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Ellsbury out of lineup with flu; Ichiro close to returning

NEW YORK -- The Yankees' outfield is in a perpetual state of flux.

New York knew it would have to scramble as long as Carlos Beltran is on the disabled list, but the Yankees got an unexpected change of plans for Saturday's game. Jacoby Ellsbury was originally in the starting lineup but was pulled hours before game time with flu-like symptoms.

Ellsbury has been one of the Yankees' most durable players this season, and he played in all but one of the team's first 40 games. Rookie Zoilo Almonte made his first start of the season in place of Ellsbury, and manager Joe Girardi said Ichiro Suzuki may be close to returning to the lineup.

Ichiro, listed as day to day with a back injury, could be ready to play as soon as Sunday. Girardi said Saturday that he'd like to give the veteran one more day to make sure he's feeling better.

"On Thursday, I did not have him as a defender or as a pinch-runner. It still bothered him to run," Girardi said. "Yesterday, he came in and said he felt really good. I wanted him to go through today to see where we're at, and if he feels good, I would use him today and play him tomorrow."

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for
Read More: New York Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ichiro Suzuki