The injury bug struck Yankees camp again, as Jacoby Ellsbury went down with an oblique strain. The center fielder was a late scratch before yesterday’s game against the Braves; he complained of “tightness in his right side” following batting practice. Top prospect Estevan Florial replaced him in the lineup.
According to Meredith Marakovits, Ellsbury thought he could still play in the game. He told Aaron Boone as much, but the Yankees manager had other plans. Describing it as a “mild oblique strain”, Boone prescribed rest, nothing there’s no benefit to rushing these injuries.
Ellsbury, 34, already faced an uphill battle to reclaim his spot as the starting center fielder. He hit .264/.348/.402 with seven home runs in 112 games last season. A concussion kept him out of action for nearly a month. He returned in mid-summer and caught fire down the stretch, but rode the bench for most of the team’s playoff in deference to Aaron Hicks.
“Whatever my role is, all I can do is go out there, be prepared and be ready to play,” Ellsbury told Erik Boland of Newsday. “Ultimately, it’s about winning. But yeah, I’m a competitor, I love playing.”
This makes two outfielders on the shelf for the Yankees. Clint Frazier suffered a concussion last weekend and is still feeling the effects of the injury. “Yesterday when we upped his workload, it didn’t go as well as we had hoped,” Boone explained. “With the concussion thing, we’re just going to be very careful, very cautious with it.”
Thankfully it sounds like Ellsbury won’t miss too much time, but obliques have a nasty habit of lingering. The Yankees began the spring with an enviable amount of outfield depth. Just a week into Grapefruit League play and it’s being tested. Things are okay right now, but another blow could start some problems.