Sanchez, Encarnación nearing return, Torres back in lineup

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)Yankees sluggers Gary Sanchez and Edwin Encarnacion are both expected to be back in the lineup this weekend at Texas in New York’s final regular-season series.

Sanchez, who strained his left groin during a doubleheader Sept 12 at Detroit, took batting practice, ran the bases and caught Masahiro Tanaka’s 22-pitch bullpen session before Tuesday’s road trip opener at Tampa Bay.

”Everything I did, nothing bothered me,” Sanchez said through a translator. ”The plan is to get back before the season ends.”

Encarnacion strained his left oblique on Sept. 12. He also took on-field batting practice and ran.

”I feel like he’s probably ready and certainly he’s pushing to get in there tomorrow,” Boone said, adding he was leaning toward waiting until Friday.

Second baseman Gleyber Torres was back in the starting lineup after missing two games due to lower leg weakness.

Center fielder Aaron Hicks, sidelined by a right flexor strain since Aug. 3, has increased his throwing distance from 90 feet to 120, also hit soft toss and hopes to play in instructional games. Hicks is aiming to avoid Tommy John surgery.

Boone says it is not likely Hicks will return for the playoffs.

”It kind of all depends on how things go here pretty soon,” Hicks said. ”You never know what the possibility could be.”

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