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Tyler Austin’s suspension reduced to four games

Tyler Austin of the Yankees fights Joe Kelly

Tyler Austin of the Yankees fights Joe Kelly of the Red Sox during the seventh inning at Fenway Park on April 11, 2018. Credit: Getty Images / Maddie Meyer

Tyler Austin, who had appealed his punishment after an April 11 brawl with the Red Sox, had his suspension reduced from five games to four on Thursday, the Yankees announced. The first baseman will begin serving the suspension Friday.

“I obviously don’t want to be suspended at any point in time, but it’s happened, and we have to deal with it and move forward,” Austin said. “I’m happy to finally know what the decision was . . . I anticipated it being a game or two being knocked off [and] I’m thankful that’s the case.”

Joe Kelly, who drilled Austin with a pitch and then fought with Austin after he charged the mound, had his appeal of a six-game suspension denied. The Red Sox reliever began serving his ban Thursday night when Boston played Toronto.

Though Austin went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts Thursday, he was hot coming into the game. Entering the game, he had three homers and nine RBIs in his last four games. Neil Walker likely will start in his place and the Yankees will play a man short.

“The timing is not perfect, obviously,” Aaron Boone said. “He’s been a really important player to us and we’re getting ready to go to Anaheim, where we’re going to face two lefties and we really like him against lefties, obviously. But that is the situation we’re in right now, but we’ll pick it up and hopefully we’ll pick up the slack when he’s down and we’re playing a little bit short.”

Yanks on mend

The Yankees’ long list of injured soon could shrink considerably, as a number of players are making positive strides in their rehabs, Boone said.

Brandon Drury (migraines) went 2-for-4 with an RBI and was solid in the field in a rehab game with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre on Wednesday. Clint Frazier (concussion) played two extended spring training games with Tampa on Wednesday “where everything went really well,” Boone said. Greg Bird (ankle) and Billy Mc Kinney (shoulder) were headed to Tampa on Thursday. Jacoby Ellsbury (hip) is “still probably a ways off,” Boone said. He is hitting off a tee and participating in light baseball activity.

Hale claimed by Twins

The Twins claimed reliever David Hale off waivers after he was designated for assignment on Monday.

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