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Yankees put Aaron Hicks on injured list with flexor strain in right elbow

Yankees centerfielder Aaron Hicks strikes out during the

Yankees centerfielder Aaron Hicks strikes out during the fifth inning against the Diamondbacks at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Yankees got what they considered good news about Aaron Hicks’ right elbow injury on Sunday, but only in the sense that it could have been much worse.

After Game 2 of Saturday’s doubleheader sweep of the Red Sox, they were concerned that their centerfielder might have an issue that would require season-ending Tommy John surgery.

Instead, he was diagnosed with a flexor strain that manager Aaron Boone said will not require surgery. Boone said the Yankees are optimistic that Hicks will return at some point.

“In the scheme of things, we feel like it was good news,” Boone said before Sunday night’s series finale against the Red Sox. “We were fearing the worst. The fact the ligament is intact is good news.”

Boone said Hicks will be prohibited from throwing for seven to 10 days, but he would not speculate about when he might be back on the field.

“I don’t want to go there yet because I think the first thing is to get through that and then kind of evaluate where we’re at and then see how he does as we ramp him up,” Boone said.

Brett Gardner will be the primary centerfielder in Hicks’ absence and started there Sunday night. Mike Tauchman also will play the position.

Hicks went on the 10-day injured list and was replaced on the active roster by pitcher J.A. Happ, who came off paternity leave.

Extra bases

Boone said catcher Gary Sanchez is close to returning from a groin injury and might be back with the club next weekend in Toronto after a couple of rehab games during the week . . . DJ LeMahieu was not in the starting lineup. Boone had hoped to give him a game off on Saturday but was unable to because of the Game 1 injury suffered by Edwin Encarnacion, who fractured his right wrist . . . Boone said Masahiro Tanaka will start against the Orioles on Monday and that the Yankees probably will go with a bullpen game on Tuesday.

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