Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Yankees manager Joe Girardi plans to write Jacoby Ellsbury’s name in the starting lineup when the Yankees wrap up spring training against the Marlins at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa on Saturday afternoon. Ellsbury has been dealing with a tight right calf since the middle of March, but if everything goes well on Saturday, he should be ready for Opening Day.
The Yankees signed the 30-year-old Ellsbury to a seven-year, $153 million contract in December. He has had injury problems in the past, playing in more than 75 games in just two of his previous four seasons. When he is healthy, however, he can be quite productive. The outfielder has led the league in stolen bases three times and joined the 30-homer club in 2011, when he was a runner-up in the AL MVP race to Justin Verlander.
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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.
Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”
Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.
Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.