NEW YORK -- The Yankees were without their leadoff hitter Tuesday night.Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was not in the lineup for the opener of a two-game set against the Rockies -- an 8-4 loss -- as he is battling a stomach virus. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Ellsbury is
NEW YORK -- The Yankees were without their leadoff hitter Tuesday night.
Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was not in the lineup for the opener of a two-game set against the Rockies -- an 8-4 loss -- as he is battling a stomach virus. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Ellsbury is still waiting to see a doctor, but the symptoms line up with the flu.
Given the nature of the illness, Girardi listed Ellsbury as day to day. He will be evaluated prior to Wednesday afternoon's game to see whether or not he's feeling well enough to play.
Ellsbury's value at the top of the lineup for the Yankees can't be overstated. From the leadoff spot, Ellsbury has a .272/.336/.397 slash line. By comparison, all other Yankees hitters have posted a line of .156/.273/.356 atop the order. Brett Gardner, Tuesday's leadoff hitter, entered the game hitting .132 from that spot this season.
On top of that, Ellsbury has been hot. He's hit .290 in June with more walks (six) than strikeouts (five), nine RBIs and 11 runs scored. Girardi believes Ellsbury is a large reason why the Yankees are playing near-.500 baseball right now.
"I think he's a big reason that we've gotten back to .500 in a lot of instances, what he's done offensively," Girardi said. "I think we were eight or nine games down and he got pretty hot; he was on base and scoring a lot of runs. He continued to do that. That's really important for an offense. He sets the tone so we need him to continue to play well."
Nick Suss is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.