Ellsbury echoes Girardi's thoughts on Opening Day status

Despite being shut down for a week, center fielder 'fully confident' he'll be ready to go

Ellsbury echoes Girardi's thoughts on Opening Day status

TAMPA, Fla. -- Jacoby Ellsbury will not participate in baseball activities for approximately one week due to a mild oblique strain, but the Yankees center fielder is confident that he will be ready for Opening Day.

Ellsbury had an MRI exam on Wednesday that confirmed the strain, which he sustained while tossing in the outfield before Sunday's game against the Phillies. Ellsbury is hitting .222 (6-for-27) with one triple and one RBI in nine spring games.

"I think the good thing is we do have time and I'm fully confident that I'll be there Opening Day, ready to play," Ellsbury said on Thursday. "I think in the few days that it's been, it's been substantially better."

Ellsbury, 31, said that he has not previously dealt with oblique issues, which manager Joe Girardi often says can be "tricky." Girardi has said that he expects Ellsbury to be ready for the Yanks' season opener on April 6 against the Blue Jays, but there is no timetable to get him back in spring games.

"The thing is, I don't think we need to rush him," Girardi said. "I'm not concerned about him being ready for Opening Day now. If we got to [March 30], and the day after and he couldn't play, I'd be concerned. I'm not saying he's going to sit out that long. He's got [27] at-bats under his belt. You'd like to get him somewhere between 55 and 65, but if he's a little short, I'm not going to worry about that."

The Yankees hope that it will be a similar situation to last spring, when Ellsbury sustained a left calf strain that forced him to miss the final two weeks of exhibition games, but he was ready for the regular-season opener.

Ellsbury said that his timing and discipline have been solid, particularly in his last five spring games, so he is not worried about the possibility of jumping right into the regular season.

"I feel pretty good at the plate now," Ellsbury said. "Last year, I didn't think it had an effect on me at all. I felt pretty good at the plate. I felt like I had a pretty good first month. That really didn't have an effect on me."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.