Jacoby Ellsbury will return from the disabled list on Wednesday

Jacoby Ellsbury on the field before the Yankees' spring exhibition game against the Pirates in Tampa, Fla., Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Jacoby Ellsbury on the field before the Yankees’ spring exhibition game against the Pirates in Tampa, Fla., Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Jacoby Ellsbury, who has been on the disabled list since May 20 with a right knee strain, will return to the roster on Wednesday. It is important that he is returning from the DL because Carlos Beltran, who been productive offensively since the beginning of May, is on the 15-day disabled list as of July 3 due to a left oblique strain.

He played in four games for High-A Tampa (Florida State League) during his minor league rehab stint and had a .154 average in 13 at-bats. His health is more important than his average in Florida and the minor league games are for getting him back in playing shape.

He was supposed to play in another game for High-A Tampa on Monday, but he was held out of the game due to “wet fields” in Tampa. This makes sense because those conditions could potentially cause a setback.

“We scratched him because the fields were wet,’’ GM Brian Cashman said of the playing surface Monday in Tampa, where Ellsbury was on a rehab assignment with the Single-A club. “He did some simulated stuff [Monday] and will do it again Tuesday and be activated Wednesday.’’

In 37 games (148 at-bats) before going on the disabled list, Ellsbury had a .324 average with six RBIs, four doubles, 29 runs scored and 14 steals. He is currently tied for fifth in the American League in steals even though he has not played in the previous 42 games.

Ellsbury, who will likely return to the leadoff spot, will make the top of the lineup even better because he will combine with Brett Gardner, who will bat in the No. 2 spot and is having an All-Star caliber season, to add a player who gets on base often and can easily get into scoring position with his speed. With Beltran on the disabled list, the outfield will consist of Ellsbury, Gardner and Chris Young.

Ellsbury will be activated for the second game of the series at Yankee Stadium against the Oakland Athletics, who are currently 38-47 and 11 games out of first place in the AL West. The Yankees (44-38) and Athletics will play the first game of the series tonight at 7:05 p.m.

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