Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: Jacoby Ellsbury is injured. Reported March 2 as a “mild oblique strain,” the 34-year-old outfielder has not played since March 1 at the Philadelphia Phillies because of the nagging injury.
Ellsbury was 1-for-10 in four Spring Training games before suffering the injury. He missed 29 games in 2017 because of a concussion suffered May 24 at Yankee Stadium. He was hitting .281/.349/.422 at the time of the injury, but finished the season with a .264/.348/.402 line.
With the acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton and the ascendance of Aaron Hicks in the eyes of the Yankees, Ellsbury looked to be the team’s fifth outfielder in 2018.
The Yankees have not decided whether to fill Ellsbury’s roster spot with another bench player or a 13th pitcher. Aaron Boone mentioned Luis Cessa, Domingo Germán, Ben Heller and Jonathan Holder as potential candidates if the Yankees decided to go with a 13th pitcher.
The additional bench spot could go to someone like Tyler Austin, who has had a fantastic spring but has no clear path to playing time. Austin was looking to break camp as the team’s backup first baseman, but the signing of Neil Walker cut those chances significantly.
Boone mentioned that the Yankees would not necessarily take another outfielder if Ellsbury is on the disabled list, which would also harm Billy McKinney‘s chances of heading north with the Yankees.
Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reported Monday that Boone will have the team’s 25-man roster for the opening series against the Blue Jays in Toronto set for the team’s March 26 exhibition game against the Braves in Atlanta.