New York Yankees News: Jacoby Ellsbury Began His Rehab Assignment


The New York Yankees have been without centerfielder, and leadoff hitter, Jacoby Ellsbury since May 19th.  While his fills-in have produced mixed results, the Yankees are still right in the mix of things in a crowded AL East, and could certainly use Ellsbury’s production, as he was arguably the best hitter on the team before being sidelined with a sprained right knee.

Ellsbury, who had been traveling with the team completing workouts, headed to Tampa to begin a rehab assignment Monday.  Ellsbury went 0-3 with a strikeout and was the DH for Tampa. He’s expected to play the outfield for the first time today.  After going a month without playing any type of baseball game, Ellsbury voiced his excitement to finally be on his way back to helping the club:

"I’m excited to get back playing in games sometime this week, and I can’t wait to get back with the big league club."

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As usual, Yankees manager Joe Girardi chose to not offer much more insight than what we already know, stating the team will take things one day at a time:

"We’ll just go a day at a time.  The big thing is he needs to get some at-bats, know that his leg is OK and he can do everything he needs to do.  We felt definitely better about it today.  The key is how he feels tomorrow when he wakes up, see if he’s a player."

Ellsbury, who was hitting .324 with 14 stolen bases in 37 games, has hit and run the bases in recent weeks, leading Girardi to believe that it will not take many Minor League at-bats for Ellsbury to return to the Yankees.

The Yankees have used many players to attempt to fill the void left by Ellsbury in center field, with Brett Gardner replacing him atop the lineup.  Gardner is hoping that Ellsbury will return sooner than later, but also adding that it is necessary for Ellsbury to get back to full strength first:

"It’d be great.  I just hope his knee is fully healed and I hope he feels great this week and doesn’t have any problems.  Especially for the kind of player that he is, any kind of lower body thing is tricky.  We need to get him back to 100 percent.  He’s a big part of our team, a big part of our lineup.  We’ve played pretty well without him, but we could be playing a whole lot better if he was here.  Hopefully we get him back at the end of the week."

With the Yankees in the heat of a tough divisional race, getting Ellsbury back in the lineup Friday for the series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays would definitely be a huge boost.  While others have performed well hitting atop the lineup, getting the 1-2 punch of Ellsbury and Gardner back will lead to much more RBI opportunities for Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, improving the Yankees offense significantly.

With Ivan Nova having returned, and Andrew Miller nearing his return, news that Ellsbury could be back by the end of the week means that the Yankees could soon finally be at full strength.

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