Red Sox shift Ellsbury to LF with Cameron in CF
BOSTON (AP) – Speedy Jacoby Ellsbury is moving from center field to left to make room in the Boston Red Sox outfield for Mike Cameron.
“It came down to the fact that Cameron’s experience is almost exclusively in center and Jacoby demonstrated in 2007 and 2008 that he can be an impact corner outfielder defensively,” Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein wrote in an e-mail Wednesday.
Cameron, who spent the last two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, signed a two-year contract as a free agent with Boston on Dec. 16. At the time, he said he would play wherever the Red Sox want him.
But Cameron, who turns 37 on Friday, won three Gold Gloves as a center fielder. Ellsbury, 26, will take over in left for Jason Bay, who signed with the New York Mets as a free agent.
“We are more than comfortable with Jacoby in center,” Epstein said. “We just feel that – for now – this alignment puts us in the best position to win games.
“Both Mike and Jacoby were great about it and said they would do whatever was best for the team. Jacoby knows he’ll still be a centerfielder in the long run, and Mike looks forward to helping Jacoby any way he can,” he added.
In 1,829 games, Cameron has played center field in 1,699 and left field in just three.
“I played probably one of the better center fields (in 2009) that I’ve played in a long time,” Cameron said when he signed. “It’s part of trying to go out and do the craft to the best of my ability to help the team defensively and definitely put a sense of calm in the pitchers.”
Ellsbury has made some outstanding leaping and diving catches in center, but Cameron may cover more ground. Since reaching the majors in 2007 with the Red Sox, Ellsbury has played 235 games in center, 80 in left and 37 in right.
J.D. Drew will continue in right field in the fourth year of his five-year contract.