BOSTON – Last Saturday, the Yankees faced the very real possibility of losing Didi Gregorius for the season.
But on Friday night, the shortstop, high on the list of most valuable Yankees, returned to the lineup.
“In talking with [trainer] Stevie Donohue last night on the plane, just decided Didi was ready to go,” Aaron Boone said.
Gregorius suffered torn cartilage in his right wrist last Saturday on a headfirst dive into home plate as he scored the run that clinched a postseason berth for the Yankees. When Boone gave that diagnosis a day later, it seemed a long shot that Gregorius would be back in time for the postseason, let alone this series.
But Gregorius, after being evaluated by a hand specialist Wednesday in Tampa, was cleared to resume baseball activities, which included taking infield and hitting indoors later that day. He took infield again Thursday and also took full batting practice outside.
“We felt from the start it was very much up in the air,” Boone said of a potential Gregorius return. “Once he got the cortisone shot [Sunday], you knew it wasn’t a surgery [situation], to see how he responded right away the first day, the second day… Just talking to Didi how well it was feeling, we just felt it was time.”
Centerfielder Aaron Hicks, who left Monday’s game against the Rays with tightness in his left hamstring and subsequently missed three straight games, returned to the lineup Friday night and capped the Yankees’ six-run fourth inning with a three-run homer.
Hicks went 2-for-5 and Gregorius was 1-for-5 in the Yankees’ 11-6 win over the Red Sox.
“Obviously, those two players are so important to us and such quality two-way quality players in the middle of the diamond,” Boone said of Hicks and Gregorius. “When it first happens [the injuries], obviously it’s frustrating…It’s exciting to see them go out there tonight.”
CC Sabathia fell two innings short of earning a $500,000 bonus for reaching 155 innings this season when he was ejected from Thursday’s game for retaliating after Austin Romine had a pitch thrown behind his head by the Rays’ Andrew Kittredge, but Boone didn’t dismiss the possibility of using him in Sunday’s game. “We’ll see,” he said with a smile.