Sox outfielders play Rock, Paper, Scissors
Baldelli, Kotsay engage in game to determine positions
BOSTON -- When Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury had to leave Sunday afternoon's game with a right shoulder strain, Rocco Baldelli -- the only available outfielder left -- knew he was going into the game. But would he be in center, directly replacing Ellsbury? Or would Mark Kotsay, who started the game in right, move over to center?
Baldelli and Kotsay are both versatile outfielders who are above average in both center and right. So the two players tried a unique and fun method to try to solve the dilemma. With Kotsay sitting on the bench and Baldelli standing next to him, the two players engaged in a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine who would go where.
"You know what? I don't know if I won or I lost," Baldelli said after Boston's 6-3 loss to Texas. "We did Rock, Paper, Scissors and I won, but that didn't make a decision for us, because then after that, I think it was [bench coach Brad Mills who] came over and said, 'Kots, you're in center.'
"But I won, two out of three, and I won, 2-0. We both threw the scissors out in the second throw."
In truth, manager Terry Francona made the decision. Shortly after the game of Rock Paper Scissors, Mills told Baldelli he would enter the game in right field and Kotsay would play center.
The players seemed to have fun with it.
"Obviously, both of us don't really care where we play," Kotsay said. "And he actually won the right to play right, but the manager selected and made the final decision. I went paper and then rock and he beat me. He must have been in my head or something."
As for Ellsbury, the Red Sox hope he can return for Tuesday's game against the Yankees.
Following Sunday's game, Ellsbury stood in front of his locker, sporting a large bandage on his right elbow and another on his left palm.
"That dirt was so hard, I didn't even have a chance to make a divot," Ellsbury said of his fourth-inning diving, tumbling catch on the warning track in the center-field triangle, robbing Texas' Ian Kinsler of extra bases and ending the inning.
Ellsbury left the game before the sixth, with the diving catch a secondary factor. His slide into second base in the third, after Kinsler misplayed Ellsbury's hard grounder, scoring Jason Varitek and Kotsay for the Sox's first two runs, was the primary factor.
"I banged it up a little bit on the slide and tried to play through it," Ellsbury said. "Then [I] had that catch in the outfield, landed on my right shoulder, and I think I made it even worse from that. But I iced it up, and it's not feeling too good right now, but we have the off-day [Monday]. [I'll] get it looked at. I think it'll be fine."
According to Ellsbury, the trainers said he suffered a strain in the acromioclavicular or AC joint at the top of the shoulder.
Kotsay, who went 2-for-3 with a home run and two runs scored, was happy with his first start, but would've preferred a victory.
"I had four at-bats previous to today [and went 0-for-4]," Kotsay said. "I just said, 'You try to get comfortable as quickly as possible and take good at-bats.' I had four previous at-bats and didn't have any results and fortunately, I had two results and two hits [today]. But they were pretty much meaningless [because] we didn't win."
Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.