Red Sox

Yankees release former Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury

Yankees release former Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury

The New York Yankees finally made the decision to move on from former Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. The 36-year-old hadn't played for the team since 2017 while dealing with a plethora of injuries including oblique, back, hip, and foot maladies.

Ellsbury originally signed a seven-year, $153 million deal with the Yankees before the 2014 season. Over the course of six years, he played in 520 games for the team and hit .264 with 39 homers before being released on Wednesday.

Red Sox fans will remember Ellsbury for the excellent years he put together in Boston including his second-place finish in the 2011 MVP race and his starting role on the improbable 2013 World Series Champion teams.

Ellsbury also had one of the greatest straight steals of home plate in 2009 against the Yankees. During that season, Ellsbury led the MLB with an absurd 70 steals.

The Yankees' decision to part with Ellsbury came as a part of changes to their 40-man roster. MLB teams had until Wednesday night to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft by placing them on the 40-man roster.

The Yankees certainly aren't happy with the return on investment they got with the Ellsbury deal, and the Red Sox actually may have benefitted more from his departure.

As Barstool Sports' Jared Carrabis pointed out on Twitter, they received a compensatory first-round pick for losing Ellsbury that they used on Michael Kopech. Kopech became one of the centerpieces of the Chris Sale trade, a move that helped the Red Sox win the 2018 World Series.

So too did the postseason performance of Jackie Bradley Jr., the 2018 ALCS MVP who was the replacement for Ellsbury in centerfield in 2014.

Given that Ellsbury hasn't played an MLB game in two years, it's hard to imagine him ending up somewhere else. Nonetheless, we'll keep an eye on the former Red Sox outfield as the MLB hot stove starts to warm up a bit.

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Jason Varitek's strikeout call as umpire in Red Sox scrimmage is fantastic

Jason Varitek's strikeout call as umpire in Red Sox scrimmage is fantastic

Jason Varitek may have found a new calling in calling batters out.

The former Red Sox catcher, whose official title with Boston is "Special Assistant/Catching Coach," moonlighted as the home-plate umpire in the team's intrasquad scrimmage Thursday at Fenway Park.

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But Varitek didn't just half-heartedly call balls and strikeouts. Nope, he was committed to the bit, dressing up in full umpire attire to stand behind the plate.

Oh, and his strikeout call was a thing of beauty:

Leslie Nielsen would be proud.

Varitek didn't go all-out for all of his strikeout calls, but he didn't hesitate to punch out Red Sox stars like J.D. Martinez.

Varitek got to know major league umpires very well during his 15-year playing career in Boston, so if anyone on the Red Sox' staff is qualified for this job, it's him.

Thursday marked the Sox' first simulated game action since they opened Training Camp at the beginning of the month. They're set to begin the shortened 2020 season July 24 with a home series against the Baltimore Orioles.

Red Sox schedule 2021: Dates, opponents for 162-game season revealed

Red Sox schedule 2021: Dates, opponents for 162-game season revealed

Major League Baseball is looking ahead to (hopefully) brighter days.

The Red Sox don't begin their coronavirus-shortened 2020 season until July 24, but that didn't stop Boston and the rest of the league from unveiling their full schedules for the 2021 MLB season Thursday.

Here's the Red Sox' full 2021 schedule, which at the moment includes 162 games.

Boston will open the 2021 season against the Baltimore Orioles on April 1, 2021, at Fenway Park and play its first nine games against American League East opponents.

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The Red Sox' 2021 schedule also includes interleague matchups with the National League East, who they'll see plenty of this summer during their 60-game campaign.

The Sox don't face the New York Yankees until June 4 at Yankee Stadium but will play a total of 14 games against their archrival between June and July.

With COVID-19 still hitting the United States hard, it's much too early to tell if the 2021 season will start on time or if fans will be allowed at games. But at the very least, the league has a schedule in place should things drastically improve over the next seven months.