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Around the Empire: Yankees news 5/31/19

Didi plans to return next week; Stanton and Betances making progress; Judge “letting it go” from the outfield; 2019 Yankees are matching 2018 homer pace

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Yahoo! Sports | Ronald Blum: The Yankees dropped several big injury updates on Thursday. First, Didi Gregorius is likely to make his season debut as soon as he can play back-to-back games at short. He could join the Yankees as soon as next week. Gregorius is currently on a rehab assignment for offseason Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow.

Second, Giancarlo Stanton is once again nearing his own rehab assignment. The 2017 NL MVP hit, ran, and threw at the Yankees’ minor league complex on Wednesday and Thursday. Stanton strained his left calf while originally rehabbing a couple of left arm strains.

Finally, Dellin Betances threw his second bullpen in four days on Thursday. Aaron Boone told reporters the plan for Betances moving forward is to have him throw another bullpen before hurling a simulated game next week.

Newsday | Erik Boland: Aaron Judge is also progressing in his oblique injury rehab. He’s not close to a rehab assignment just yet, but he had a long, on-field workout in the Bronx on Thursday afternoon. Judge threw to bases from right field, including a couple of one-hops to home. He also included some agility work.

New York Post | Joel Sherman: With 15 players on the injured list, it’s shocking to see the Yankees in first place in the AL East. What’s even more shocking is the Yankees have 90 homers through 55 games this season, the same amount they had through 55 games last season. Sherman provides some reasons as to why he thinks the team has been able to do that.