Headley takes advantage of time to clear head

Headley takes advantage of time to clear head

BALTIMORE -- Chase Headley believes that he made productive use of two unwanted days out of the Yankees' lineup, taking right-handed swings on the field during batting practice before ducking into the cages for additional reps from the left side of the plate.

"As a player, you want to play every day," Headley said. "You feel like that's going to be the day that you go out there and break out. Sometimes it helps to just take a step back and relax. Everybody wants to be successful and contribute. There's obviously frustration when you're not."

Headley entered Monday's opener vs. the Orioles with just six hits in his last 57 at-bats (.105) with 21 strikeouts, no walks and three extra-base hits before going 1-for-2 with a walk in the Yankees' 3-2 loss.

"I hope it just gave him a chance to refresh himself," manager Joe Girardi said. "He wanted to work on a couple of things. Just get him going again. I thought left-handed he had run into some bad luck. Sometimes that can be extremely frustrating and turn into more than it really should be. Hopefully that luck changes a little bit and he gets it going again."

Headley said that he feels more comfortable from the left side; this year, Headley entered Monday with a .749 OPS against righties while managing just a .196 on-base percentage against lefties (.337 last year). The Yankees are seeing three right-handed starters during their stay in Baltimore (Dylan Bundy, Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman).

"We went a long time without facing any lefties, and we had a streak where we faced a few good ones in a row," Headley said. "I just never felt right against them. I had a few good swings where I just didn't get a result. Overall, I just didn't feel super comfortable. I felt like I had some good, quality work, and hopefully that carries over."

The skid coincided with the Yankees promoting top prospect Gleyber Torres to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where Torres played third base in his first three games before shifting over to shortstop for the last two.

The Yankees have said that they plan to continue rotating Torres between third base, shortstop and second base, and that no promotion to the Majors is imminent for the game's No. 2 prospect, as rated by MLB Pipeline.

Headley said that he is not looking over his shoulder, adding that it does no good to worry about factors out of his control.

"The thing about it is, we're playing great," Headley said. "It's about the team."

Injury updates

Aroldis Chapman (left rotator cuff inflammation) traveled with the team and played catch in the outfield on Monday at Camden Yards. The closer is making incremental progress and could rejoin the active roster sometime in the middle of June.

Jacoby Ellsbury (concussion) has been riding a stationary bicycle and having his neck treated in New York, but is not ready to resume baseball activities. Girardi said that Ellsbury is still experiencing headaches following a May 24 crash into the outfield wall at Yankee Stadium.

Greg Bird (right ankle bruise) is scheduled to take live batting practice on Monday in Tampa, Fla. The Yankees plan for Bird to play for Class A Advanced Tampa on Thursday vs. Charlotte. Girardi said that Bird would not be ready to rejoin the active roster by the next homestand.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.