When Jacoby Ellsbury sprained his knee a few weeks ago, it came as a huge blow to the Yankees' offense. The Yankees have been relatively mum about the injury since announcing that he wouldn't need surgery, but he finally started baseball activities this week. Although, "baseball activities" sounds more like light running at sixty percent effort. Ellsbury's rehab is progressing, but Joe Girardi did disclose that he is still feeling pain in his knee and that they would like to see that go away. Brian Cashman previously stated that he thought Ellsbury would return to the team before the All-Star break, which is mid-July. The Yankees are hopeful that Ellsbury will be able to stay in Tampa to start a rehab assignment following their series against the Marlins this week. However, if he is on the flight back to New York that will indicate that he hasn't progressed as much as he needs to. The only good thing to come from his injury has been the chances given to Slade Heathcott, Ramon Flores and now Mason Williams to play at the big league level in Ellsbury's absence.
In other news, Ivan Nova made another start in Scranton last night and he looked sharp. He threw six innings and gave up just one run, a home run, while notching three strikeouts and failing to walk anyone. Nova has been on the disabled list since last April, when he tore his UCL and underwent Tommy John surgery. He's now in the final stages of the rehab process, and the Yankees will next evaluate whether he needs to make another rehab start or if they think he is ready to join the team. The rehab process following TJ surgery typically takes somewhere between 12-18 months, and Nova is just about in the middle of that range. One final roadblock could be the fact that Girardi had wanted to see Nova throw 85-90 pitches in last night's start, but Nova ended the night having thrown just 73. The Yankees have been encouraged by what they've seen, though, and Nova has reportedly been able to hit 95 mph with his fastball. For his part, Nova has said that he feels like he has a "new arm" and doesn't need any more rehab. When he eventually rejoins the team, he'll likely be taking Adam Warren's spot in the rotation.
Also down in Triple-A, catcher Austin Romine was drilled in the helmet during Friday's game. The pitch was delivered after back-to-back home runs by Kyle Roller and Rob Refsnyder, and lead to both benches clearing. Meanwhile, Romine clutched his head on the ground. Maybe they lost sight of him during the chaos, but it took a ridiculously long time for anyone to get to him for medical attention. The good news is that he appears to have walked away with nothing more than a bump on the head, as he is not suffering from any concussion symptoms and the tests came back clean.