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Yankees reliever Zack Britton leaves with cramp but believes he'll be OK

Zack Britton pitcher for the Yankees walking to

Zack Britton pitcher for the Yankees walking to the dugout with the Yankees trainer Steve Donohue in the top of the 8th inning at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019.  Credit: Errol Anderson

Some good injury news for the Yankees: They apparently didn’t lose a second pitcher on Saturday afternoon.

Hours after placing starter CC Sabathia on the 10-day injured list, they got another scare when Zack Britton was forced to leave the game in the middle of an at-bat because of a right calf issue. After the game, Britton said it likely was only a cramp and that he no longer felt discomfort.

He added that after having surgery to repair his right Achilles tendon, which he ruptured in late December 2017, he wanted to be cautious.

“Maybe if I was younger, I would have stayed out there,” he said. “It didn’t make any sense to push it to the point where I did something pretty serious, especially with all the work I’ve done to come back . . . It was more out of precaution.”

Britton said he felt his calf seizing up with the first batter but that it didn’t become unmanageable until he faced Marcus Semien, the third batter of the inning. Britton worked to a 3-and-1 count before getting pulled. Chad Green replaced him and walked Semien and the next two batters before escaping.

“I told Booney [Aaron Boone] I wasn’t worried about it on the mound, but I just felt like the smart play was to not push it because I’m still building strength,” Britton said. “I’m not 100 percent strength in that calf yet with the surgery . . . I’ve been through too much with that Achilles to put it in jeopardy again.”

Britton missed most of the 2018 season after rupturing the Achilles.

Edwin on the mend

Edwin Encarnacion (broken wrist) could be back as soon as this homestand, Boone said. Encarnacion hit on the field Saturday and is slated to head to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday. He also ran the bases with Giancarlo Stanton, who was wearing a large knee brace and is further away from a return. Stanton likely will wear the brace for the rest of the year.

Getting Encarnacion back would be “huge,” Boone said. “He’s such a presence in that lineup, even the at-bats on the days he’s not getting hits . . . The pitcher on the opposing team can feel his at-bats. He’s one of the guys that we’re certainly very excited to get back into the mix to add that length to the lineup that allows us to be a little bit more consistent.”

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