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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – James Paxton reported feeling “pretty good’’ about his left knee on Saturday, according to Yankees manager Aaron Boone.But the two had yet to have a conversation about slotting Paxton back into the rotation.Before the Yankees’ 7-3 win against the Royals in the opener of a day-night doubleheader at Kauffman Stadium, Boone said Paxton could “potentially’’ move back into the rotation during the upcoming homestand against the Padres and Red Sox.After the Yanks' 6-5 nightcap win, Boone added that an update would be provided on Sunday.Paxton made a four-inning start on Friday at extended spring training in Tampa, Florida, and reported still feeling some discomfort from the left knee inflammation that landed him on the 10-day injury list on May 4.
The Yankees are in a bit of a bind, with CC Sabathia (right knee inflammation) added to the 10-day IL on Thursday. He won’t be eligible to return until June 2.

New start

Didi Gregorius began his official minor league rehab assignment on Saturday, playing seven innings at shortstop and going 0-for-3 at Class A Tampa.Recovering from Tommy John surgery (right elbow), Gregorius could be transferred up the chain in two or three days, possibly to Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.Based on his progress, Gregorius could return to the Yankees’ lineup well before the 20-day limit on rehab assignments.Boone said he texted with Gregorius recently to "tell him how we're all excited for him. "It's good to know that he's getting close'' to a big league return.

Game 1 notes

In the opener, rookie Thairo Estrada’s two-run double was a big add-on, allowing Luis Cessa to finish out the final two innings. Brett Gardner (3-for-4) had his third three-hit game in his last five games, going 11-for-20 in that period.Third baseman Gio Urshela’s latest highlight play came on a sprawling play to his left, throwing a strike to first base from the seat of his pants to rob Martin Maldonado of a single.
“That’s the warm bath I talked about,’’ said Boone, an ex-third baseman, reprising an earlier quote about Urshela’s fielding ease.

Game 2 notes

In the nightcap, Gardner raced to the warning track but dropped Adalberto Mondesi’s fly ball, scored as an RBI double (Mondesi was erased attempting to stretch it into a triple, relayed by Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres).Both Gardner and  Frazier lost Hunter Dozier’s fourth-inning fly ball in the twilght, leading to a run when right fielder Frazier couldn’t haul in Jorge Soler’s fly ball to the corner that went as an RBI double.“That’s happened to me one other time, in Detroit, a long time ago,’’ Gardner said. “Both those times, once they got up, I completely lost them – it’s a bad feeling.’’

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