Ellsbury agrees to deal with Red Sox; Crawford has wrist surgery

Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury hits a three-run home run in front of Tampa Bay Rays catcher Kelly Shoppach during an August 2011 game in Boston.
AP File Photo
Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury hits a three-run home run in front of Tampa Bay Rays catcher Kelly Shoppach during an August 2011 game in Boston.
Posted Jan. 17, 2012, at 6:59 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 17, 2012, at 10:30 p.m.

BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox agreed to terms on Tuesday with outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury on a one-year, non-guaranteed contract worth $8.05 million, avoiding salary arbitration.

Ellsbury, who played in just 18 games in 2010, was named the American League Comeback Player of the Year in ’11 and finished second in AL MVP voting. He batted.321 with career highs of 46 doubles, 32 home runs, 119 runs, 105 RBIs and 52 walks in 158 games. He led the majors with 364 total bases and 83 extra-base hits.

“Happy to get a deal worked out!” Ellsbury wrote on Twitter. “Excited to get to Spring Training and help the (hash)RedSox get back on top!!”

Selected by the Red Sox in the 2005 first round, Ellsbury has a .301 career average, and made the All-Star team last season. Even as the Red Sox collapsed in September, going just 7-20 to finish one game behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL wild-card race, Ellsbury finished strong with a .358 average, eight homers and 21 RBIs over the month.

Infielder Mike Aviles also agreed to a one-year deal. Aviles, 30, was acquired by Boston from Kansas City on July 30, 2011 and hit .317 in 38 games. He played third base, shortstop, second base, right and left field.

The Red Sox, who never had an arbitration case during Theo Epstein’s tenure as general manager, have four potential arbitration cases remaining: David Ortiz, Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves and Andrew Bailey.

Meanwhile, Sox outfielder Carl Crawford had surgery on his left wrist on Tuesday and could miss opening day.

General manager Ben Cherington said that Crawford is expected to resume hitting at some point in spring training and be ready early in the season.

“Carl will be our everyday leftfielder for the bulk of the 2012 season,” Cherington said. “We’re not ruling out opening day, but we’re not going to put a timeline on it. Carl will be ready exactly when he’s ready. There’s no one who works harder than Carl.

“We’re confident he’ll be back and playing soon. We just don’t know when.”

Cherington said Crawford experienced some discomfort last season, but the problem flared up recently whenCrawford began more intense hitting workouts. The surgery, which Cherington called “relatively routine,” was performed in Arizona on Tuesday by Dr. Donald Sheridan, who also operated on Crawford’s right hand in 2008.

“We are confident he will recover from it and go into the 2012 season with a fresh mind and confidence that his wrist is feeling good,” Cherington said, adding that Darnell McDonald and Mike Aviles are expected to fill in until Crawford is available. “We feel like we have some options even if Carl’s not ready on opening day.”

Crawford had career lows with a .255 average and 18 stolen bases in 2011, the first season of his seven-year, $142-million contract with the Red Sox.

“We think this time of the year’s a lot better than the end of spring training,” Cherington said. “He’s got a chance to do a lot of work and recover and be active for us for the majority of the season. Carl’s a really tough guy, and this is something that’s bothered him periodically in the past, including in 2011.”

Cherington also said on Tuesday that the team was likely to have another conversation with knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who is third on the franchise’s all-time win list with 186, six behind Cy Young and Roger Clemens. Cherington said he wanted to treat both Wakefield, the longest-tenured member of the team, and catcher Jason Varitek with respect while also being honest with them about their chances to make the roster.

Cherington said right-hander Vicente Padilla is being considered as a starter but could move to the bullpen if the team needs him more there.

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