Jacoby Ellsbury is contagious.
The player who never plays joined Yankees camp in the past week, and instantly the number of those who will not be ready for Opening Day increased. The List changed names from Disabled to Injured, but Ellsbury remained the same non-participant.
But the Yankees weren’t counting on him. Or on Didi Gregorius for half a season.
They were depending on CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, Dellin Betances and Aaron Hicks, none of whom will be on the 25-man roster to begin the season. Even top prospect, Estevan Florial, fractured his wrist, though positively, the Yanks were told by doctors the outfielder would be in a cast for three weeks rather than the initial prognosis of six.
“Some of the players we are talking about that are down are important, impact players for us,” manager Aaron Boone said. “But we feel good from a long-term standing about their well-being and that they are going to be major contributors for us for a lot of the year. I feel good about that, and it creates opportunities for other people, and people we believe in that can impact us.”
The depth includes Greg Bird and Tyler Wade. The oft-injured Bird was hit on his right elbow by Houston’s Wade Miley in the first inning Wednesday. He stayed in the game and joked afterward, “It didn’t hit the [elbow]pad. It never hits the pad.” Bird said he was fine and plans to play first Thursday. Wade was removed with hip tightness. He said it was precautionary and that he expects to play in the next few days, but was scheduled to see doctors in Tampa.