Jacoby Ellsbury: 'A lot of great memories' of playing with Red Sox

Rob Bradford
March 18, 2014 - 8:39 am

TAMPA -- The Red Sox had their first glimpse of a familiar face in an unfamiliar uniform. With the Sox visiting the Yankees in Tampa, Jacoby Ellsbury had a chance to enjoy a reunion with some of his former Boston teammates, exchanging pleasantries in the batting cage with some of the players and coaches who made the trip up from Fort Myers for Tuesday's exhibition game. Ellsbury said that the encounter "seemed pretty normal," particularly given that he remains in touch with a number of his former teammates. Asked if it was difficult to leave the Red Sox this offseason, Ellsbury spoke fondly of his time in Boston. "I've always said I enjoyed playing there. Have a lot of memories. Spent nine years playing in the organization. That's roughly a third of my life with one team," said Ellsbury. "So definitely a lot of great memories, a lot of friends over there and I still continue to have relationships with those guys down the road." Ellsbury said that he made it clear to the Sox that he'd be happy to return in free agency. "They knew I enjoyed playing there," he said. "They definitely did." However, the Yankees moved quickly and aggressively to sign Ellsbury in free agency to a seven-year, $153 million deal, a process that concluded in the first days of December. Since then, the center fielder suggests that he has been amidst a "very easy transition" in which he's been "welcomed with ... open arms." "It happened pretty quick," said Ellsbury. "Play deep, winning the World Series, you go play an extra month, then free agency hits, you start talking to teams, it was exciting when they made the offer, I saw what they were doing, their history, a chance to win right away, a chance to win championships. That was the biggest thing that was appealing."