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Romine expected to return to lineup Friday

MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Yankees catcher Austin Romine is expected to be back in the starting lineup for Friday's series opener against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

The backstop exited Saturday's game against the Red Sox in the seventh inning after experiencing tightness in his left hamstring that prompted a precautionary MRI. The results came back negative, but Romine has yet to break the starting lineup in the last four games.

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NEW YORK -- Yankees catcher Austin Romine is expected to be back in the starting lineup for Friday's series opener against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

The backstop exited Saturday's game against the Red Sox in the seventh inning after experiencing tightness in his left hamstring that prompted a precautionary MRI. The results came back negative, but Romine has yet to break the starting lineup in the last four games.

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"It's really good today," Romine said. "First couple days was a little tight. I mean, obviously, there was something in there, but I think we fixed it. I'm feeling a little better. I was able to hit and actually get into a lot of stuff and felt pretty good."

Although he hasn't started, Romine got some innings off the bench on Monday night, replacing Neil Walker, who pinch-hit for catcher Kyle Higashioka the inning prior. Romine caught Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances and David Robertson in his three-inning appearance and struck out swinging in his one at-bat. Since then, Romine has felt that he's ready to be back in the lineup.

"I think I can play, yeah. I played in the game the other day and caught 104-mph fastballs," Romine said. "The next day I felt good. I came in, hit, ran. They had me running out there doing some arcs and quick starts like you'd be running or stealing, and everything felt good."

Video: ATL@NYY: Chapman K's Acuna Jr. with 104.4 mph heat

Yankees manager Aaron Boone had originally hinted at the idea that Romine would return to the starting nine for Wednesday's series finale against the Braves, but he decided to keep the backstop on the bench for just one more game.

"I think right now, probably just being a little greedy with the off-day tomorrow," Boone said. "I think there's been real improvement the last couple of days, but just with that kind of thing, he's so important to us the next couple of weeks that, with the off-day, I just don't want to push it."

With Gary Sanchez most likely on the disabled list through the All-Star break, Romine's health is essential for the Yankees. Higashioka has stepped up to fill the hole behind the plate since Saturday, launching two home runs for his first two Major League hits, but Romine is eager to get back to playing baseball.

"Of course, it's frustrating," Romine said. "I definitely want to play. You can see the type of team that's in here. You want to be out there as much as you can. This is a time to play a little bit more and to not be able to do that is tough. I would love nothing more than to be out there and be playing with the guys on this team."

Video: ATL@NYY: Higashioka drills a solo homer to left field

This date in Yankees history
July 4, 1983: Dave Righetti tossed a no-hitter in a 4-0 Yankees win against the Red Sox, striking out Wade Boggs for the final out. It was the Yankees' sixth all-time regular-season no-hitter and was the first since Allie Reynolds had two in 1951.

Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.

New York Yankees, Austin Romine