Ellsbury expects to be in Opening Day lineup

Ellsbury expects to be in Opening Day lineup

TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury played six innings of a Minor League game in center field on Friday, going 2-for-5 with an infield single, and said that he expects to be ready to be in the Opening Day lineup.

"I felt pretty good," Ellsbury said. "I played it like a normal game, busting it out of the box. I played like I normally would."

General manager Brian Cashman said that the Yankees could have played Ellsbury against the Marlins on Friday, but decided to have Ellsbury play in a 10 a.m. ET game because of weather concerns.

Ellsbury hasn't played in a Grapefruit League game since March 14 due to a sore right calf. Saturday's forecast is threatening, but the Yankees believe Ellsbury could play in the 1:05 p.m. ET game (watch free on MLB.TV) against the Marlins at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

"I'm pretty confident that he's through this, but we'll just wait and see," manager Joe Girardi said.

Girardi has given some thought to what he would do with his early-season lineups if Ellsbury is not available.

"I might move Brett [Gardner] over, and I could put Ich [Suzuki] in left. There's a lot of different things I could do," Girardi said. "Might be a situation where I put [Alfonso] Soriano in left for a day and put Ich in right and DH [Carlos] Beltran. We thought it was important that Brett got a lot of reps in left field."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.