When Jacoby Ellsbury went on the disabled list May 20 with a sprained knee, he led the Yankees in batting average (.324) and on-base percentage (.412).
Since his return, it had been mostly downhill. But in the seventh inning Thursday night, he sent Eduardo Rodriguez's 2-and-1 delivery into the second deck in right to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. It was his fifth homer of the year and second hit of the night, an offensive eruption considering what preceded it.
Entering Thursday night, Ellsbury had posted a .202/.243/.351 slash line in 23 games since getting back in the lineup July 8, including a 7-for-47 skid that went to 7-for-49 before his fifth-inning single.
"He's physically fine," Joe Girardi said before the game, adding that he thought Ellsbury swung well last weekend.
Ellsbury rammed his left shoulder into the wall July 26 while making a catch and wrenched his left ankle against the centerfield wall last week, again while making a catch. But after Thursday night's game, Ellsbury said none of that has been a factor and that his swing has been coming along.
"It's nice to put some good swings on balls and get results, that's for sure," he said. "Tonight it was a big hit."
Indians next for Severino
Girardi said the next start for 21-year-old Luis Severino, who allowed one earned run and two hits in five innings in his big-league debut Wednesday night against the Red Sox, will be Tuesday night at Progressive Field, the beginning of a three-game series against Cleveland.
That night is the start of a stretch of 16 games in a row and Girardi said "there's a chance" the Yankees will insert a sixth starter into the mix at some point to give some extra rest to the rotation.
Brian McCann didn't start for the second straight game because of inflammation in his left knee, but Girardi said the catcher, whom he used as a pinch hitter Wednesday night, could be back as soon as Friday night.
"If I needed to, I could have caught Mac last night and he feels better today," Girardi said Thursday. "We don't anticipate it will be too long as of right now."