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Yankees Clubhouse Notebook: Ellsbury returns to (minor-league) action

03/25/2014 7:21 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Jacoby Ellsbury finished 1-for-4 at the dish during an intra-squad game at the minor-league complex.(Kathy Willens/AP)
Joe Girardi's announcement that Michael Pineda will be the Yankees' fifth starter was the big news in camp, but there was a lot more going on ahead of a night game at Steinbrenner Field. Here are the other news items from the Yankees clubhouse:

-Jacoby Ellsbury returned to action at the minor-league complex, serving as the designated hitter in an intra-squad game. Ellsbury was 1-for-4 with two walks and did not run the bases at all, but said he felt good and will play in another minor-league game Wednesday. Girardi wasn't sure whether that appearance would be another DH day or one in the field, but he was confident Ellsbury will be ready for Opening Day.

-In that same intra-squad game, Tyler Austin (wrist) played his first game of the spring, starting in right field for the Double-A team.

-John Ryan Murphy was optioned to the minors today, leaving the Yankees' backup catcher competition down to Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine. Girardi said he won't yet announce that winner -- only saying "he's played extremely well" -- and also said the decision for the two backup infield spots will likely go down through Saturday's Grapefruit League finale.

-Wednesday's travel roster for the Yankees' game in Dunedin has most of the veterans listed as going, allowing them to check "day game after a night game" off their spring list. Chris Leroux will start with nine other listed relievers, and the position players include Derek Jeter, Kelly Johnson, Brian Roberts, Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano and Brett Gardner.

-Hiroki Kuroda will still start Friday night against the Marlins, but Masahiro Tanaka will also pitch in that game. Girardi said Kuroda will likely pitch only two innings in his final tune-up, while Tanaka will go longer.

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