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Boone 'hopeful' Sanchez returns this season

Encarnacion's oblique strain mild; Happ could pitch Thursday
September 13, 2019

TORONTO -- When it comes to the health status of his players, Yankees manager Aaron Boone prefers to avoid speculation. Such was the case ahead of Friday's game against the Blue Jays, when Boone refrained from providing timetables for the return of injured players Gary Sánchez and Edwin Encarnacion .

TORONTO -- When it comes to the health status of his players, Yankees manager Aaron Boone prefers to avoid speculation.

Such was the case ahead of Friday's game against the Blue Jays, when Boone refrained from providing timetables for the return of injured players Gary Sánchez and Edwin Encarnacion .

"I don't want to start saying 10 days, two weeks, three weeks, all these things, because we're now in the early stages," Boone said. I would say, based on the information given to me, I have some optimism."

Sanchez exited the second game of a doubleheader in Detroit on Thursday with a left groin strain he suffered while attempting to steal second base. Boone said the strain is similar to one Sanchez suffered previously, which caused him to miss two-and-a-half weeks.

"Hopeful we'll get him back by the end of the season, but obviously these next few days, how he responds and everything, we'll be able to determine the factor," Boone said.

Encarnacion, who left the first game of Thursday's twin bill, has an internal oblique strain that is considered mild. Boone expressed optimism about Encarnacion coming back "at some point," but he reiterated that more time is required to make a proper assessment.

J.A. Happ rounds out the group of Yankees who were injured in the doubleheader. He is dealing with left biceps tendinitis, but Boone said Happ is doing "pretty good" after receiving a cortisone injection. Happ is tentatively slated to start Thursday against the Angels.

Severino to make 2019 debut Tuesday

Luis Severino was all smiles at his locker Friday, confirming he will make his season debut Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. He hopes to throw 75 pitches in his return to a Major League mound for the first time since Game 3 of last year's American League Division Series on Oct. 8, 2018.

Severino, who is coming back from rotator cuff inflammation and a Grade 2 lat strain, doesn't believe there's anything he can tweak to prevent injury in the future.

"It happened -- you can do nothing about it," he said. "I work hard every offseason. I try to get into Spring Training in shape, and I was feeling good all year before that happened. It happened with no reason."

Boone is excited about the imminent return of Severino and the impact the 25-year-old right-hander is expected to have.

"This is a guy that's a potential ace," Boone said. "This is a guy that's not only important in the short term to us, but our long term."

Quick hits

Jordan Montgomery will pitch Sunday in his 2019 debut, following rehab for Tommy John surgery. Montgomery made two Minor League relief starts in the past three weeks, allowing two hits and one unearned run in 3 1/3 innings. Boone said Montgomery, a 2014 fourth-round pick, is likely to either start Sunday or follow an opener.

• Asked whether Giancarlo Stanton was still on track to join the Yankees during their upcoming homestand, Boone said, "That'd be the hope." Boone added that Stanton's rehab work in Tamp, Fla., has been going well.

• With Sanchez out for the time being, Boone said catchers Austin Romine and Kyle Higashioka will see a fairly even split in backstop duties. The justification, according to Boone, is to "protect them from a rest standpoint."