NEW YORK -- The Yankees believe that Jacoby Ellsbury's daring play to run down the first pitch of Wednesday night's game may have saved a double or a triple, but it came at a high price, with the outfielder landing on the seven-day concussion disabled list following a 3-0 win
NEW YORK -- The Yankees believe that Jacoby Ellsbury's daring play to run down the first pitch of Wednesday night's game may have saved a double or a triple, but it came at a high price, with the outfielder landing on the seven-day concussion disabled list following a 3-0 win over the Royals.
Ellsbury crashed into the center-field wall after snaring Alcides Escobar's barreled drive, slamming his head and right arm against the padded surface. The Yankees announced that Ellsbury sustained a concussion and a sprained neck on the play, with no timetable immediately available for his recovery.
"He plays to win," manager Joe Girardi said. "It's unfortunate; he's hit the wall a couple of times hard. Obviously, we're going to miss him for a while now, but he plays hard."
The Yankees recalled infielder-outfielder Rob Refsnyder from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to fill Ellsbury's spot on the roster. Aaron Hicks replaced Ellsbury in the top of the second inning and could see his playing time increase.
"You can't really replace what [Ellsbury] does on both sides of the ball, but Hicks has obviously been playing great," left fielder Brett Gardner said. "He's going to step right in and we'll keep this thing rolling along. Hopefully [Ellsbury is] back as soon as he's ready and it's not long."
The ball came off Escobar's bat at 101.2 mph, according to Statcast™, and had a Hit Probability of 73 percent. As a dazed Ellsbury attempted to gather himself, Girardi and head athletic trainer Steve Donohue jogged out to center field, where Donohue administered what appeared to be smelling salts.
"It was incredible. Not too many people in the game make that play," Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge said. "First pitch of the game, first guy up there, you're still trying to get into the game and, 'Crack!' He got a good jump, a good read, and I don't know how he held on to that ball."
Girardi said that upon returning to the dugout, Ellsbury had complained about discomfort in his neck.
"Nothing to do with his head, it was more like whiplash," Girardi said. "After coming in and finishing the inning, he went down and Stevie went to talk to him. He declared that we should probably get him out, and then he saw the doctors and they determined that he had a concussion."
Ellsbury made a similar running catch in a May 1 game at the Stadium and was diagnosed with a bruised nerve in his left elbow, an injury that kept him out of the starting lineup until May 7.
"It's just the type of player he is, he's going to give it his all on defense and offense," Judge said. "You've got to love having that in center field."
The outfield options on the Yankees' 40-man roster include Rob Refsnyder and Mason Williams. The 40-man is currently at 39, with Christopher Austin set to be reinstated from the 60-day disabled list at the conclusion of his Minor League rehab assignment.
Touted prospects Dustin Fowler and Clint Frazier have been playing well for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but the Yanks may be reluctant to add them to the 40-man roster at this juncture.
"A lot of times when you have a situation where you feel it's going to be short, you might do something different than if we felt it was going to be long," Girardi said.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.