Boston Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury played through an injury to his left hand during the team's run to the World Series title. Although the ailment didn't receive much attention outside the clubhouse, it started to impact his play late in the playoffs.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports those who knew the extent of his injury, which was mostly limited to members of the Red Sox organization, were surprised he kept playing. Before the clinching game, the center fielder told coaches he was running out of steam.
Before Game 6 of the World Series on Wednesday night, Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury told some of the team’s coaches, "I've got no more bullets in the gun. We have to win tonight."
Teammates would look at Ellsbury’s left hand during the post-season—discolored and severely swollen, up to the forearm—and express surprise that he was playing at all.
The report states Ellsbury originally suffered the injury in early September, but quickly became an afterthought due to a foot injury. The foot healed, allowing him to help lead Boston to a championship, but the hand turned into a nagging issue.
Rosenthal goes on to say Ellsbury is scheduled to undergo an MRI to determine the extent of the damage. At least until the results of the testing come back, the veteran believes normal rest during the offseason will be enough to get back to full strength.
He was one of the team's best hitters during the postseason. He hit .344 with an on-base percentage over .400 and six stolen bases. His numbers dropped off in the World Series, however, as he had just six hits in 24 at-bats (.250) with only one extra-base hit.
His health will be an important factor going into this winter because he's scheduled to hit free agency. The Red Sox are expected to make a qualifying offer, according to Rosenthal, but the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers are likely to pursue him on the open market.
If Ellsbury has avoided serious injury, he should become one of the most coveted players available after tallying 52 stolen bases and 48 extra-base hits during the regular season.
He capped off the successful campaign with a World Series title that he and his teammates will celebrate in the coming days, but the focus will soon shift to the health of his hand and his future.