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Yankees' injury news could be worse - but it could be better

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

Yankees' Edwin Encarnacion, right, celebrates his two-run home run with New York Yankees Gary Sanchez in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019.  Credit: AP/Paul Sancya

TORONTO — The news on the three injured Yankees sent back to New York for additional testing after Thursday’s doubleheader in Detroit could have been worse. But it was far from good.

With two of the players, Gary Sanchez and Edwin Encarnacion, there is some question whether they’ll return at all this season.

Before Friday night’s game against the Blue Jays, Aaron Boone said Sanchez was diagnosed with a left groin strain “similar” to the injury that kept the catcher sidelined for 16 games from July 24-Aug. 10.

“Hopeful we’ll get him back by the end of the season,” Boone said. “Obviously, these next few days and how he responds will be the determining factor. Optimistic he can make it back, but we’ll see.”

The same goes for Encarnacion, who was diagnosed with a left internal oblique strain suffered during his first at-bat in Thursday’s first game. Encarnacion homered in his second at-bat and told Boone he didn’t feel it while swinging, but he was taken out after his third at-bat.

It is not thought to be as serious as the oblique strain that sidelined Aaron Judge for two months earlier in the season but, as former manager Joe Girardi used to say of obliques (and backs), they can be “tricky.”

“We’re optimistic that we can get him back at some point but, again, these next several days can be a determining factor,” Boone said. “We just have to see how they respond.”

The only outright positive news seemed to revolve around J.A. Happ, who returned to New York on Thursday night to undergo additional testing for the biceps tendinitis he had been dealing with his last several starts.

Boone said the lefthander received a cortisone shot in the biceps/shoulder area Friday and is likely to start during next week’s homestand, possibly on Thursday against the Angels. Luis Severino, out all season because of shoulder and lat injuries, will start the first game of the Angels series on Tuesday.

Judge rested

Judge played both games of Thursday’s doubleheader and appeared to get banged up in the fourth inning of Game 2 while making a catch on John Hicks' drive to the rightfield wall. The left side of Judge’s body — leading with his shoulder and knee — crashed into the wall hard a split-second after the catch. Judge said he was OK on Thursday and Boone said the same Friday, but he chose to keep him out of Friday night's starting lineup.

Said Boone, “With him playing 18 innings, traveling in here [late at night], on the turf [here], banging into the wall like he did, I just felt like today was probably best to have him down.''

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