Yanks’ Gregorius plays for 1st time since Tommy John surgery

Didi Gregorius

New York Yankees’ Didi Gregorius calls for time out after sliding into third base during the first inning of a Gulf Coast League baseball game Monday, May 20, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. Gregorius is playing for the first time since having Tommy John surgery. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius played five innings of defense and went 2 for 4 with a walk Monday at extended spring training in his first game action since Tommy John surgery on Oct. 17.

“It was good,” Gregorius said.

Outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge also took steps forward in their return from injuries. Stanton homered as he started a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment and Judge threw on the field before New York’s game at Baltimore.

Playing against Detroit Tigers minor leaguers and in front of Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner, Gregorius singled twice and cleanly fielded three grounders but had an error for an errant throw to first base.

Gregorius is coming back from surgery to a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He appears on track to soon start a rehab assignment with Class A Tampa and rejoin the Yankees in mid-to-late June.

“He got a lot of at-bats, got a couple balls. He threw a ball away, so his arm was feeling a little too good, I guess,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before New York faced the Orioles in Baltimore. “But he got through it. A hot day down there. A couple more days down there and then, hopefully, get transferred over to the Tarpons. But a big step, obviously, in the return for Didi.”

Gregorius had an eventful first inning.

He charged to field a one-hopper and then make an accurate throw to first to retire the second batter

After fouling a ball off his foot and breaking a bat on a pop foul, Gregorius drew a walk in the bottom half. He slid feet first into second base on grounder, then slid headfirst into third on an infield single.

Gregorius hit .268 with a career-high 27 homers and 86 RBIs last season. He injured the elbow while making a throw from left field after a ball bounced off Fenway Park’s Green Monster during Game 2 of the AL Division Series at Boston.

Also on Monday, third baseman Miguel Andújar had season-ending surgery on his shoulder. Coming off a solid rookie year, Andújar tore his right labrum in the third game of season. He was activated from the injured list on May 4, went 3 for 34 with no RBIs and returned to the IL on May 13.

The Yankees hope to have him fully healthy by spring training.

“I sent him a text message sometime this morning. Probably he was actually in surgery,” Boone said. “But it sounds like it went well, and now the road to recovery starts back. He should be good to go come spring.”

Stanton went 1 for 3, including a long home run, and played six innings in right field for Class A Tampa on Monday night. He has not played for the Yankees since March 31 because of a strained left biceps and then a strained left shoulder, which Stanton said occurred while rehabbing the initial injury.

Stanton is to be a designated hitter on Tuesday night and expects to discuss the next step in his progress with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman after Wednesday night’s game with Tampa.

“We’re just rolling with the games,” Stanton said. “Once I’m ready, I’ll just pop up there.”

Stanton struck out swinging in the first before homering off the center-field backdrop during the third against Florida Fire Frogs right-hander Nolan Kingham, the brother of Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Nick Kingham.

“Timing feels good,” Stanton said. “Quickness is there. It’s just the in-game sequencing, getting it down. We’re not far.”

Kingham also fanned Stanton in the sixth.

Stanton spent last week taking part batting practice and batting in simulated games. He hit 38 homers and drove in 100 runs last year during his first season with the Yankees after being acquired from the Miami Marlins.

Judge injured his left oblique muscle on April 20. Boone said there will not be a timetable for Judge’s return until he starts batting.

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, sidelined since April 3 by a strained left calf, resumed on-field batting practice Monday and continued taking grounders at shortstop and third base.


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