Yankees Notes: Updates on Gio Urshela, Zack Britton and Clarke Schmidt

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The Yankees are waiting on a number of injured players to return, including Gio Urshela, who injured his knee in Thursday’s loss to the Astros but avoided an IL stint when his MRI came back clean.

Urshela wasn’t in the lineup on Saturday, the second straight game he has missed due to the left knee injury, but Boone still believes it is a day-to-day injury, and the third baseman could be back in the lineup on Sunday or Monday if all goes well.

“Gio is doing pretty well this morning, much better,” Boone said before Saturday’s game. “I don’t know if he’ll be in there tomorrow or not, but I think continue to be optimistic that this is a day-to-day thing, and whether he’s in there tomorrow or maybe the first day in Tampa, we’ll see how he gets through today and what he’s able to do. But he’s doing a lot better and looking like it’s still a day-to-day thing.”

The Yanks’ normally shutdown bullpen has had two straight duds, including a six-run meltdown in the eighth inning of Friday night’s loss, though that was helped along by three errors in the field. Still, getting lefty reliever Zack Britton back from elbow surgery would be a big boost, especially with veteran southpaw Justin Wilson struggling, and Boone said Britton threw a bullpen on Friday and is working closer to a return, and a rehab assignment in the minors could begin in just over a week.

“Britt threw another bullpen yesterday, actually threw sliders as well in that bullpen,” Britton said. “He’s set for another pen on Tuesday, and I think he throws his first sim game a week from today, and then he’ll start his rehab assignment after that.”

Top pitching prospect Clarke Schmidt has been sidelined since early in spring training due to an extensor strain in his elbow, which initially was thought to sideline him for a few weeks, but Schmidt continues to only throw off flat ground.

“He’s still in the build-up phase, up to 90, 100-plus feet right now,” Boone said. “So he’s still building up arm strength and hasn’t gotten on the mound yet.”

Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1

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