"I'd be really shocked if he played," Girardi said following Saturday's 2-0 loss to the Blue Jays, in which the Yankees were held to one hit. "I think it was wishful thinking on his part [to play Saturday]. He was trying to gut it out, but there was no way."
Ellsbury was held out of Saturday's game with a sore left ankle, but there won't be an official diagnosis until Ellsbury is checked out by team doctors once the club heads back to New York. The center fielder limped into the visitors' clubhouse at Rogers Centre with his ankle wrapped on Saturday morning, a day after he injured it when sliding into home plate in the ninth inning of a 6-3 win over Toronto. A fluoroscope on the ankle following Friday's game came back negative.
The 30-year-old Ellsbury received treatment on his ankle throughout the majority of Saturday's game and planned to do so back at the team hotel later that night. Ellsbury planned to arrive at the ballpark early on Sunday for more treatment and to test the ankle by going through a series of drills.
"I'm still holding out for [Sunday]." Ellsbury said. "I'm a quick healer and have a high pain tolerance, so I have those things going for me."
Girardi said the injury might have sent Ellsbury to the disabled list earlier in the season, but with rosters set to expand on Monday, that move won't be necessary, even if further tests reveal something more serious than a sprain.
With 28 games remaining, Ellsbury is doing everything in his power to suit up and help his Yankees team remain in the playoff race.
"I realize how important these games are; we obviously need to win," Ellsbury said. "I'm willing to go out there not at 100 percent. ... This time of year, every win is important. I need to be out there.
"Even if I do play [Sunday], it's not going to be 100 percent. All you can do is stay optimistic, but it's obviously disappointing."
The Yankees hoped Ellsbury would be available to serve as the designated hitter when the club arrived at Rogers Centre on Saturday. But the red-hot Ellsbury was ultimately given the day off, a decision he likely would not have made on his own.
"They let me know it would be wise to take [Saturday], just to get that full treatment," Ellsbury said. "It took a little arm twisting."
Girardi wants to get Ellsbury back into the lineup as soon as possible, but it wouldn't be surprising if the Yankees elected to give him some extra time to recover. Toronto's artificial playing surface has a reputation for being tough on the body, and the Yankees are off Monday, so Ellsbury could get three consecutive days to recuperate before New York begins a three-game set at home against the Red Sox on Tuesday.
"I think [we'll] see if he can be a player before [Tuesday]," Girardi said. "He wants to play. You just have to see what he's capable of doing."
Ellsbury has homered in three of his last five games, including Friday's contest, in which he launched his 14th home run of the season and tripled. August has been Ellsbury's best month of the season; he enters Sunday hitting .317 with a .360 on-base percentage and .525 slugging percentage, with 10 extra-base hits, 16 RBIs and nine stolen bases.