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Ellsbury tests sore calf, could play Tuesday

Outfielder runs on grass, takes on-field batting practice day after MRI

TAMPA, Fla. -- Jacoby Ellsbury tested his sore right calf by running on grass Friday, one day after the outfielder had a precautionary MRI, and the Yankees are eyeing Tuesday as his possible return date.

"He did OK. We'll see how he is [Saturday] and try to increase it a little bit," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I would say our target date is Tuesday."

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that because Ellsbury's MRI came back clean, he is not worried about it affecting his readiness for the season.

Ellsbury hit on the diamond at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Friday, and ran arcs on the outfield grass, avoiding the dirt. Returning to action Tuesday would give Ellsbury five possible Grapefruit League games to play in before the Yankees open the season April 1 in Houston.

"I would probably try to play him four," Girardi said. "Maybe he goes to the Minor Leagues one day and gets a lot of at-bats, but that's still a game day."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.
Read More: New York Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury