tuesday’s game.

“CC was pitching and I saw [Ellsbury] face Joe Saunders a couple of nights before with his breaking ball and I thought it was a situation where a right-hander might be able to do better and Lin got half of our hits so maybe that hunch was OK,” said Valentine, referencing the fact that Ellsbury was 0-for-4 on Sunday against the Orioles while Lin went 2-for-3 against Sabathia. ‘€œI thought I was playing the team that was going to give us a good chance to win. It’€™s a big center field. Lin is a very good defensive player. Ells really hasn’€™t hit that well against left-handers and Lin got two hits last night and the first time up he really walked but they called him out on a high 3-2 curveball so he really would have been on base three times. [Clay Buchholz] was going to give us a chance to win yesterday by pitching well and our offense wasn’€™t going to be able to outmatch them, we were hoping to outpitch them. A little defense would have helped — I thought. So that’€™s that. Thank you.’€

(Ellsbury is hitting .262 with a .315 OBP, .401 slugging mark and .716 OPS against righties and .292 with a .318 OBP, .330 slugging mark and .648 OPS against lefties this year.)

Meanwhile, Pedroia came to the defense of Ellsbury, who has played just 72 games this year after missing three months in the first half while recovering from a subluxation of his shoulder and then spent his recent eight-day stretch on the sidelines.

‘€œHe’€™s been beat up, man. He’€™s had his share of injuries this year. This year has been tough on a lot of guys. He doesn’€™t have to answer anything,’€ said Pedroia.

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