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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 3/17/19

CC Sabathia clears major hurdle; Aaron Hicks running out of time before Opening Day; Yankees not ruling out Gio Gonzalez; Top prospect Estevan Florial fractures wrist.

CC Sabathia is expected to make the Yankees Opening Day roster, and to immediately serve his five-game suspension, which means that the team will play one man short. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

New York Post | George A. King III: CC Sabathia has cleared an important hurdle as he recovers from both an offseason knee surgery and heart operation. He threw a simulated game yesterday, totaling 32 pitches to the likes of DJ LeMahieu, Kyle Holder, and Troy Tulowitkzi. Sabathia will soon have to face live hitters in an exhibition game, or perhaps throw another simulated game as he continues to progress.

SNY: The Yankees are reportedly happy with their internal replacements for Sabathia and Luis Severino. Fancred’s Jon Heyman did report, however, that the team is still interested in free agent lefty Gio Gonzalez. Nothing is imminent, but it sounds like the Yankees at least won’t rule out adding external reinforcements as the season draws near.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: With under two weeks remaining until Opening Day, Aaron Hicks’ status is growing more uncertain. The center fielder was optimistic he wouldn’t miss time after dealing with back stiffness in camp, but several days after receiving a cortisone shot, Hicks still has yet to resume baseball activities. As Hicks’ time to heal dwindles, it’s worth wondering if the team is better off taking it slow with their excellent but oft-injured outfielder. | Bryan Hoch: In case you hadn’t heard, top prospect Estevan Florial suffered a wrist injury during yesterday’s game. He underwent x-rays afterwards, which revealed a non-displaced fracture in his right wrist. It’s disappointing news after Florial had such a strong camp, as this makes it two right wrist injuries in as many seasons for the young outfielder. His timetable for return remains undetermined.