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DJ LeMahieu, Brett Gardner close to returning for Yankees

Brett Gardner #11 and DJ LeMahieu #26 of

Brett Gardner #11 and DJ LeMahieu #26 of the Yankees both score in the eighth inning against the Seattle Mariners after a base hit from teammate Gio Urshela (not pictured) at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, May 9, 2019. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Yankees team that squares off with the Red Sox for four games beginning Friday will be closer to full strength than the one that played them in Boston last weekend. Infielder DJ LeMahieu, who missed the final two games at Fenway Park with a groin issue, and outfielder Brett Gardner, who has been on the IL with left knee inflammation, should be players for the Yanks.

LeMahieu and Gardner ran on the field Tuesday and took full early batting practices before the Yankees faced Arizona at the Stadium.

DJ LeMahieu lobbied Aaron Boone hard to start Tuesday night, but the Yankees manager wouldn’t bite. Boone thoughtf there was no need to rush him back and called holding him out “just trying to be smart with it as best we can,” but he was clearly happy no IL stint was needed. “We’ll see where we’re at tomorrow if I want to put him back in there,” Boone said though he might not play him Wednesday and get him a full week off.

Gardner was first scratched from the lineup on June 21 after feeling discomfort. The Yankees hoped he’d miss just a game or two but moved him to the IL last Thursday. He also had a cortisone injection which he said “really helped me.”

Gardner was envisioned as the club’s fourth outfielder for this season behind a starting group of Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton but started 84 games because of injuries. Asked if the break might have been a good thing to keep him fresh down the stretch, the 35-year old replied “I’m too hard-headed to think that way.”

Boone said of Gardner “I do believe he’ll be an option for us this weekend.”

Stanton still moving slowly

The news isn’t as good about Stanton, who hasn’t played since June 25 because of a right knee sprain. Boone said he still has not resumed any baseball activities and “is still moving slow.” .  . . Gary Sanchez, who last played July 23 and is on the IL with a left groin strain, is eligible to come off on Saturday and Boone said “I don’t think that’s in the cards, but he is doing pretty well, which is probably a little better than we anticipated.” .  . . Boone said righthander Luis Severino (shoulder/lat) “is getting pretty close to being on a mound … lefthander CC Sabathia, bothered again by right knee issues, was scheduled to see a doctor and get a synvisc injection .  .  . Righthander Jonathan Loaisaga (shoulder) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Tuesday night.

New York Sports