A real scene-stealer with this team record
Jacoby Ellsbury could only laugh as he asked reporters to wait while he took his first drug test of the season after last night’s 6-3 win over the White Sox, a game in which he stole his 55th base of the season, setting a Red Sox record.
Drug testers were waiting for Ellsbury and a few other Sox players who were randomly selected.
Ellsbury said it was the first time he’d been tested this season, but he didn’t seem to mind after breaking Tommy Harper’s team record set in 1973.
“Definitely nice to do it here at home,’’ Ellsbury said. “To set a goal at the beginning of the season and to accomplish it . . . in front of the fans definitely makes it more enjoyable.’’
Ellsbury hit a ground-rule double off White Sox starter Freddy Garcia to open the bottom of the first and promptly stole third.
Asked whether it was his plan to steal right after the double, Ellsbury said, “I wasn’t sure. It depends on my lead and how far off they’ll let me get. You really never know until the situation is ready to happen. There’ll be times I get on first and I’ll know that I’m going to go.’’
The crowd gave him a loud ovation, and his teammates, manager, and coaches stood on the top step applauding him.
Ellsbury asked for the base after the game, but it appears the team is up to something, because he was told to hold off.
Ellsbury, who is ahead of Tampa Bay’s Carl Crawford by one for the league lead in steals, thought he would break the mark last year, but his pace slowed considerably and he finished with 50 (which was good enough to lead the league).
“Last year I was at a pretty good pace,’’ he said. “Unfortunately I didn’t get it, but in the offseason I trained hard like I normally do. This year I’ve just been steady with it, consistent, and happy to be healthy and running on a good percentage throughout the year.’’
Ellsbury is 11 for 13 stealing third base, and though he said it wasn’t any more special to break the record at third, his smile said it was probably better.
Asked if he had any further goals with almost six weeks left in the season, Ellsbury joked that he has his sights set on Harold Reynolds’s 60 steals. As a Washington native, Ellsbury watched Reynolds play for Seattle growing up.
Ellsbury said that while he hasn’t worked with Harper on base stealing, he has talked to him about it.
“We kind of joke around about it,’’ Ellsbury said. “He’s been great. We’ll just talk about baseball.
“A couple of people have helped me along, like Luis Alicea, kind of my first coach at Lowell, and he just let me run. I’ve always been able to run and steal bases, but he’s the first one, when I went to Lowell, he just let me run wild.
“Lou Frasier was the player development person. My good friend and trainer, Matt James. Then Bogey [Tim Bogar] this year as my first base coach.’’
Ellsbury said he feels capable of stealing more often, but the Red Sox want him to steal at a high percentage.
“Too many good bats in the lineup to let you run wild,’’ Ellsbury said.