The injury-ravaged New York Yankees are expected to see the return of a familiar face on Friday when they begin a three-game series against the host Cleveland Indians.
New York manager Aaron Boone told reporters that shortstop Didi Gregorius is expected to make his season debut in the series opener. Gregorius has been on the injured list after undergoing Tommy John surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
"I don't think I have to tell you guys what a good player he is," Boone said of the 29-year-old Gregorius, who flew to Cleveland on Thursday night after completing a six-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
"I think you guys have seen over the last few years what he's meant to our club in so many ways," Boone added. "To get a player like him back is exciting."
Gregorius, who batted .268 with 27 homers, 86 RBIs and 89 runs scored in 2018, was injured in Game 2 of the American League Division Series against Boston. He played in the next two contests before undergoing surgery on Oct. 17.
Aaron Hicks homered for the second time in the series on Thursday as the Yankees snapped a three-game losing streak with a 6-2 win over Toronto.
"I feel like I've been seeing the ball well," the 29-year-old Hicks said. "I haven't been getting the results that I wanted as far as when I did hit the ball, but it just comes with time. It feels good to be contributing for the team and (I) will continue to keep battling."
Gio Urshela also went deep and DJ LeMahieu collected three hits and two RBIs for New York, which will turn to right-hander Domingo German (9-1, 3.66 ERA) on Friday.
German has answered a six-game winning streak by struggling in his last two outings. The 26-year-old allowed three runs on six hits and required 87 pitches to work just 3 2/3 innings of a no-decision versus Boston on Saturday.