Jacoby Ellsbury has revealed that he was considering a switch to the New York Yankees just after he won the World Series with the Red Sox.
"I always thought it was a decent possibility," Ellsbury told reporters when asked about his initial thoughts on a move to the Bronx.
"I think of the Yankees as a top-flight organization, world class. I think of the championships, the history, the great players who play here. And when I signed over here, those were reasons why I did it."
Ellsbury played his old team, the Red Sox, for the first time on Thursday night, going 1-for-4 with a run scored to help the Yankees win 4-1.
The Yankees tempted Ellsbury down to the Bronx with a seven-year $153 million contract, which far exceeded anything the Red Sox were willing to offer the centre fielder.
Ellsbury revealed Derek Jeter called him straight after the deal was announced.
"Derek called me and said, 'You are going to enjoy it here, it is a first-class organization,'" Ellsbury said. "'It is a special place to play.' From then on, I had the highest expectations and they've met them and exceeded them."
Ellsbury has had a strong start to life with the Yankees, hitting .351 and coping with the transition to the No. 3 hole in the lineup well after Mark Teixeira was put on the disabled list.
"I'm excited to play," Ellsbury, 30, said prior to facing Boston. "I spent nine years in the organization, seven years in the big leagues, roughly a third of my life. I left it all on the field for the Red Sox."
Ellsbury will return to Fenway Park on April 23. He says the controversy his move has caused highlights the reasons why he loves the rivalry.
"That's the reason I love this rivalry, the passion that the fans have," Ellsbury said of what he expects upon his return. "I haven't thought about it too much because whatever reception I receive will be out of my hands."