The Yankees plan to activate Jacoby Ellsbury from the disabled list Wednesday, restoring the 1-2 punch atop their lineup, the team announced Monday.
Ellsbury, who has been sidelined since May 19 with a sprained right knee, was a catalyst from the leadoff spot before the injury. He was batting .324 with a .412 on-base percentage, 14 stolen bases and 29 runs scored in 37 games.
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Because of wet conditions in Tampa, Ellsbury was limited to simulated-game activities Monday. The Yankees said he will not play in another rehab game before he comes off the DL on Wednesday against the A's.
Ellsbury and Brett Gardner combined to form one of the top leadoff duos in the majors through the first six weeks of the season. With Ellsbury out, Gardner moved up from the No. 2 spot and thrived as his replacement with a slash line of .301/.378/.518. Gardner had 14 doubles, two triples, six homers, 23 RBIs and 35 runs in 41 games.
The Yankees are 22-20 since the loss of Ellsbury, who is in his second season of a seven-year, $153-million contract.
Miller close to return
The Yankees could get their closer back as early as this week.
Andrew Miller, who has been on the disabled list since June 10 with what the team described as a strain of the flexor mass (a muscle in his left forearm), made his first rehab appearance Monday night for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He pitched a scoreless fifth, allowing two singles with no walks and a strikeout. He got an inning-ending double play and threw nine pitches, eight for strikes.
Miller, who signed a four-year, $36-million deal last winter, began the season 17-for-17 in save attempts with a 1.03 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 261/3 innings. Only Mariano Rivera was better in save streaks to start a season for the Yankees, with 28 and 18.
Without Miller, the Yankees have turned to setup man Dellin Betances, who is 5-for-6 in save chances during that stretch.