Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury says the team has not approached him about waiving his no-trade clause.
There has been speculation that the Yankees would like to move some of the money due Ellsbury, who has three years remaining on a $153 million, seven-year contract.
Ellsbury, 34, enters spring training as the odd man out in the outfield after losing his center field job last year to Aaron Hicks. Brett Gardner is locked in as the left fielder. Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge will rotate between right field and designated hitter, and could also get time in left when Gardner is rested.
”There’s not a lineup made up yet, that’s how I look at it,” Ellsbury said Sunday on reporting day for position players. ”Every year you come in and compete. One game, one pitch, your role could totally change.”
Yankees manager Aaron Boone hasn’t officially named Hicks as the starter but pointed out the success the 28-year-old had in 2017. Hicks had a .266 average, along with 15 homers and 52 RBIs over 88 games.
”We saw Aaron Hicks become a dude last year,” Boone said. ”Really establish himself. We can’t ignore what Aaron Hicks was able to do last year.”
Ellsbury hit .264 with seven homers and 39 RBIs in 112 games last season.
”I look at it as we have two premium players that I expect to contribute to our club,” Boone said. ”We’ll just see how it shakes out.”
Ellbury dodged the question of whether he would prefer to be a role player with the Yankees or a starter elsewhere.
”We haven’t started Day One in camp yet,” Ellsbury said. ”I can only control what I can control and that’s going out there and playing. I love playing, I’ll just leave it at that.”
HOME RUN DERBY
Fans with gloves are expected to line the left field walkway at Steinbrenner Field for Monday’s workout, attempting to grab batting practice homers from Stanton, acquired from Miami during the offseason, and Judge. Those two combined for 111 homers last season.
”Usually we’ll have one round where we’re all kind of seeing how far we can hit it,” Judge said. ”There will be a little back and forth (trash talking).”
It will be the first time Judge, coming back from left shoulder surgery, will take BP on the field.
Boone said ”we’ll see” with a smile when asked if the power-hitting duo will hit in the same group.
The Yankees will be opening gates three hours before first pitch at home spring training games, allowing fans to see all of the team’s batting practice.
”It’s good for the fans,” Judge said. ”They want to see their home team hit some batting practice. That will be good for the kids, too. A lot of kids come out and watch some guys hit some home runs.”
Judge is expected to be ready for opening day March 29 at Toronto.