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Didi meets up with team as rehab winds down

Yankees shortstop to see game action in 'next 10 days or so'
@Sportsgal25
May 10, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG -- Who's surprised that Didi Gregorius is full of energy and pushing to get back in the thick of things? The Yankees' spirited shortstop spent Friday morning at New York's training facility in Tampa before heading south to join his teammates in the clubhouse prior to the series

ST. PETERSBURG -- Who's surprised that Didi Gregorius is full of energy and pushing to get back in the thick of things?

The Yankees' spirited shortstop spent Friday morning at New York's training facility in Tampa before heading south to join his teammates in the clubhouse prior to the series opener against the Rays.

"Didi's doing great; he's champing at the bit," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said with a smile. "[His rehab] has gone really well, as we've talked about, and we're getting close now to the next 10 days or so, where he's going to start playing in games, potentially, and that idea is exciting."

Gregorius is nearly a year removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, has hit all his rehab milestones in stride and appears just about as eager to rejoin the Yankees as they are to have him. Although Boone cautioned that the club is not going to rush the process, he acknowledged the positive buzz that is Gregorius closing in on the finish line.

"Just knowing how good a player he is, how important he is to our team," Boone added. "When you get to see him and you haven't gotten to see him for a few weeks, it gets you excited to think what's ahead.

"He's been saying [he's ready] since Spring Training."

Wanna have a catch?
Dellin Betances (right shoulder impingement) threw at Tropicana Field prior to the Yankees' game against the Rays. His tosses from 60 feet marked the third time the righty had worked from that distance, and Boone was pleased with the progress he saw with his reliever, who was shelved during Spring Training.

"The next time, he'll probably push back to 75, 90, then 120, and then obviously start to think about getting on the mound from there," Boone said. "We're just slowly starting to build him up now."

James Paxton (left knee inflammation) also played catch Friday, for the first time since receiving a cortisone injection on Saturday.

"It seems like he's responded pretty well over these last few days," Boone said. "Hopefully today's the next step for him."

Familiar faces
Chad Green was named as a possibility to rejoin the Yankees this series. Green, who was optioned to Triple-A on April 24, worked two-plus innings for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday and threw a bullpen session Friday. Both went well, leaving Boone to hint that the Yankees were "starting to have that conversation" of recalling the righty.

Blazing a trail
The Rays are down both main catchers heading into the series, as Mike Zunino (left quad injury) joined his cohort Michael Perez (right oblique strain) on the injured list on Friday.

Replacements Nick Ciuffo and Anthony Bemboom are both rookies, and with potential control of the American League East at stake during the weekend series, it'll be interesting to see how much New York will test the young arms.

"We'll see," Boone said. "I frankly haven't seen much of either guy, so we're kind of doing our homework on them and stuff like that. The guy in there tonight [Ciuffo] seems like he can handle himself pretty well."

Entering play Friday, Tyler Wade led the Yankees with five stolen bases. Brett Gardner had four.

This date in Yankees history
May 10, 2015: Michael Pineda fanned 16 Orioles in seven innings to tie David Cone for the Yankees' single-game record for strikeouts by a righty. He also set a modern AL record for most whiffs in a start of seven innings or fewer (tied by Paxton with Seattle in 2018).

Dawn Klemish is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Tampa. Follow her on Twitter @Sportsgal25.