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A complete history of Jacoby Ellsbury not participating in ‘baseball activities’

Featuring reports from many, many beat reporters.

Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Today, reports were confirmed that Jacoby Ellsbury — the Yankees outfielder currently in the middle of a seven-year, $153 million contract that runs through 2020 with a team option for 2021 and who hasn’t played a game in 2018 — is still not participating in baseball activities. At this point, New York fans are more than familiar with this refrain as it’s been repeated every time someone requests an update on Ellsbury’s status.

He’s been battling a back injury all season, and the only update is that he’s not participating in baseball activities. Unless he’s close to participating in baseball activities, or about to be participating in baseball activities right after he sees a specialist, or he’ll be participating in baseball activities whenever the next full lunar eclipse crosses over Bhutan. Who knows.

What has been consistent is beat writers regurgitating this update to hopeful (“hopeful”?) fans for months — nay, years! — now. Here is a definitive history of Jacoby Ellsbury participating (or, mostly, not) in baseball activities.

Back in 2013, when current CBS reporter Jenny Dell was still with NESN, Ellsbury did indeed participate in baseball activities during his final fall with the Red Sox.

In June 2015, after going to the disabled list with a knee injury that May, Ellsbury was running sprints and “getting close” to baseball activities.

Yankees spring training this year brought the update that he was “still doing light baseball activities” and there was still optimism that he could start the season healthy and playing. But optimism’s a funny thing, isn’t it?

On March 31st, it was revealed that Clint Frazier (who has only appeared in 15 major league games this year) was participating in baseball activities but that Ellsbury was closer than him to returning to the major league roster.

Just five days later, Yankees first-year manager Aaron Boone revealed that not only was Ellsbury now dealing with a hip issue he was not doing any baseball activities.

About a fortnight after that the update was that Ellsbury was working through problems with his hip but on top of that also had plantar fasciitis. “Still no baseball activities.”

May’s update involved such hedging that Ellsbury was “under the weather” and “doing baseball activities” and the team was “maybe” “thinking” about playing him in “some games.” This is about the point where “baseball activities” started to become a running gag that everyone knew wasn’t about to change.

Yet just 10 days later a back issue was the culprit for Ellsbury once again “not doing any baseball activities.”

At the end of May, the phrasing changed a little bit from not doing baseball activities to “not ready for baseball activities.” Nice to keep things fresh.

The next update came a few weeks later. He was seeing a specialist for the back injury and was “getting ready” for baseball activities.

Three days later. Zero baseball activities for Ells.

Another three days pass, and this time the update comes from Ellsbury himself. A twist! There is no twist when it comes to his baseball activities status though, as he “doesn’t know when he will” get back to them.

We’re now up to date, and the update from Aaron Boone is once again that Ellsbury is not doing baseball activities.

Not an option to replace the injured Aaron Judge because he’s not even “partaking” in baseball activities. The commitment to switching up adjectives with every update should be applauded.

Boone’s latest at this point is that a timeline doesn’t even exist for Ellsbury to return to baseball activities.

Whichever beach Ellsbury is sitting on while not doing “baseball activities,” we’d very much like to join him. Cash those checks and enjoy the fun umbrellas they put in drinks at the pool bar, I say. It’s too humid in New York for him to be hanging around and pretending he’s close to getting back on a field.