CLEVELAND -- The Yankees know what kind of a dynamic force Jacoby Ellsbury can be at the top of their lineup, and with their offense sputtering, manager Joe Girardi is hopeful that the outfielder can clear his head to reclaim that early level of performance.
Girardi benched Ellsbury for Wednesday's game against the Indians, giving him additional time to work with hitting coach Jeff Pentland and assistant hitting coach Alan Cockrell. Ellsbury is batting .179 with 28 strikeouts in 28 games since returning from a sprained right knee on July 8.
"He's OK, he's just been struggling and I thought I would just give him a day and let him do some work to see if we can get him back on track," Girardi said. "He's had a rough go of it lately and we really need to get him going, so I thought maybe just give him a day, let him do some work and see if they can iron things out."
Ellsbury was batting .324 in 37 games prior to landing on the disabled list, and he went 0-for-7 in Tuesday's 5-4, 16-inning loss at Cleveland. He is hitless in his last 19 at-bats and was not available to speak to reporters before Wednesday's game.
Girardi said that he believes Ellsbury is healthy -- there have been no complaints or additional treatment. One explanation that Girardi suggested is that seeing knuckleballers Steven Wright of the Red Sox and R.A. Dickey of the Blue Jays couldn't have helped Ellsbury's rhythm.
"It's hard, because I thought he was turning it around and then we saw the knuckleballers and then he kind of got in a little bit of a funk again," Girardi said. "He hasn't had a hit in a few days and sometimes you just kind of get out of whack, and I'll let our hitting coaches work on it."
• Infielder-outfielder Dustin Ackley (right lumbar strain) is in New York rehabbing and "feels better," according to Girardi, but Ackley is not ready to begin baseball activities. As such, he is unlikely to be activated in the near future. The Yankees have a three-man bench at present, having designated Garrett Jones for assignment on Wednesday.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.