Baseball: Jacoby Ellsbury puts on pinstripes
Jacoby Ellsbury walked into the Yankees clubhouse, filled with all that gear with pinstripes and the famous interlocking "NY." He walked over to his locker in the back, the one used last spring by former Boston Red Sox teammate Kevin Youkilis.
Ellsbury was in the den of his former team's enemy, at least in the view of many Boston fans. But for now, with games that count more than a month away, the speedy center fielder still gets preferential treatment after helping the Red Sox win another World Series.
He found that out when he went to a deli before heading to the ballpark Tuesday in Tampa, Fla.
"Red Sox fan gave me some free breakfast this morning down here in Tampa," he said happily. "There's still the love there. It's nice to see."
Boston made no attempt to re-sign Ellsbury, a 2011 All-Star who led the majors with 52 steals despite a broken foot late last season. He hit .298 with nine homers and 53 RBIs.
He's not really sure how he'll be greeted April 22, when he returns to Fenway Park wearing a Yankees uniform. He took out a full-page advertisement in the Boston Globe in December to thank the fans.
"I definitely gave them everything I had in that organization, played as hard as I could, tried to do everything the right way," he said."
Darvish takes jab at Yankees, Tanaka
If Yu Darvish is feeling any pressure after leading the majors in strikeouts last season, it isn't showing. The Texas Rangers ace was even in a joking mood Tuesday at spring training. Darvish wisecracked that the New York Yankees might have paid too much for fellow Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka by giving him a seven-year, $155 million contract on top of a $20 million posting fee to the Rakuten Golden Eagles.
The deal made Darvish No. 2 when it comes to Japanese players in the majors: He has a six-year, $56 million deal signed before the 2012 season.
"I don't know the details of the posting system, but I think the Yankees gave him a little bit too much," Darvish said with a chuckle through his interpreter during his first spring training session with reporters. Even before the session was done, the remark was all over social media and the Rangers released a statement to make sure everyone knew Darvish was kidding.
Zimmerman tepid on playing first base
The new piece of equipment in Ryan Zimmerman's locker is a first baseman's mitt. He doesn't mind using it a little, as long as it's not a lot.
"I don't know if I'm ready for 65-70 games over there, but you never know," Zimmerman said Tuesday. "I think with the way I finished, the way my arm feels now, I think I can help this team win more games at third base. But if there's an opportunity for me to play 10-15 games at first base and it helps us win some of those games, then I'm down to help out any way I can."
Zimmerman struggled with his throws to fist base last season as he recovered from shoulder surgery.