Ellsbury likely to test oblique Wednesday

Center fielder penciled in to return to Grapefruit League duty after strong Minors game

Ellsbury likely to test oblique Wednesday

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury returned to action in a Minor League game on Tuesday in Tampa, delivering two singles in five at-bats and playing five innings of defense as he works his way back from a strained oblique.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he has Ellsbury penciled in to play for the big league squad on Wednesday against the Rays. That would mark Ellsbury's first Grapefruit League game since March 15, when he sustained the strain while playing catch.

"I've listened to them the entire process," Ellsbury told reporters in Tampa, Fla. "If they feel, 'Hey, you're a go for tomorrow,' I'll be out there tomorrow. If they're like, 'Hey, get some swings in and be out there the next day,' I'm fine with that too."

Ellsbury played for the Double-A Trenton squad and said that he has no concern about being ready for Opening Day on April 6 against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium.

"That's why we took it like we did, because they didn't want me feeling [the oblique] in any activity," Ellsbury said. "Let's take it each day, let's not push it, and make sure when we do come back, it's ready to go. They did a good job of getting me back pretty quick."

Adam Warren, who is expected to be the Yankees' fifth starter, also pitched in a Minor League game on Tuesday. The right-hander surrendered five runs and nine hits over four innings for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, striking out two and walking one in the 82-pitch outing.

"The results weren't the best, just trying to get ready for the season," Warren told reporters. "It's tough out here to get the adrenaline going, so you try to lock it in, work on some things. That's really what I try to focus on, getting ready for the season."

Carlos Beltran went 0-for-4 with a walk in the same game as Warren. Girardi said that the Yankees wanted to spare Beltran the long bus ride to Fort Myers, where the big league squad lost, 3-1, to the Twins.

"We want him there for his at-bats, instead of riding 2 1/2 hours," Girardi said.

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.