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Girardi: Didi will return sometime next series

MLB.com @BryanHoch

BOSTON -- Didi Gregorius is excelling in his Minor League rehabilitation assignment and should return to the Yankees' lineup this weekend, perhaps as soon as Friday against the Orioles, manager Joe Girardi said.

Gregorius was scheduled to play his final Minor League game for Class A Advanced Tampa on Wednesday against Clearwater. In his four previous contests, Gregorius was 6-for-14 (.429), homering on Tuesday in a 5-1 loss to the Phillies' Florida State League team.

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BOSTON -- Didi Gregorius is excelling in his Minor League rehabilitation assignment and should return to the Yankees' lineup this weekend, perhaps as soon as Friday against the Orioles, manager Joe Girardi said.

Gregorius was scheduled to play his final Minor League game for Class A Advanced Tampa on Wednesday against Clearwater. In his four previous contests, Gregorius was 6-for-14 (.429), homering on Tuesday in a 5-1 loss to the Phillies' Florida State League team.

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"We will see him sometime in the next series," Girardi said.

Gregorius strained his right shoulder in a March 18 exhibition while completing a double play for the Netherlands' World Baseball Classic team. Gregorius has said that he planned to return before the season's first month was over.

"I really want to be here before May," Gregorius said. "I don't like sitting out. I've got to work my way back."

Ronald Torreyes has filled in admirably in Gregorius' absence, collecting a career-high 13 RBIs through 17 games after notching 12 in 72 games last season. Gregorius will take over as the starting shortstop, returning Torreyes to a backup at second base, third base and shortstop.

"[Torreyes has] done a great job. I don't think you could ask him to do much more than what he's done," Girardi said. "He's tied for the team lead in RBIs, he's played very good defense, he's moved around a little bit, but not much. Toe has played great. He played extremely well for us last year, and he's been out there every day almost. Really pleased with what he's done."

Additionally, catcher Gary Sanchez took a full batting-practice session in the indoor batting cage at Fenway Park on Wednesday, and is throwing at distances of 120 feet.

Sanchez has been on the 10-day disabled list since April 8 with a right biceps strain, and could begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment soon. The Yankees have said that Sanchez is expected to be back in the big league lineup by the first week of May.

Bombers bits

Brett Gardner entered Wednesday 2-for-24 (.083) with seven walks and eight strikeouts in seven games since his April 13 collision with the Rays' Rickie Weeks Jr., in which Gardner sustained a bruised jaw and strained neck.

Video: TB@NYY: Gardner leaves after collision with Weeks Jr.

Gardner said that he has not been receiving recent treatment for those injuries, but Girardi said that he has wondered if the collision could be responsible for Gardner's struggles.

"Obviously we're trying to get him going," Girardi said. "I thought he swung the bat well in Pittsburgh the other day. He's had success against [Wednesday starter Rick Porcello]. Hopefully [Wednesday] is the night that he gets it going."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.

New York Yankees, Didi Gregorius