MIAMI - Joe Girardi wouldn't use the word "setback" when giving the news Jacoby Ellsbury isn't quite ready to begin rehab games.

"Just going a little slower than we thought it might," Girardi said before Tuesday night's game.

Regardless, the news is a bit of a blow to the Yankees, who had been optimistic Ellsbury, on the DL since May 20 with a sprained right knee, could make a return by month's end.

"It's probably going to be pretty difficult," Girardi said.

And by the All-Star break?

"I sure hope so," Girardi said.

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Ellsbury resumed baseball activities about a week ago and took BP with his teammates a second straight day. But the problem is with the knee.

"He's not running 100 percent and obviously that's important, especially for him," Girardi said. "It's just not where we want it to be. Physically, he's not where we want him to be. So we're not going to risk it."

Ellsbury ran on the field -- at what Girardi estimated to be "60 percent" -- before Friday's game in Baltimore, and the Yankees' hope was the outfielder could be left in Tampa after this series to begin rehab games.

"Hopefully, he'll be there next week," Girardi said, not sounding all that certain that would be the case. "We always get a little excited and hope that things move faster than maybe they're going to. But it just didn't."

Didi up

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Didi Gregorius, after a forgettable opening six weeks of his first season with the Yankees, has quietly righted things. The shortstop entered Tuesday night, a night in which he hit second for the first time this season, hitting .284 in 23 games since May 20 after hitting .204 in his first 34 games.

"I was probably too hyped," Gregorius said of his early-season issues. "I've settled down a little bit more, so I'm getting more comfortable and [having] better at-bats. It's getting better."