|Ellsbury makes major league debut|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 30 June 2007 14:39|
Ellsbury received a standing ovation from the sold-out Fenway Park crowd. The ball was pulled out of the game and, after on-deck hitter Kevin Youkilis pretended to throw it into the crowd, was set aside as a keepsake for the 23-year-old outfielder.
In his first at-bat in the second inning, Ellsbury nubbed the ball in front of the plate and was tagged out by Rangers catcher Gerald Laird without ever leaving the batter's box.
The Red Sox purchased Ellsbury's contract from Triple-A Pawtucket before the game. He is believed to be the first American Indian of Navajo descent to play in the majors, the Red Sox said.
``This has been a lifelong dream, to play in the major leagues,'' Ellsbury said before playing center field and batting ninth. ``I'm going to take the same approach I did in Double-A and Triple-A: Play hard and do whatever it takes to win. I'm here to play defense, get on base, and let the guys drive me in.''
The 23rd overall pick in the 2005 draft, Ellsbury hit a combined .323 with 29 stolen bases in 67 games at Double-A Portland and Pawtucket in 2007, his third professional season. Promoted from Portland on May 4, Ellsbury ranks fourth in the International League with 21 stolen bases.
``I don't know if there's anyway to ease the nerves,'' Red Sox manager Terry Francona said before the game. ``Other than having a child, it's probably the single most exciting day of your life. I don't know if I want to calm him. You only have one first time to be a first-time major league player.''
Ellsbury was called up to fill in for Coco Crisp, who missed his second consecutive game with an injured thumb.
``Coco dove on his thumb. We thought it would only be a day,'' Francona said. ``I don't know if anyone thought it would be more than a day. We don't know if we need to rush him to the DL.''
To make room for Ellsbury, right-hander Joel Pineiro was put on the 15-day disabled list with a right ankle sprain. He was injured working out before Monday's game in Seattle.
Pineiro pitched on Wednesday and was put on the DL retroactive to Thursday. He is 1-1 with a 5.04 ERA in 27 appearances with the Red Sox this season.
``It's a soft tissue injury,'' Francona said. ``The doctors didn't see him pitching in the next week, so we're going to put him on the DL until after the All-Star break.''