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Aaron Boone: Greg Bird ready to start rehab assignment any day now

Greg Bird bats during a spring training game

Greg Bird bats during a spring training game against the Tigers at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 23. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Greg Bird’s return gets closer still.

The first baseman played in an extended spring training game a second straight day Tuesday in Tampa and Aaron Boone said Bird should be ready to start a rehab assignment “any day now.”

“I know he felt really, really strong today,” Boone said. “He’s moving in a really good direction.”

Boone said Bird, who underwent right ankle surgery March 27, would start his rehab assignment with either High-A Tampa or Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. With Bird already in Tampa the High-A team starting a homestand Thursday, that would seem the likely spot.

Bird was given a 6-8 week prognosis from the time of the surgery.

Price a scratch

The Red Sox scratched David Price from his Wednesday start against the Yankees after the lefthander felt numbness in his pitching hand during a bullpen session on Sunday.

Manager Alex Cora said Price (2-4, 5.11 ERA) was undergoing tests in Boston. This is the second time Price has felt numbness in the hand this season.

“David had the same symptoms that he had before, so we sent him home to Boston,” Cora said. “I’m not saying he will miss the next start or it’s a DL situation here, but obviously we want to make sure what’s going on with him.”

Rick Porcello will replace Price and lefthander Eduardo Rodriguez will start Thursday night’s series finale. The 32-year-old Price in general has not been good in his career against the Yankees, posting a 4.67 ERA in 39 appearances, 38 starts.

Gotcha!

As general manager Brian Cashman chatted with Cora behind the batting cage before the game, he slapped a “I (heart) Nevin” sticker, that had a Yankees logo, on the back of the Red Sox manager. Cora laughed and wrapped Cashman in a bear hug.

Phil Nevin, the Yankees’ third-base coach, and Cora jawed at each other during the benches-clearing incident April 11, with Nevin eventually ejected in response to a gesture Cora made toward him, a gesture he later called “unprofessional.”

Remember him?

Boone said Jacoby Ellsbury, who started the season on the DL with a right oblique strain but has also dealt with a hip issue and planter fasciitis, continues doing “baseball activities” at the minor league complex in Tampa.

“He was actually under the weather [Monday], he was sent home, but he’s fairly healthy and outside and running and hitting and doing all of that,” Boone said. “So hopefully on his way to getting to a point where we start to consider getting him into some games, but I would think that’s a little ways off.”

Now pitching . . .

Newly named Knicks coach David Fizdale threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

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