Saturday, March 21, 2015

What if Ellsbury Isn’t Ready for April 6

Jacoby Ellsbury was diagnosed by manager Joe Girardi as having a “mild, mild, mild” abdominal strain and would miss the last two games of the spring while the Yankees team doctor diagnosed the Yankees center fielder with an oblique injury. The initial diagnosis is for Ellsbury to only miss a week as a precautionary measure and he should be ready for Opening Day on April 6th against the Toronto Blue Jays. With just 17 days left until Opening Day including today the Yankees have to start asking the question, what if Ellsbury isn’t ready?

Luckily for the Yankees they have at least two players already on the 40 man roster that are presumably making the roster on Opening Day that can play center field in Brett Gardner and Chris Young. Also luckily for the Yankees they have established a ton of outfield depth over the last few seasons with Jose Pirela, Garrett Jones and Chase Headley while other prospects like Ramon Flores, Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin also have experience in the outfield. While it seems unlikely that Flores or Judge would make it onto the roster and while it seems even more unlikely that New York will play Jones anywhere but right field or Headley anywhere in the outfield it does seem like a way to get Pirela onto the roster.

The only issue the Yankees face is the fact that if Ellsbury starts the season on the disabled list there is no retroactive DL. Ellsbury would have to miss the first two weeks of the season after missing the last two or three weeks of the spring. If Ellsbury isn’t ready but he’s close the team may simply play a player down until Ellsbury is ready and keep things as they are. If he’s not it finally opens the door for Pirela to make the Opening Day roster. Either way the Yankees plan to have insurance, back up plans and depth may finally be paying off and showing dividends unfortunately at the expense of an injured All Star caliber player. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)