Jacoby Ellsbury again is making progress in his recovery from a concussion, but not to the point that he’s game-ready.
Joe Girardi said the centerfielder, who has been on the disabled list with a concussion and neck sprain since May 25, will not travel with the Yankees on Sunday night when they head to the West Coast for the start of a seven-game trip that begins Monday night in Anaheim. Instead, Ellsbury will go to Double-A Trenton, where he will work out with the club but not play in games.
That is not to say Ellsbury isn’t feeling better. The headaches that had started to go away returned June 2 in Toronto, and he has been restricted to light exercise since then. That activity has been moderately increased in recent days because the headaches have not been as frequent.
“He has been riding the bike, he has run on the treadmill, he is not sprinting yet,” Girardi said. “But he’s played catch, so we’re starting to see progress.”
Though Ellsbury certainly helps the Yankees’ outfield depth, all signs are that he will not be put back into the starting lineup immediately after he returns. That’s because Aaron Hicks entered Saturday night’s game with a .318/.426/.584 slash line, 10 homers and 34 RBIs.
After watching Hicks hit two home runs Friday night, Girardi said his playing time won’t decrease significantly when Ellsbury returns. “He’s going to play a lot, that’s the bottom line,’’ Girardi said of Hicks. “He’s going to continue to get a ton of at-bats.”
Bird not ready
Greg Bird (right ankle bone bruise) entered Saturday night hitting .280/.438/.360 in eight rehab games but still could be a little ways from returning.
“I don’t have a timetable on when he’s coming back,” Girardi said. “Looking at the numbers, he’s doing OK. Our people have determined he’s not ready to come back yet. Could it be sometime soon? I guess it could be, but I don’t have a date yet. He’s been off for a while and needs some at-bats.”
Chapman by next weekend?
Aroldis Chapman threw 18 pitches in a simulated game Saturday in Tampa with his fastball sitting at 97-98 mph, according to Girardi. He said Chapman will pitch for high Class A Tampa on Tuesday and Double-A Trenton on Friday and perhaps be back Saturday with the Yankees.