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Jacoby Ellsbury still ‘hopeful’ of returning to Yankees this season

The crowd at George M. Steinbrenner Field is

The crowd at George M. Steinbrenner Field is reflected in the batting helmet of Jacoby Ellsbury during Yankees spring training in Tampa on Feb. 20, 2018. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

TAMPA, Fla. — A month ago, Jacoby Ellsbury said he had no doubt that he would be back with the Yankees at some point this season.

“Yeah, oh yeah,” he said June 22 after a workout at the Yankees’ minor-league complex. “That’s the plan.”

Speaking Monday morning, the outfielder repeated that, but he also understands the season clock is ticking.

“That’s still the plan,” Ellsbury said before heading into the complex for treatment.

Ellsbury started the season on the disabled list with a right oblique strain and went on to experience a hip issue, a bout of plantar fasciitis and a problem with the sacroiliac joint in his back that required him to see a specialist.

The latter is the injury that’s been the slowest to heal and is the reason he still is on the DL. He does not appear any closer to resuming baseball activities than he was last month.

“You try to say that you’re hopeful,” Ellsbury said. “You come in, get your work in and do everything you can to play this season. I want to play. It’s tough watching the guys play on TV. I’m watching every night. You want to be a part of the mix. It’s a fun group. Team’s playing well and you want to be a part of that.”

To this point, Ellsbury, who signed a seven-year, $153-million contract before the 2014 season, has been limited to doing work in the weight room.

“We’re making some gains,” he said. “Still have a ways to go before we do some baseball stuff, but I’m progressing.”

How has that progress shown itself?

“Just in the amount of stuff we’ve been doing,” he said. “We’re just kind of limited to the training room and in the weight room.”

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