Jacoby Ellsbury prepares for his sophomore season with the New York Yankees.
TAMPA, Fla. -- In a season that saw a host of New York Yankees struggle, Jacoby Ellsbury shined like the cliched diamond in the rough. Ellsbury is confident that this year's version of the Bronx Bombers will improve on the disappointment of a season ago.
"They worked hard, seeing them in the clubhouse, and obviously you can tell they put on some strength from their size," Ellsbury said of his teammates. "I think guys have a chip on their shoulder and want to go out there and perform at the highest level."
Ellsbury worked hard during the offseason to improve his abilities even more in 2015. "The body feels real good," Ellsbury said. "I'm just excited to see all the hard work I've put in during the offseason during Spring Training and the season this year."
Jacoby led the team in hits with 156), doubles with 27 and stolen bases with 39. Ellsbury's batting average was also impressive for his first season in pinstripes at .271 with 16 homers and 70 RBIs in 149 games. His transition to playing with New York seemed flawless.
"I was talking to Mac [Brian McCann] about it; it's just nice to see familiar faces and teammates," Ellsbury said. "Just all those little things that you go through with a new team. It's a simple, easy transition. I thought it was easy last year, but it's just really nice this year to come in and know the clubhouse guys, little stuff like that."
Ellsbury is ready to help the team in any capacity in 2015. "I'll hit anywhere," Ellsbury said. "I thought I felt comfortable with runners in scoring position, and I think that's one of the biggest things about hitting third -- being able to drive those runners in, and I felt pretty comfortable in that position."
And Ellsbury had only positive things to say about Alex Rodriguez and when he used to play against the third baseman as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
"When I'd get to third, he'd always say, 'Hello, how ya doing?' So I always appreciated that," Ellsbury said. "[Derek] Jeter was the same way when you got to short. He did the same thing. Especially as a young player, you remember that kind of thing."