The question surrounding Jacoby Ellsbury for some time now has been will he ever play for the Yankees again?
But with Ellsbury finally healthy enough for some baseball activities and reporting to Yankees camp, the question has actually become when will he play for the Yankees again?
"As far as a timeline of when I'll be playing, we're not sure yet," Ellsbury told reporters on Monday. "But definitely headed in the right direction."
The 35-year-old missed the entire 2018 season because of injuries. He initially suffered an oblique strain in spring training last year and while rehabbing suffered a hip injury. After undergoing hip surgery in August, an old plantar fasciitis issue resurfaced and delayed his 2019 return.
"I've been dealing with that for years," Ellsbury said. "After I had the (hip) surgery, we wanted to lock it down, just make sure I was taken care of. But it hasn't slowed down my hip recovery."
Ellsbury took a physical Sunday and has been cleared for short-distance catch and hitting off a tee. He'd been rehabbing in Arizona before reporting to camp.
"Been working hard five, six days a week, six, seven hours a day," Ellsbury said. "Just putting in the time to be in a position right here, and looking forward to helping out this year."
The oft-injured outfielder is entering the sixth season of a seven-year, $153 million contract. Even as a return to the field seems more realistic, it still will have to be seen to be believed.
Aaron Boone isn't yet putting a timetable on Ellsbury.
"It feels really speculatory for me to even go down that road," Boone said. "It does seem like he's improving and getting better, and obviously he's here now. Hopefully he just continues improving, and at some point becomes an option for us."