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Jacoby Ellsbury: Focus is on winning World Series, not free agency

10.22.13 at 5:52 pm ET
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Jacoby Ellsbury may be in his last days in a Red Sox uniform. When the World Series concludes, the 30-year-old will be eligible for free agency, with his future beyond this year unknown.

He’s aware of this, if for no other reason than because he was asked repeatedly about the fact during player media availability on Tuesday, one day before Ellsbury’s Sox prepare to take on the Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series. But the outfielder insists that his focus is not on what lies beyond the coming games, given what’s at stake.

“To be on top of your game, you’ve got to focus on the task at hand, and that’s winning a World Series,” said Ellsbury. That’s pretty much what everybody’s goal, everybody’s focus is on, is right now. I think that’s what it has to be. It has to be on this team. It has to be on these next maybe seven games. It could be four games. But it’s laying it all on the line right now. Hopefully that’s what you’re remembered by, this team and this year.”

Asked about the possibility of using a strong postseason as a platform for greater earnings, Ellsbury — who is hitting .400 with a .467 OBP and six steals in seven attempts this month — suggested that such concerns were not on his mind. Nor, he suggested, had they been at any point this year.

“The most important thing is winning. From Day 1, it’s laying it all on the line. I’ve always taken pride in playing hard, playing the game the right way and leaving it all on the field,” said Ellsbury. “I haven’t approached the game any differently than I have in years past, and that’s playing the game the right way, being a good teammate and just playing the game the right way.

“I’m thinking about getting a ring,” he added. “I’m thinking about going out there, competing, playing as hard as I can, competing with the fellas and getting a ring. That’s the most important thing.”

Ellsbury, of course, was a central contributor to the Sox’ last World Series team in 2007. But his perspective on what a second championship would mean in Boston is vastly different than it was when he was a wide-eyed rookie.

“In 2007, everything happened so quick. I got called up, got put on the postseason roster and won a World Series. Everything happened so fast. This year, I think, it’s so hard. No matter how quality of a team you have, it is tough to get to this point. I think this year, I’m definitely enjoying it, slowing it down a little bit and definitely enjoying the whole process a little bit,” said Ellsbury. “I felt very fortunate [in 2007]. I knew at the time there is players that have played their whole careers, All-Star players who have never made the postseason. For me to make it my first year and win a World Series was unbelievable, but you do realize how tough it is to get here, no matter how good a team you have. It’s tough. For us to get to this level, it’s obviously, I’m very happy but I know we have a lot of work left to do.”

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