TORONTO — Speaking Tuesday night in Baltimore, Jacoby Ellsbury called it “a good day.”
The headaches present since he suffered a concussion six days earlier finally had started to go away, and he indicated that a return to the lineup was coming soon.
The good days, however, have just about been nonexistent since then.
In what can only be described as a setback, the centerfielder started experiencing headaches again on Friday and is scheduled to see a neurologist after the Yankees complete this seven-game trip Sunday afternoon and return to New York.
“He’s still getting headaches. They kind of came back,” Joe Girardi said late Saturday morning.
Girardi said Ellsbury “felt good” when he arrived at Rogers Centre on Friday afternoon, and the intent was for him to take batting practice. But the headaches returned.
Ellsbury, who suffered the concussion May 24 when he crashed into the centerfield wall at Yankee Stadium while making a catch, had not been doing much in the way of baseball activities — mostly some light hitting and various exercises such as running in the outfield.
“As I told him yesterday, ‘we just have to get you healthy,’ ” Girardi said. “These things, you can’t predict. It’s not a broken bone where you say it will heal in six weeks, or it’s a Grade 1 strain where you say a guy’s coming back in two weeks. We don’t know. Sometimes you’ll feel good and then the increased activity will hurt you. So far that’s what has been his problem, the increased activity.”
Girardi said Ellsbury, who is on the trip but has not spoken to the media since Tuesday, is “frustrated” by his slow progress.
“It’s tough when you have a concussion. You just have to be careful and do the right thing,” said Girardi, who was shown on the YES broadcast talking with Ellsbury in the dugout with his arm around his shoulders. “It’s probably the trickiest injury for us to deal with. I know he’s frustrated. He wants to come back.”
Making it easier to deal with Ellsbury’s absence has been the continued excellence of Aaron Hicks. Ellsbury was hitting a respectable .281/.349/.422 in 38 games when he went to the seven-day concussion DL, but Hicks has been otherworldly. Hicks, who had an RBI double on Saturday, entered the game having hit safely in six straight games and was 14-for-34 with a .463 on-base percentage in his previous 10. He ranked second in the American League in OBP (.438).
Still, Girardi said, the four-man outfield rotation among Ellsbury, Hicks, Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge benefited all involved.
“It’s definitely helped,” Girardi said of Hicks’ performance. “But that four-man rotation kept guys pretty fresh, too, so we definitely miss Jake.”
Girardi said he doesn’t see a need to call up another outfielder from the minors because he wouldn’t hesitate to put utilityman Rob Refsnyder in the outfield mix.
“I feel I can put him in left and right and feel pretty comfortable,” Girardi said. “He’s played a lot of outfield in his career.”