This week, the New York Yankees saw their best offensive weapon Jacoby Ellsbury land on the DL due to a sprained right knee injury.
The former Red Sox star was off to an excellent start, batting .324 from the lead off spot. He was cooling down from a blazing late April to mid May hot streak, but he still was the Yanks most productive offensive weapon, and replacing him will be no easy task.
He is only on the 15 day DL, but even Ellsbury himself is unsure of when he will return.
“It is disappointing, without a doubt, but hopefully it’s something quick. … Get back to playing, help the team win. There’ll still be hopefully a lot of time before the season’s over, obviously. But until they give me a timeline, I really don’t know.”
For now, Ellsburry is just on the 15 day disabled list, but that does not mean he will come back once he is eligible.
Until then though, the Yankees will have to really hope someone else can step up. Ellsbury was having an All Star start to the season in all facets of the game.
Him and Brett Gardner combined to score a third of the Yankees runs this season. He’s only gone two consecutive games without a hit once this whole season, is tied for first in the AL with 14 stolen bases, is tied for third with 28 runs, has the fourth height at OBP, and is top ten in hits and average as well.
So far, Carlos Beltran has been given the duty to replace Ellsbury. He has been hitting much better as of late, riding a 12 game hitting steak with two home runs over the same time frame. He still is only hitting .237 though, and does not have the speed that Ellsbury has. He also is a much worse fielder. His 7th inning blunder against the Nationals that saw him fail at tracking down a foul fly ball, eventually leading to a Nats walk and game winning run.
Chris Young also will be given a bigger role, but he has been struggling mightily lately. He’s hitting just 6-35 (.171) with one homer and two RBI’s in the month of May. This comes after in April in which he hit .350 with four home runs and eleven RBI’s. He is a solid fielder though, something the injury riddled Beltran is not.
Two other options are Garrett Jones and rookie Slade Heathcott.
Jones has been up just 40 times this season, with a very disappointing 6 hits. He is predominantly a first baseman, but also can play the corner OF spots if necessary. He has been a decent bat in the past, hitting 15 home runs and 53 RBI’s a season ago, and he also hit 27 home runs in 2012.
Heathcott was the rookie the Yanks called up to replace Ellsbury’s roster spot. He’s a career .270 hitter in the minors, where he has played since 2009. He’s a very fast player, similar to what Bret Gardner was when he first joined the Yankees. He probably won’t make much of an impact at the plate, but he could tear up the base paths and be a formidable fielder.
If one of these guys doesn’t step up, the Yankees will be hurting bad without Ellsburry. They already will sorely miss him, but without a decent replacement, their current slide could very well continue.