A day after he had a pair of hits in a loss to Minnesota, Ellsbury fueled a 16-hit attack Saturday against Florida with two doubles and a home run in just four innings of work. He drove in three runs, scored three runs and upped his Grapefruit League average to .440 (11-for-25).
The speedy center fielder never had any doubts himself, but translating his good health into good production feels, well, good.
"Felt good. Felt good at the plate," Ellsbury said. "It's nice to be out there."
The first at-bat of the day saw Ellsbury ground a ball past the dive of Marlins first baseman Greg Dobbs and down the line in right. Going hard directly out of the box, he was at second base safely in a span of seconds.
Ellsbury then went down the left-field line for a double in the second, scoring on a sacrifice fly by Adrian Gonzalez, and then launched a solo shot in the fourth on a 1-1 offering from Florida ace Josh Johnson.
The blast was somewhat notable; Ellsbury did not homer in his limited action last year, so it's been some time since he had put a charge into one in a game.
None of it, not the speed, the power or the ability to spray the ball all over the field, has taken Ellsbury off guard.
"I knew awhile ago coming into spring training I was ready to go, so no surprise for me," he said.
Manager Terry Francona has said all spring that Ellsbury seemed ahead of his normal progression, even though he missed so much time in 2010.
"I think it's safe to say he's feeling pretty good about himself at the plate," Francona said.
Ellsbury now leads the team in hits, average, total bases (17) and is one of two players with as many as three doubles.
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