Dec 13, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees new center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury talks during press conference as manager Joe Girardi watches at Yankees Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Jacoby Ellsbury will play center, leadoff for Yankees

Joe Girardi hasn’t chosen who his Opening Day starter will be, but he has penciled in his lead off hitter and center fielder.

Both will be occupied by free agent acquisition Jacoby Ellsbury, says Bryan Hoch of MLB.com. Ellsbury has spent more time in the lead off position in the batting order during his career than in any other spot. He has 590 games worth of leading off for Boston, and it’s certainly the spot that fits him best.

He has a lifetime OBP of .350, and is a major base stealing threat. Coming off of an injury shortened season in 2012, Ellsbury rebounded in 2013 with 52 stolen bases, good for best in baseball, but still 20 short of his career high from 2009. In each of his healthy years, Ellsbury has scored near 100 runs each season.

The only question defensively was whether New York would go with Brett Gardner or Ellsbury in center. Ellsbury has more than 600 games at center, and that appears to push Gardner to left or right field, and he could end up being the fourth outfielder on the team with Ichiro and Carlos Beltran manning the corner spots.

Tags: New York Yankees

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