Yankees' Jacoby Ellsbury shut down 'for a couple of days' with hip issue

NEW YORK -- Injured veteran Jacoby Ellsbury's return hit a snag as the New York Yankees' banged-up outfield waits on a couple of key players to come off the disabled list.

According to manager Aaron Boone, the center fielder is "dealing with a little bit of a hip thing" that popped up recently while Ellsbury worked through his recovery from an oblique issue that stalled his spring training. Boone wasn't exactly sure which hip when he addressed reporters Tuesday afternoon ahead of the home opener against the Tampa Bay Rays, which had been postponed Monday.

"He's kind of been shut down here for a couple days," Boone said. "There's no games down in the minor leagues right now for a couple days. Hopefully we can get that out of there and kind of roll from there."

Ellsbury hurt his oblique near the start of spring training and has only been back to playing in games at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Florida, for about a week.

General manager Brian Cashman said last week that the goal was for Ellsbury to have a full spring training before he returned to the major league club. That meant making about 55 at-bats in minor league games in Tampa.

Ellsbury was placed last week on the 10-day DL, retroactive to March 26. It means he had been eligible to be activated this Thursday. Cashman previously said he wouldn't rush Ellsbury's return, but with a spate of injuries to the Yankees' outfield, they might forgo his full 55 at-bats as long as he is physically healthy.

The Yankees are hopeful about a pair of other injured outfielders. Center fielder Aaron Hicks, who went on the 10-day DL last Friday with a muscle strain near his rib cage, was planning on hitting Tuesday as he eases back into baseball activity.

"He is planning on hitting [Tuesday] and continues to feel good," Boone said. "So we're optimistic that it's going to be on the short end of things. That's good news. We probably have to see how he does and then we'll progress from there."

Hicks could return to the team by Monday at the earliest. The Yankees are scheduled to be off that day before visiting the rival Boston Red Sox for a three-game series.

Boone also said outfielder Clint Frazier (concussion) is progressing and will soon appear in minor league games. He hasn't played in a game since late February, when he hit his head on an outfield fence while catching a fly ball.

"He's running the bases, he's tracking high-velocity [pitches]. He's doing all the things and he continues to build momentum," Boone said. "Hopefully getting into game action is very close."