BOSTON -- Didi Gregorius and Aaron Hicks were officially reinstated to the Yankees' active ranks 30,000 feet above sea level, as manager Aaron Boone put both players' names on Friday's lineup card during the charter flight to Boston.The tightness in Hicks' left hamstring was thought to be mild, but the
BOSTON -- Didi Gregorius and Aaron Hicks were officially reinstated to the Yankees' active ranks 30,000 feet above sea level, as manager Aaron Boone put both players' names on Friday's lineup card during the charter flight to Boston.
The tightness in Hicks' left hamstring was thought to be mild, but the Yankees were worried that Gregorius' season could have ended when an MRI taken last week revealed torn cartilage in his right wrist. The shortstop responded well to a cortisone injection, allowing him to bat sixth in the series opener against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
"Those two players are so important to us and are such quality two-way players in the middle of the diamond," Boone said. "When it first happens, obviously it's frustrating, and you worry about it a little bit, but you also understand that it's next man up. We're capable of doing things, and we have to make it work.
"Then as the days unfold and you start to get a feeling that they might be all right after all, there's that sigh of relief and excitement that definitely sets in. I'm excited to see them go out there tonight."
Boone said that the left-handed-hitting Gregorius and the switch-hitting Hicks lend important balance to a lineup that has become increasingly right-handed with the recent additions of Andrew McCutchen and Luke Voit.
Gregorius sustained his injury sliding headfirst into home plate on Hicks' 11th-inning double against the Orioles on Sept. 22, a play that secured the Yankees' entry in the American League Wild Card Game.
Though Gregorius remained optimistic that he would return to action, Boone said that the club didn't know for sure until Gregorius bounced back from the on-field batting practice session that Gregorius had at Tropicana Field prior to Thursday's game.
"We felt from the start that it was very much in the air," Boone said. "Once he got the cortisone shot, you knew it wasn't a certainty. To see how he responded right away, the first day, the second day, you felt all of the optimism from Didi, from us, and just seeing how it was responding. I knew it was going well, but I just wanted to make sure that we weren't getting ahead of ourselves."
General manager Brian Cashman is expected to meet with Boone and the coaching staff this weekend at Fenway Park, hammering out the preferred matchups for the Oct. 3 Wild Card Game.
Because the Yankees are still battling for home-field advantage, Boone said that there has been no decision reached in regard to J.A. Happ, Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka, all of whom are said to remain under consideration.
"Everything matters, but I don't think there's anything about any of those guys that will prevent us from being excited about giving them the ball," Boone said. "We want to get home field taken care of. Hopefully we can do that, and then we'll be in a position to dive in and set things how we want."
Boone said that the location of the Wild Card Game will play "a small factor" in determining the identity of the starter. Happ is 4-0 with a 2.72 ERA and eight home runs allowed in seven starts at Yankee Stadium this season, while Tanaka is 5-5 with a 4.09 ERA and nine home runs allowed in 12 Bronx starts.
Severino is 10-2 with a 2.74 ERA in 15 starts at Yankee Stadium, but he is scheduled to start on Sunday against the Red Sox.
This date in Yankees history
Sept. 28, 1968: Mickey Mantle plays his final career game, batting third in the Yankees' 4-3 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park. In his only at-bat, Mantle pops out to shortstop Rico Petrocelli, then is replaced at first base by Andy Kosco. Mantle retires with a career .298 average and 536 home runs.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.