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Edwin Encarnacion not in starting lineup for Yankees as previously planned

Yankees' Edwin Encarnacion, right, celebrates his two-run home

Yankees' Edwin Encarnacion, right, celebrates his two-run home run against the Tigers with Aaron Judge during the third inning of the first game of a doubleheader on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019 in Detroit. Photo Credit: AP/Duane Burleson

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Yankees had indicated that Edwin Encarnacion, sidelined the last couple of weeks with a left oblique strain, would make his return to the lineup Friday night. But when the lineup was posted, he was not in it, and Aaron Boone said it’s possible that he won’t start Saturday or Sunday either.

“Just something he and I talked about,” said Boone, who did return one injured player, Gary Sanchez, to the lineup Friday. “He hit [this afternoon] on the field, looked really good, but I just think mentally he’s probably not quite over that hump where he needs to be, especially when we’re talking about an oblique injury.”

Boone stressed that he hasn’t experienced a setback. It's more that Encarnacion doesn’t want to take any chances with an injury that can be notoriously unpredictable.

“It’s obviously not something that we want to tweak because if he tweaks it again, it could cost him the postseason,” Boone said. “So we’ll just kind of work through it. Ideally, we’d love to get him at-bats this weekend, but it’s not the most important thing. The most important thing is that he’s all the way healthy. And if we have to simulate at-bats during the week when we get back home [and are off Monday through Thursday], we can do that.”

Mapping it out

General manager Brian Cashman joined the Yankees for the series, meaning the club will dig in deeper on its postseason planning.

“Obviously, Cash and Fish [assistant GM Michael Fishman] are here and we’ll have meetings this weekend [about] our rotation and bullpen and all that,” Boone said. “Those are conversations we’ll ramp up and continue into early next week.”

The Yankees will be off Monday before having a voluntary workout Tuesday and mandatory workouts Wednesday and Thursday at the Stadium. ALDS Game 1 will be Friday.

Extra bases

Didi Gregorius and Aaron Judge were not in the starting lineup Friday but both are healthy, Boone said … Boone left open the possibility of Masahiro Tanaka, listed as Sunday’s starter, being used as an opener or even being brought in out of the bullpen. Boone has said for weeks that “everything’s on the table” with regard to the team’s postseason pitching plans. 

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