NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Jacoby Ellsbury is getting a firsthand look at the other side of the Boston-New York rivalry.
The Yankees introduced the former Red Sox outfielder at an 11 a.m. press conference Friday at Yankee Stadium.
“I’m excited for this opportunity to come to a storied franchise,” said Ellsbury, who will wear No. 22. “Looking outside today, seeing the banners on the wall, seeing the great players that have played here, it’s just truly an honor.”
Ellsbury’s seven-year, $153 million contract with New York was finalized last week. The deal includes a $21 million club option for 2021.
The 30-year-old hit .298 with nine home runs and 53 RBIs for the World Champion Red Sox last season. His best year came in 2011, when he batted .321 with 32 homers and 105 RBIs.
He’s pretty good on the base paths, too. Ellsbury, who suffered a broken foot in September, led MLB with 52 stolen bases.
“You are going to make my job a lot easier,” manager Joe Girardi said. “You are no longer a thorn in my side.”
Ellsbury joined WFAN radio’s Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts shortly after his introduction:
— On his new home city: “Well, I always enjoyed coming to New York and playing. I always felt comfortable in Yankee Stadium. I felt relaxed, I felt I could just go out there and play coming in as visitor.”
— On Yankee Stadium: “One thing on my mind was that porch to right. You can’t change your swing, you can’t try to swing for it, otherwise it will affect other parts of the game. You just continue to keep your approach. Maybe balls that wouldn’t have went out might find the seats. You just can’t change your swing to the field. I’m a line-drive hitter, a gap hitter. I know I’ll enjoy that porch out to right.”
— On stealing bases: “I try to keep my percentage as high as possible and just give a team a chance to drive me in. Over the years, getting familiar with the league, the pitchers, all that stuff — I keep (it) in the memory bank and it’s definitely helped me down the road.”
— On his style: “I play the game hard, I like the think I play the game the right way — going out there and giving everything I have.”
— On new teammates: “It’s been great, the players have welcomed me with open arms. I’m excited to get down to spring training and get rolling, get to know a lot of the guys. It’s definitely a great group of guys, that’s for sure.”
— On Jeter: “I talked to him, not about the number (Jeter’s No. 2) though. That didn’t come up. I was gonna joke with him about it. It wasn’t in the conversation.”
— On first game at Boston: “I’m prepared for whatever (the fans) have in store. I have great memories from playing at Fenway. My time there — the fans treated me great. I have a lot of positive memories, like I said, the World Championships and everything else. I’ll definitely be prepared. We’ll see what happens.”
Ellsbury took out a full-page ad in Friday’s Boston Globe, thanking his former fan base and Red Sox teammates:
“I have nothing but great things to say about my old team,” he said at the press conference.
Ellsbury, a two-time World Series champ, has a career average of .297 with 65 home runs, 314 RBIs, 476 runs and 241 stolen bases.
“From the get-go, the Yankees showed a great interest in me and let me know that they really wanted me,” Ellsbury said. “From that point on, everything moved very fast.”
The Yankees have been busy this offseason with Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and others finding new homes. Brian McCann was brought in to bring pop to the catcher position and the team has added Carlos Beltran to an already-loaded outfield.
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