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Sports

December 14, 2013

Ellsbury shifts from Yanks' 'thorn' to 'flower'

(Continued)

He didn’t go on the DL this year, when he was limited to 134 games by a broken bone in his right foot that he played on throughout the postseason before it completely healed.

“‘I already made my mind up I would play in the postseason no matter how it felt,” he said. “There was a risk — a foul ball off my foot. ... The reward was worth the risk.”

New York general manager Brian Cashman thinks the injuries were anomalies.

“There’s risk always when you make those type of commitments, but we signed the player because of the projected reward,” Cashman said. “He’s a unique talent.”

Ellsbury’s arrival was linked to the slow negotiations with All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano, who left for a $240 million, 10-year deal with Seattle.

“We have to start moving now,” Cashman remembered telling his bosses. “And to move early, you have to step up and separate yourself from the pack.”

Ellsbury’s deal calls for salaries of $21,142,857.15 per season and includes a $21 million team option for 2021 with a $5 million buyout. Ellsbury gets a full no-trade provision and the right to purchase six Legends Suite tickets per year.

“I’ve seen him get base hits. I’ve seen him hit home runs. I’ve seen him steal second. I’ve seen him steal third,” Girardi said. “And I even had the pleasure of watching him steal home off of Andy Pettitte when I was standing right behind him and we were all screaming at Andy.

“I’ve seen him make great catches that changed the complexion of the scores between the Red Sox and Yankees. And that’s why I’m so excited to have him in our lineup on a daily basis, because there’s so many different ways that he can beat you, whether it’s with his power, his speed or his glove.”

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