BOSTON — It seems all but certain Didi Gregorius will return by the weekend.
“We will see him sometime in the next series,” Joe Girardi said before Wednesday night’s game against the Red Sox.
After completing their series at Fenway Park Thursday night, the Yankees start a three-game series at home Friday against the Orioles, a game Girardi said possibly could mark Gregorius’ return.
Gregorius started the season on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain, sustained turning a double play during an exhibition game while playing for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.
In his first four rehab games for High-A Tampa — that rehab assignment continued Wednesday night — Gregorius was 6-for-14 (.429) with one homer and one double.
When Gregorius does return, it will mean the end of Ronald Torreyes’ every-day time at shortstop. The 24-year-old, including Wednesday night, had started 17 games at shortstop in Gregorius’ absence and one game at third.
Entering Wednesday Torreyes was hitting .293 with 13 RBIs, tied for most on the team.
“He’s done a great job,” Girardi said. “I don’t think you could ask him to do much more than what he’s done.”
Gary Sanchez, who started throwing early last week at 60 feet, threw at 120 feet for the first time during his rehab on Wednesday and took full batting practice in the cage. The four-week timetable established for Sanchez when he went on the DL April 8 remains unchanged.
Girardi didn’t rule out the ugly collision Brett Gardner had with Tampa’s Rickie Weeks Jr. April 12 as a reason for the leftfielder’s struggles.
“I’ve looked at that,’ Girardi said. “It could have been what started the struggles for him.”
Gardner hit .267 with a .353 OBP the first seven games of the season and, entering Wednesday, was hitting .083 with a .290 OBP in the seven games after the collision.
Barnes won’t appeal
Before Wednesday’s game the Red Sox announced that righthanded reliever Matt Barnes would not appeal his four-game suspension, which began Tuesday night. Barnes was suspended for throwing near the head of Orioles third baseman Manny Machado on Sunday. A sloppy slide by Machado in Friday’s game injured Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia.