- Wallace Matthews, ESPN Staff Writer
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Jacoby Ellsbury made six plate appearances in a minor league game this afternoon, and although he did no hard running -- walking twice and loping easily to first on a single in his final at-bat before being removed for a pinch runner -- he said he believed he would be ready to open the season with the Yankees on April 1 in Houston.
"I feel like I could just hop right in there and play right now and be ready to go," Ellsbury said. "I'll take advantage of these next four games and do everything I can to be ready for Opening Day. I feel I will be ready. I don’t anticipate anything other than that."
Batting in every inning as the DH, Ellsbury grounded out in his first at-bat, lined out to right in his second, walked in his next two, struck out looking and finally lined a single into left field.
He did not play the field, he said, because overnight rains made the outfield a little slippery.
"It was a pretty productive day," said Ellsbury, who has not played in a major league preseason game since March 14 after experiencing tightness in his right calf. "The main thing was just seeing some pitches, getting my timing. I felt pretty good up there."
Ellsbury is not on the travel roster for tomorrow's game in Dunedin against the Blue Jays. After that, there are just three more spring games before the club breaks camp.
"The best thing about it is we have time right now," Ellsbury said. "Obviously, I need to cover a lot of ground, steal bases, do a lot of different things as far as using my legs, so we want to make sure it’s 100 percent. But as far as me not being ready, in that regard, I'll be good to go."