Sox don't expect Ellsbury's contract to be distraction

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Two young girls, probably in the 12- to 13-year-old range, gave Jacoby Ellsbury the Justin Bieber treatment at Saturday morning's workout, screaming his name as he passed by and breaking out in tears of joy when he waved to them.

It was one of those happy Spring Training sights made possible by the ease of access on the back fields at the Red Sox's complex. Of course, the obvious storyline with Ellsbury in 2013, as he nears free agency at season's end, will be whether or not his days in a Red Sox uniform are numbered.

General manager Ben Cherington addressed the Ellsbury contract situation on Saturday, saying he doesn't expect it to be a distraction.

"He's a very routine-oriented, regimented player who takes care of himself," Cherington said of Ellsbury. "He's obviously talented, knows what he needs to do to get ready for the season. He's missed time in two of the last three seasons because of traumatic injuries. We can't fault him for that. I think he's excited to feel good, motivated to play this year. I don't see it being a distraction at all."

One thing is for certain: There are at least two young Red Sox fans who are really rooting for him to stick around.