Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Jacoby Ellsbury: injury-prone is a misconception


Here we go again. The fragile Jacoby Ellsbury sat out Tuesday’s game with a sore hand, instantly drawing banter from the baseball community (notably from Red Sox fans).

A supposed given when handing out the lavish contract, New York would have to endure times with Ellsbury out of commission. He missed almost all of 2010 and over a half of the 2012 season to injuries, which inflicted him being pegged as “soft” for the rest of his career. To hypocrisies’ delight, it was Yankees fans scoffing at Ellsbury’s delicateness this point in time last year, but the tables have turned, and with the speedy outfielder in pinstripes, it’s Boston’s turn to engineer the jeering. Interestingly enough, in reality, Jacoby Ellsbury is not “injury-prone” by all accounts.

In 2010, a collision with Adrian Beltre resulted in hairline fractures to four of Ellsbury’s ribs (Editor’s note: It was an injury that was first completely misdiagnosed by team physicians, resulting in a lengthier absence than expected.). The pain persisted all season and he would play just 18 games. Despite being labeled a “weakling,” Ellsbury fought through the adversity and overcame the nagging pain the next year. He would have, by far, his best year in 2011, when he became the first 30-30 player in Red Sox history and was the MVP runner-up.

Expectations were high that he’d maintain his MVP-esque status in 2012, but like everyone, he was not immune to the Bobby Valentine struggles. He churned a mediocre .271/.313/.370 slash in 74 games that season. Half the season was lost, when in the beginning of the year, he slid into second base partially dislocating his shoulder.

The pattern of a year of injury woes to one of prosperity continued in 2013 with a successful campaign. Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino played great, but a strong argument that Ellsbury was the team’s MVP can be made. He was tremendous all-around the diamond and being his contract-year, was rewarded handsomely with a lucrative, multi-year contract from the Bronx Bombers.

Hence how we got to the point where “Ellsbury” and “durability” in the same sentence can evoke a profusion of laughter and not-so-clever puns.

However, absorbing all this information should reveal Jacoby Ellsbury is not injury-prone, but the recipient of two devastating, fluke injuries. There is nothing lingering like a hamstring or back problems as both injuries were the result of hustle on the baseball field. Below is a table of the number of games Ellsbury has played since becoming a full-time starter.

2008: 145 games

2009: 153 games

2010: 18 games (nagging rib injury)

2011: 158 games

2012: 74 games (partially dislocated shoulder)

2013: 134 games

Two unfortunate injuries, caused the bulk of Ellsbury’s absence. Whether it is plain spite or misinformation driving you to believe the misconception of his durability, you heard it here –  Jacoby Ellsbury is in no way, shape, or form injury-prone.

Tags: Jacoby Ellsbury New York Yankees

  • steve

    Nice work. First time I’ve read anything that comprehensive about his health.