TAMPA, Fla. — Jacoby Ellsbury’s right oblique strain has healed, but he still isn’t healthy. That all but ensures he’ll start the season on the disabled list, Aaron Boone said.
“Still has the fever,” Boone said before the Yankees faced the Rays on Monday night.
Ellsbury, who came to the ballpark with “flu-like symptoms” Sunday, was slated to hit in a simulated game Monday, then see game action Tuesday in Lakeland against the Tigers. There had been an outside chance that the outfielder, out since suffering the oblique strain March 2, might be ready for the season opener March 29 in Toronto, but that possibility has all but been eliminated.
“I don’t think so at this point. It’s just going to be too hard to get him into enough games, get him enough at-bats,” Boone said. “We haven’t totally closed the door on that yet, but I would say it’s very unlikely.”
Boone said there is a silver lining. “The good thing is at least we feel like he’s totally healed up from his injury,” he said. “So he should be able to get going as soon as he gets rid of this bug.”
Boone said he has an idea of what the Yankees’ 25-man roster will look like when the club leaves camp Sunday night, but competitions remain. “I’d say there’s a couple things still battling out,” Boone said.
One of the biggest questions the Yankees have yet to answer is whether they’ll depart with 12 pitchers or 13. If they go with 13 — the 13th would be either Ben Heller, Jonathan Holder, Luis Cessa or Domingo German — that would mean one fewer position player. In that instance, it might make it difficult for both Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade, two super-utility players the Yankees like a great deal, to make the team out of camp.
“Those are things we’re kind of working through,” Boone said.
With a terrible weather forecast for the area Tuesday afternoon, Sonny Gray will pitch in a minor-league game in the morning rather than travel to Lakeland, where he was slated to start against the Tigers. The Yankees pushed their bus time to 11 a.m. from 9:30 a.m.
CC Sabathia threw a five-inning simulated game Monday instead of facing the Rays. Sabathia, who doesn’t like to face division opponents this late in spring training, allowed one hit and struck out five.
Sabathia will make one more exhibition start but said he feels regular season-ready. “Always good to get that one more start,’’ he said, “but I do feel really good.”