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Gary Sanchez seems to be improving, could play Sunday for Yankees vs. Red Sox

The Yankees' Rougned Odor celebrates after scoring on

The Yankees' Rougned Odor celebrates after scoring on an RBI single by Gleyber Torres during the eighth inning against the Red Sox on Saturday in Boston. Credit: AP/Michael Dwyer

BOSTON — Gary Sanchez was available to Aaron Boone on Saturday afternoon only in the case of "an emergency," the manager said, with the hope being the catcher can return in time for Sunday afternoon’s series finale.

Sanchez left Friday night’s loss to the Red Sox after five innings with what the Yankees called "mid-back spasms."

"Doing a little bit better today," Boone said before the game. "He’s been getting a lot of treatment today, is going to move around now in the weight room as well. Hopefully get him to where he's back in play for us tomorrow."

That did not sound like a certainty, however, even as Boone said there’s "a good chance" Sanchez will return Sunday.

"A little bit of improvement, but still didn’t get a real good night's sleep, and it was pretty locked up still this morning," Boone said. "A lot of good treatment and I would say doing better."

Rob Brantly started at catcher Saturday. Rougned Odor and Tyler Wade are among the position players who would be candidates to don the catching gear in an absolute emergency.

Urshela likely back Sunday

Boone said Gio Urshela, on the COVID-19 injured list but with the team here in Boston all series and going through full pregame workouts each day, probably will be activated before Sunday’s series finale.

Here comes the Judge?

Boone said Aaron Judge and Kyle Higashioka, also on the COVID-19 IL, could return "potentially at some point" during the upcoming three-game series in St. Petersburg, Florida, against the Rays, which starts Tuesday night.

"I don't know about Tuesday," Boone said. "We just have to see what we're dealing with. I know Monday will be a big day for him and Higgy as they go through their cardiac screening and things like that; they'll have a good day of work at the [minor league] complex [in Tampa]. So we'll just see where we're at coming out of Monday and how much we feel like they need before getting in a game."

Believe it when you see it

Coming into the series, the Yankees indicated Giancarlo Stanton might get two games in leftfield in preparation for next weekend’s interleague series in Miami, where there will be no DH. Saturday came and went without Stanton playing the field — he started at DH — leaving Sunday as the last series chance for that to occur.

"We'll see," Boone said. "Let's get through today, see what we're looking at for tomorrow. But yeah, that's the way I'm leaning right now."

LeMahieu keeps it going

DJ LeMahieu extended his on-base streak to 34 games with a sixth-inning double. LeMahieu’s career high is 38 games, accomplished in 2016 when he was with the Rockies.

New York Sports