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MLB Notebook: Gregorius projected to return to Yankees next month

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New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius hit .268 with a career-high 27 homers last season. [AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File]
New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius hit .268 with a career-high 27 homers last season. [AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File]

Didi Gregorius is projected to return to the New York Yankees next month, a faster recovery from Tommy John surgery than expected.

Gregorius is scheduled to play shortstop on Monday at extended spring training in Tampa, Florida, his first game action since surgery on Oct. 17 to replace a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

"It's a good step. We're getting there. Everything feels really good," Gregorius said Saturday after eight plate appearances during a simulated game in Tampa.

Manager Aaron Boone does not expect Gregorius will need the equivalent of a full spring training, which is about six weeks.

Gregorius hit .268 with a career-high 27 homers and 86 RBIs last season. He injured the elbow while making a throw from left field after a ball bounced off Fenway Park's Green Monster during Game 2 of the AL Division Series at Boston last Oct. 6.

Gregorius' timetable will be easier to project once he starts a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment, which has a 20-day maximum. New York's plan for him indicates a June return.

Rangers reliever Kelley has lumps removed from throat

Texas Rangers reliever Shawn Kelley had two lumps surgically removed from his throat this week.

Kelley says an initial biopsy on the lumps was inconclusive, so doctors removed a couple of "decent-sized" lumps on Thursday. The 35-year-old was put on the injured list May 9, five days after he last pitched.

Kelley had the lumps checked this month, and is awaiting the results. On Saturday, he said that he feels great and is ready to return to pitching.

Kelley is 3-0 with two saves and a 1.29 ERA in 14 appearances in his first season with the Rangers.

Braves release Venters 1 year after NL Comeback Player award

Jonny Venters, the left-hander whose comeback from his third Tommy John surgery helped him win the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award last year, has been released by the Atlanta Braves.

The 34-year-old Venters had a 17.36 ERA after giving up nine earned runs in 4 2/3 innings covering nine appearances.

Wire reports

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