As the New York Yankees are set to receive their starting center fielder back from the disabled list in Jacoby Ellsbury on Wednesday, there will be lasting effects revolving around the 31-year-old.
Ellsbury has been on the disabled list since May 20 due to a sprained right knee. With the return of the speedy outfielder, it would be expected to see a roster move, thus providing an individual to be sent down to the minors; rookie Ramon Flores will likely fall victim to this probable cause.
Since Ellsbury’s abscence, Brett Gardner has manned the center field position defensively with ease. In addition, Gardner has been nothing short of spectacular in the batter’s box. By hitting .297 with 60 runs scores and 39 RBI, Gardner has established himself as a potential All-Star; Gardner is placed on the final fan vote for the 2015 All-Star game.
With Ellsbury returning it would assumed that Gardner would shift over to left field, his primary position earlier in the year. With the speed of both individuals, the Yankees should feel confidant in their defensive outfield play.
Prior to Ellsbury’s injury, he manned the Yankees’ lead-off spot in the batting order. Gardner typically followed in the second position, but as Ellsbury departed, Gardner slotted in the lead-off spot. Third baseman Chase Headley substituted for Gardner’s prior spot and performed well. By batting second, Headley hit .289 with three homers and nine RBI.
Shifting Gardner back to the No. 2 spot is no harm, as the Yankees know that both Ellsbury and Gardner were intangibles on the base paths earlier in the year. Shifting Headley back in the lineup could prove to be ineffective; presumably, Headley will be slotted in the No. 5 or No. 6 spot.
Yes, Ellsbury is coming back from an injury, and has had a significant injury history during his tenure with the Boston Red Sox. Yet, the Yankees should be able to have stability at the outfield position, or more than they had prior. Following Ellsbury’s injury, the Yankees witnessed rookies Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams suffer injuries; in addition, Carlos Beltran had recently been placed on the disabled list.
Adding a veteran outfielder, and producer, will be crucial to the Yankees run to a playoff spot in the American League.
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