NEW YORK -- It is frequently said that hitting a baseball could be the most difficult individual accomplishment in professional sports. For years, Brandon Drury has been attempting to do so with blurry vision.
Currently on the 10-day disabled list with severe migraines, Drury continues to wait for a definitive diagnosis after submitting to a battery of neurological tests one week ago, but the Yankees' infielder senses that he is making progress.
"I've played through it, but I've got to the point now where I don't feel like that's the player I am," Drury said. "It's early in the year and I want to get this figured out early so I can help this team win a lot of ballgames this year."
Drury said that a migraine specialist has placed him on anti-inflammatories. He worked out on the diamond at Yankee Stadium prior to Monday's 12-1 win over the Marlins, taking ground balls at third base and a round of batting practice.
"I feel like he's in a way better place than where he was when we put him on the disabled list," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "Hopefully he's starting to get some answers; hopefully the medication he's taking now will be part of those answers. Hopefully he responds and we can start moving forward with it. He's an important guy for us."
Acquired from the D-backs in February, Drury had five hits in 23 at-bats (.217) before being placed on the DL. He said that his migraines intensify with physical activity, and when asked if he has stepped into the batter's box without being able to see clearly, Drury replied, "All the time."
"Honestly, I'm actually excited to figure out what's going on," Drury said. "I've been dealing with this for a while and I want nothing more than to go out there and play baseball with clear vision and a clear head, and be able to go help this team win ballgames."
Betting on Betances
Dellin Betances' confidence does not seem to have been affected by the early season stumbles that saw him permit six runs and 10 hits through his first 6 2/3 innings (8.10 ERA), according to pitching coach Larry Rothschild. He bounced back to pitch a scoreless ninth inning with one hit and two strikeouts on Monday.
"You'd rather have him throw up the zeroes, but he's commanding the ball much better," Rothschild said before the game. "The breaking ball is consistent. I think it's just going through one of those things right now. If he keeps pushing the way he is, he'll get through it. We just have to keep him there."
Betances has struck out 14 against three walks in seven outings. He was knocked around for five hits and three earned runs in two-thirds of an inning on Friday at Detroit, with the Yankees holding on for an 8-6 win over the Tigers.
"It's kind of strange because he's throwing a lot of strikes and the breaking ball is good," Rothschild said. "He gave up some hits that barely got through and things like that, but he shouldn't be giving up the early home runs that he's given up. He's gotten ambushed a couple of times."
Jace Peterson didn't spend much time on the free-agent market. The utilityman elected free agency on Sunday in lieu of accepting an outright assignment to the Minors, then was signed to a Major League contract and added to the Yankees' roster prior to Monday's game against the Marlins. He took over for Aaron Judge in right field in the seventh inning and struck out in his lone at-bat.
Peterson had been designated for assignment last Tuesday, when the Yankees added outfielder Shane Robinson to the active roster. In a corresponding move for Peterson on Monday, the Yankees optioned right-hander Luis Cessa to Triple-A.
"With Cessa, he'd be the likely guy we'd bring back [for a spot start]," Boone said. "We will start that clock with him again so he can go down and make starts. I believe he's starting tomorrow and he'll be able to make two starts and then potentially be in line to come back and make a start in the middle of that long stretch of games."
Greg Bird (right ankle surgery) is "doing really well," according to Boone, who said that the Yankees are optimistic that Bird can return "on the shorter side of things." A late May or early June activation appears to be realistic.
Jacoby Ellsbury (left hip soreness) is in Tampa, Fla., continuing treatments after receiving a cortisone injection last week. Boone said that Ellsbury is also now battling plantar fasciitis, which is keeping him from playing in games. Ellsbury's right oblique injury is believed to be healed.