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Around the Empire - Yankees news: 6/2/19

Didi Gregorius should be back next Friday; A crowded infield sits on the horizon; The Yankees can’t afford to sit DJ LeMahieu; Team feels good to put Red Sox in a hole; Aaron Hicks might be rounding into form

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports | Brendan Kuty: Manager Aaron Boone has given us a target date for Didi Gregorius: next Friday in Cleveland. Gregorius has played in five rehab games so far, and will continue to appear with Triple-A Scranton before rejoining the Yankees. His recovery from Tommy John surgery seems to have gone swimmingly, and before long, it looks like the Yankees will have one of their more skilled, and more beloved, players back on hand.

SNY | Chris Carelli: Given Gregorius’ imminent return, the Yankees just might have a roster logjam on the horizon. Carelli runs down the decisions that the team will face should their infield suddenly get crowded once Gregorius’ rehab assignment ends. Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres, and DJ LeMahieu all stand to see their role shift a bit, and Kendrys Morales’ spot on the team could become quite precarious. | Brendan Kuty: As the days pass, the Yankees have poured more and more dirt on their rivals, the Red Sox. Boston certainly isn’t out of it, but they sit 9.5 games back, and the Yankees have allowed that it feels good to put their nemesis in a super tough position this early in the year. There’s obviously much of the season to play, but the Yankees have put the Red Sox in the kind of daunting hole the Yankees faced last summer.

New York Post | Steve Serby: LeMahieu’s play has continued to draw rave reviews, and Serby opines that the Yankees can’t let him slip into a bench role once the team gets healthier. Having too many good players to play is certainly a nice issue to deal with, and in truth, if LeMahieu keeps hitting like this, the Yankees will find a way to keep him in the lineup by slotting him somewhere on the diamond.

New York Post | Greg Joyce: Aaron Hicks hasn’t had an entirely smooth return from the IL, but Hicks and Boone indicated they felt Hicks was rounding into shape. Boone noted Hicks’ approach at the plate and felt that Hicks was “controlling the zone” better as he got more games under his belt. Given Hicks’ superlative plate discipline, it would be great news if the center fielder started to really refine his approach at the plate as he settles back into his everyday role.