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John Farrell: Jacoby Ellsbury will remain in leadoff spot for now

05.22.13 at 3:28 pm ET
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Making his weekly appearance with “Salk & Holley” Wednesday, Red Sox manager John Farrell said that struggling outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury will remain in the leadoff spot “for the immediate time, right now.”

“I’m not going to say that that would be the case forever,” Farrell said. “But our goal is to get him going — it’s happened to him before where he was dropped down in the order to get his legs back underneath him and get him going. That has certainly not been ruled out. For now, he still remains in that leadoff spot.

“What I don’t want to do — and I mentioned this a number of times — I don’t want to go through a complete revamping, turning the lineup upside down and shifting two or three guys to the front of the order and replacing those guys in that six or seven slot area. Again, trying to get the highest on-base guys at the top of the order based on matchups as to how guys are going. Some people might point to Daniel Nava as a primary one- or two-hole hitter, but he’s done such a good job for us in that six-hole of driving in runs and hitting for power, plus getting on base … it’s not just ‘Hey, take this guy out of the slot and he becomes a different hitter just because we get him from the one-hole to the six- or seven-hole.'”

Farrell said Ellsbury has done his due diligence when it comes to trying to break out of his slump.

“There’s some inconsistency in timing, no doubt about it,” Farrell said. “It’s encouraging that last night, he gets on two times, one by a walk and one by a base hit up the middle. He’s working with Craig Colbrunn obviously — early work, extra BP. I don’t necessarily think … I know a lot of people are going to say ‘Well, he’s got pending free agency, and that’s the elephant in the room that’s weighing him down.’ I don’t get that sense. I think it’s human nature [to look at] what lies ahead. But Jake has always been a guy that, when adjustments are recommended, they take some time for him to incorporate, and we’re going through that right now.

“When you compare video from this year to 2011 when he had the big year, fundamentally, you’re going to see the same mechanics, the same swing. Where things are different — and for any hitter, the most important thing is seeing the baseball. If he’s seeing it, typically, he’s going to be on time. And sometimes, some of the thoughts that might creep in there — whether that’s frustration, whether it’s from trying to execute a certain swing, those thoughts might interrupt that link from seeing the ball to executing the swing. I think that’s where we’ve seen the inconsistency come from — he’s trying to get it right. Sometimes, by trying harder, you get less benefits from the efforts you’re putting in.”

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