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Didi plays 5 innings in extended spring action

Shortstop takes the field for first time since 2018 ALDS
@BryanHoch
May 20, 2019

BALTIMORE -- Didi Gregorius has hit his significant checkpoints more quickly than expected as he recovers from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, a trend that continued on Monday, when the shortstop played five innings in an extended spring game at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla. With managing

BALTIMORE -- Didi Gregorius has hit his significant checkpoints more quickly than expected as he recovers from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, a trend that continued on Monday, when the shortstop played five innings in an extended spring game at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla.

With managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner in attendance, Gregorius went 2-for-4 with a walk against a team of Tigers Minor Leaguers. Gregorius singled twice and cleanly fielded three grounders but was charged with an error on a throw to first base, according to The Associated Press.

"He got a lot of at-bats, got a couple balls. He threw a ball away, so his arm was feeling a little too good, I guess," manager Aaron Boone said in Baltimore. "But he got through it. A hot day down there. A couple more days down there and then, hopefully, get transferred over to the Tarpons. But a big step, obviously, in the return for Didi."

Gregorius' afternoon contest, his first game action since last year's American League Division Series, served as a prelude for Giancarlo Stanton's debut across the street with Class A Advanced Tampa.

Stanton began his Minor League rehab assignment on Monday, returning from a strained left biceps as well as a strained left shoulder that have kept him out of big league games since March 31. He is expected to play at least two games with the Tarpons, Boone said.

On Monday, Stanton wasted no time celebrating his return to action, sending a 2-1 offering off the batter’s eye in the third inning at George M. Steinbrenner Field. He struck out on seven pitches in his first at-bat.

"I think it's just him getting reps and getting comfortable," Boone said. "In a lot of ways, he will let us know where he's at and how he's feeling. It's exciting to hear he is teeing it back up today, and hopefully we get him back here soon."

In other news from Tampa, Troy Tulowitzki resumed on-field batting practice on Monday and continued taking grounders at shortstop and third base as he returns from a re-aggravation of his April 3 left calf strain.

With Gregorius ostensibly nearing a return to serve as the Yanks' shortstop, Boone said that Tulowitzki approached him during the club's recent visit to Tropicana Field and volunteered to work out at other positions.

"He proactively came to me and said, 'I'll do whatever I need to do,'" Boone said. "That was something he wanted to make sure he initiated with us."

Judge update

Aaron Judge played catch and ran on the field at Camden Yards on Monday afternoon, according to Boone, though the outfielder is not yet able to resume swinging a bat. Judge has been sidelined by a significant left oblique strain sustained on April 20, and the team has announced no timetable for his return.

"I feel good about where he's at," Boone said. "He's definitely coming, but as far as a timetable or anything like that, nothing yet, because he hasn't started hitting. This is something that when he starts swinging the bat and hitting, we're going to know the injury is out of there and has moved on. Then it's just about building him up. He's made steady progress, but he's not at that point yet."

Best wishes

Miguel Andújar posted an Instagram photo from his bed at New York-Presbyterian Hospital on Monday after undergoing surgery on his partially torn right labrum. Team physician Christopher Ahmad performed the procedure.

Although Andujar's season is most likely over, he is expected to be recovered in time for next Spring Training.

"It sounds like it went well, and now the road to recovery starts," Boone said. "We look forward to him to be fully good to go come spring."

On the road again

Mechanical issues with the Yankees' charter jet forced the club to hit the highway following Sunday's 13-5 win over the Rays, instead boarding buses for a three-hour ride to Baltimore.

Boone said that the change in plans was preferable to what the club endured in May of last season, which included an overnight stay in the terminal at Dulles International Airport and a mechanical issue that forced their plane to return to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

"I think the bus ride was actually another one of those bonding experiences that guys have as players," said Boone, who opted to take a train with some of his coaches. "It was fun talking to some of the veteran guys today about how much they had fun spending time with each other, harkening back to some Minor League days. I think we all still got in at a decent hour, so it wasn't something that crushed us."

Bombers bits

Masahiro Tanaka (right shin contusion) reported no significant issues on Monday, two days after he was struck by a batted ball. Tanaka is scheduled to toss on Tuesday, with designs upon making his next start.

• Left-hander James Paxton (inflammation in left knee) is scheduled to toss in the bullpen on Tuesday, at which point the Yankees will decide if he is ready to be activated from the injured list. If so, he could pitch in the upcoming series at Kansas City.

This date in Yankees history

May 20, 1976: Lou Piniella crashed hard into Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk on a play at home plate, and the rivals traded punches as the benches emptied. During the wild fracas, Boston pitcher Bill Lee was slammed into the turf by Graig Nettles, separating the hurler's left shoulder.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.