TAMPA, Fla. - Six at-bats during a minor-league intrasquad game didn't give Jacoby Ellsbury's tender right calf much of a test, but the centerfielder said he's set to go.
Joe Girardi, however, is still being cautious.
"I feel like I could hop right in there and play right now and be ready to go," said Ellsbury, who batted each inning as the DH yesterday at the club's minor-league complex, going 1-for-4 with two walks and a strikeout. "But I'll take advantage of these next four games and do everything I can to be ready for Opening Day."
I feel that I will be ready and don't anticipate anything other than that."
Ellsbury said had rain not saturated the field he would have played center, though Girardi later said all along the plan was for him to DH, an indication the Yankees aren't going to rush things.
Of Ellsbury being in the lineup Tuesday in Houston, Girardi said, "I feel pretty good about it, but I can't say I'm absolutely sure until we run him out in the outfield and see how he does."
Ellsbury, who has not appeared in a spring game since March 14, will play in another minor-league game today and Girardi said the outfielder could finish the spring in minor-league camp before a decision on the DL is made.
"The best thing about it," Ellsbury said, "is we have time right now."
Ryan likely to start on DL
Shortstop Brendan Ryan (back spasms) will not be ready for the opener. "He is feeling better but I'd be really surprised if he started on the 25-man roster and not on the DL," Girardi said.
The fifth starter candidates who lost out to Michael Pineda each pitched an inning last night in the Yankees' 6-0 loss to the Phillies in Clearwater. Adam Warren walked two in a scoreless first, David Phelps allowed an unearned run in the second and Vidal Nuño allowed two runs in the third.