ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - As bad as it's been recently for Jacoby Ellsbury, Joe Girardi said he hasn't been tempted to sit down the centerfielder or move him down in the lineup.
"You know that eventually it's going to turn around," Girardi said before Monday night's game, in which Ellsbury extended his slump to 0-for-21 by going 0-for-4. "And if every time a guy was going through a tough spot you started moving him out or moving him down, you'd be juggling the lineup every day."
But Ellsbury's "tough spot" has been a lengthy one. He has five hits in his last 52 at-bats and one in his last 29. He was batting .327 on July 11 but entered Monday night with a .203/.245/.318 slash line in 52 games since then.
Girardi said that Ellsbury, who spent May 20-July 8 on the DL with a sprained right knee and has battled a hip issue, is healthy.
"He feels pretty good," he said. "He's just been a little bit off. He's doing everything he can to get back on track. He's extremely important to our lineup. A lot of times when guys go through tough periods, the game has a way of equaling out. It would be great if it did over the next 20 games."
Girardi said he has not given thought to who might start a wild-card playoff game. "I still think the focus is on the division," he said. "You don't want to be in that one-game wild card. There's still 20 games to go, we still have three with Toronto. It's way too early to think about anything but winning the division."
Warren still likely
Before the game, Girardi said he still intended to start Adam Warren on Tuesday night, but "if I feel we need him to win [Monday night], I might use him." It wasn't necessary, so Warren, who hasn't started a game since June 25, will be on a pitch count of about 65 Tuesday night. Luis Severino is slated to start Wednesday night. Girardi said a Subway Series rotation hasn't been finalized.