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Yankees' Jacoby Ellsbury says he feels better following concussion, hopes to return soon

New York Yankees centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is checked

New York Yankees centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is checked on by trainer Steve Donohue and manager Joe Girardi after he crashed into the wall making a catch against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Jacoby Ellsbury’s silent pause was long and loud. Though manager Joe Girardi had just said that there were times where his headaches have disappeared, the Yankees’ concussed outfielder wasn’t as ready to give that response when asked.

Were there times where you thought the concussion was gone, he was asked. That’s what sparked the pause.

“Some days are a little better than others. That’s the best way” to put it, he said. Asked about his concern about the headaches, which caused him to be shut down on Friday, Ellsbury said much of the same.

“It was never completely,” he began, before changing course: “Some days were a little bit better than others, but yeah, headed in the right direction.”

On May 24, Ellsbury, 33, went up against the Yankee Stadium left field wall and lost. And though he appeared to be making progress in recent days, he suffered a setback last weekend and was sent to see a neurologist on Monday. Now Ellsbury, who had been slated to start taking batting practice, is back on the exercise bike and his absence continues to be indefinite. He says he feels better and hopes to be back soon.

“The best way to put it is day-to-day,” Girardi said. “Until we get completely rid of the headaches — and the headaches have been gone at times, but it seems like when he starts some activity they come back. So I think he has started riding the bike lightly again. We’ll see how he does with that. But it’s just really hard to predict.”

The Yankees have plenty of options in the outfield and Aaron Hicks — hitting .328 with 18 home runs — has hardly been a downgrade in center. That said, Ellsbury is itching for a return. Before the game, he sat at his locker re-lacing a set cleats. He’s looking to ramp up his activity, he said, and his heart rate, with the hopes that exertion doesn’t trigger the headaches.

“I can only control what I can control and let the doctor know how I feel each day and just continue to push the progress under his guidelines,” he said. “We’ll do everything we can to be on the field as soon as possible. But like I said, I feel we have made progress from the beginning.”

Sanchez bats sixth

The slumping Gary Sanchez was moved down to the six hole from the two spot after going 0-for-5 Tuesday with two strikeouts. “That’s why I keep working every day — so we can have better results, better, more consistent results,” he said before the game, via interpreter. “I need to be more calm and more selective . . . I’m swinging at pitches I shouldn’t be swinging at.”

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