Jacoby Ellsbury ranked as the second-least discouraged center fielder at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Yes, the Yankees’ $153 million apparition still roams among the living, we confirmed on Sunday, as he reported to spring training about a month later than his teammates. Plantar fasciitis, an unanticipated side effect he incurred while rehabilitating from last year’s surgery, had kept him flying solo in Arizona, just as he operated lone-wolf style for the entirety of 2018 while coping with enough ailments to fill a season’s worth of “House” episodes.
The 35-year-old walked gingerly through the Yankees’ clubhouse, although he moved more conventionally when departing the premises, at which point he told three reporters to have a great day; he intends to formally address the media on Monday.
In Clearwater, where the Yankees played one of two split-squad road games, Aaron Boone said Ellsbury, who underwent his annual physical examination Sunday, has been limited to swinging a bat off a tee and throwing short distances. To try to speculate when he could help the Yankees would be even sillier than committing a seven-year deal to Ellsbury in the first place, and that goes down as the Yankees’ silliest decision since opting for Kei Igawa over Ted Lilly.
Ellsbury’s locker here, described recently by The Post’s Mike Vaccaro as barren and lifeless, announced its occupant’s return with Ellsbury’s Louis Vuitton bag, Mariucci bat and Rawlings glove, although Ellsbury proved too busy to sit and kibitz with his teammates, some of whom could use a pick-me-up of any kind.
Aaron Hicks, Ellsbury’s successor in center field, received a second cortisone shot in his ailing lower back, and he’s resigned to starting this season — this next chapter of his career, really, in light of the $70 million over seven years the Yankees just gave him — on the injured list. He can’t return to action before the Yankees’ April 4 game in Baltimore against the terrible Orioles.
Young Estevan Florial, the Yankees’ top-ranked prospect by most outlets, wore a brace on his right wrist after suffering a non-displaced fracture in Saturday’s game. He’ll get a more concrete prognosis in the next couple of days — he doesn’t expect to require surgery — but this becomes the second straight season in which the 21-year-old suffered a significant injury; he broke his right hamate bone last year.